detailed anatomy of the human brain. Illustration showing the medulla pons cerebellum hypothalamus thalamus midbrain. Sagittal view of the brain. Isolated on a white background.

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

In 1974, the Ford administration began bogus testing on monkeys as the science “proving” marijuana destroys brain cells. This helped support the “Reefer Madness” mania originated by the 1938 movie of the same name. It was great for the “Drug War” and “just say no” campaign.

Since then, international studies have proven otherwise. But they were not publicized or used by politicians as much as the bogus study.

The exponentially rising movement of states legalizing medical marijuana has provided us the anecdotal evidence that, contrary to the scare tactics used to discourage marijuana, the opposite is true. 

These anecdotal stories of cannabis healing, coupled with the expanding allowance of medical marijuana, have opened funding sources for “official” studies on cannabis and the brain.

This time, studies will be focused on determining the highest and best use of cannabis strains instead of “proving” brain danger to justify banning the plant.

These new studies are confirming cannabis as a healing agent for brain diseases and injuries, improving brain health. See:

Does Marijuana Cause Brain Damage?

Cannabis for Brain Injury and Disease Studies

Boulder, Colorado’s Flowering HOPE Foundation has collaborated with the Clover Leaf University in Denver, CO to conduct the first registered U.S. clinical trial registered by the NIH’s  to investigate plant-derived cannabinoids‘ efficacy for brain-injured patients.

The Flowering HOPE Foundation (FHF) is a nonprofit organization that supports the medicinal use of plant-derived cannabinoids.

Jason Cranford, the founder of FHF, explained the collaboration’s purpose:

We hope to provide scientific support for the benefits of the natural plant-based compounds contained in hemp and move a step closer towards the unrestricted availability of nonsynthetic cannabinoid therapeutics. (Source)

This coming approved clinical study is sponsored by Real Time Diagnostics Ventures, Inc. (RTDV) out of Boulder, Colorado. They specialize in medical diagnostic equipment needed in the field where clinical and hospital equipment is not available.

RTDV also acts as a conduit for obtaining funding to support cannabis research with this mission statement: 

We are a research contract organization with expertise in cannabinoid clinical studies for brain injury, autism, seizure disorders, and metabolic disorders.  We can take your research idea and make it a reality with success in NIH grant awards, IRB review board approval for cannabinoid studies, EEG and biomarkers of stress and more. (Source) 

Don Cooper, Ph.D., is the lead neuroscientist responsible for the study and also the President of Real-Time Diagnostics Ventures Inc. 

Cooper has studied brain cannabinoids since 2000 when he received his first NIH (National Institutes of Health) grant. He has published 45 peer-reviewed papers on neuronal memory formation and related topics. Cooper explained:

I never thought it would take almost 20 years from when I started working on the brain cannabinoid system to have the first approved clinical study on phytocannabinoids and brain injury.

We have convincing pre-clinical data showing that phytocannabinoids are neuroprotective and may be critically important for restoring neuronal function after brain injury. (Source)

Smaller nations, such as Israel, Spain, Italy, Germany, and England have allowed medical research on cannabis for some time. Their research programs are all government-sanctioned and sometimes subsidized. 

Hopefully, this first USA officially approved clinical study on using cannabis for brain trauma will be a precedent for future studies without interference from the DEA/FDA. 

Cannabis Research for Treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases on the Horizon

Recently this year (2019) Forbes featured an article of Abbie Rossner interviewing Dr. Ethan Russo, Ph.D. Dr. Russo is a board-certified neurologist. In the recent past, he was Chief Medical Advisor to Britain’s whole plant cannabis medicine producer GW Pharmaceuticals.

He is a leading expert in the field of medical cannabis research who is urging more research of cannabinoids toward treating victims of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s Disease. 

At GW Pharmaceuticals Dr. Russo was involved with the development of products that contained balanced amounts of actual plant extracts with their 85 or so cannabinoids with many terpenes blended for optimum healing capacities at targeted neurological issues.  

Dr. Russo told Abbie in the interview:

While the current laboratory experiments have been extremely important in establishing a foundation for cannabis-based medicines in the treatment of AD and PD, it is definitely time to move the effort into the clinical arena.

It is clear that these conditions are increasing in our aging populations and conventional approaches to date have been less than satisfactory.

Utilization of cannabis preparations with the right mixtures of cannabinoids and terpenoids show great promise to produce better results. (Source)

The earlier research Dr. Russo referred to involved various lab culture (in vitro) and animal studies (in vivo) that were conducted in recent years. There was also a survey with questionnaires filled out anonymously by Parkinson’s victims, who used pot to handle their symptoms in the Czech Republic, that attested to symptomatic relief from PD. See:

Can Cannabis Help Reverse Alzheimer’s?  

Despite Big Pharma’s attempts at isolating one known active cannabinoid ingredient to create a synthetic patentable version, the Dr. Russos of the world believe in the integrity of the whole plant in its natural state. 

They believe in the synergistic effect from a balance of extracted natural cannabinoids and terpenes known as the “entourage effect,” which can be varied according to how the terpenes and cannabinoids are balanced. 

Dr. Russo also advocates leaving at least some THC in medicines extracted from whole plant cannabis. He stated in the Forbes interview: 

A severe price may be paid if cannabis-based medicines are devoid of THC. It is clear from the above that THC has a major role to play in both symptomatic treatment of dementia and quite possibly in preventative benefit.

The dangers of THC have been vastly exaggerated by alarmist politicians and the press, particularly in such contexts where alternatives have been extremely disappointing and are actually much more problematic.

Very small doses of THC are required and their benefits outweigh any risks by healthy measures. (Source)

Currently, Dr. Russo is Director of Research and Development of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, a consortium of international scientists dedicated to further exploration of medical cannabis. 

When it comes to cannabis for medical purposes, most of us rely on anecdotal information and common sense consulting with either doctors specializing in medical cannabis or educated cannabis dispensary personnel. Combining cannabis with a healthy diet and a non-toxic lifestyle should also be considered. 

But academic and clinical research that is officially allowed, resulting in products that become medically accepted in most countries, even though mostly outside the USA, directly benefits and supports the whole movement officially. 

It would eventually be impossible for the DEA to place cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug that is dangerous and without medical merit. 

The following video is an anecdotal testimony of a dramatic recovery from a debilitating brain trauma using cannabis. Since the video was taken, this brain trauma victim recovered even further by no longer needing the neck brace she was wearing in the video.