Would a Proposed Medical Marijuana Law Help Brain Injury Victims?

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Injuries

Republican State Rep. Jason Nemes, of Louisville, is sponsoring a medical marijuana bill. But some of his political colleagues in the state senate, particularly the powerful president of that body, aren’t on board with this initiative.

His proposal has a very limited number of conditions and includes a strict oversight provision. He claims the bill has enough support in both the House and Senate to gain approval. Therefore, Nemes said he was “optimistic” about the provision’s chances. “I’m working as hard as I can, meeting with senators to try to get more on board, but the main thing is we need to get a vote. If it’s called for a vote, it will pass,” he added. 

Getting to that point might be a problem. Senate president Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said he was skeptical about claims that marijuana is an effective brain injury treatment. “This is not a drug that’s a panacea to cure everything, but if there were more studies and the FDA or John Hopkins or somebody like that would come out and show how it should be used for medicinal and therapeutic values, then I think it would be an easier path forward,” he said.

Marijuana-Based Brain Injury Treatments

The FDA actually approved a marijuana-based anti-seizure drug, Epidiolex, in 2018. “This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said at the time.

But lawmakers are right about the relative lack of evidence in these cases. Marijuana and CBD are illegal under state and federal laws. So, it’s difficult to study items like the connection between marijuana and brain injuries. The potential sample size is rather low as well. About 70 percent of epileptics respond to dilantin or another kind of medicine. It’s understandably hard to convince these people to risk their health and participate in a long term marijuana-brain injury study.

Most studies indicate that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, reduces seizure activity. But the side-effects are significant. Many are rather mild, like fatigue, diarrhea, and sleeplessness. It’s interesting that marijuana makes you tired and keeps you awake at the same time. Other side-effects, like smoke inhalation and hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the brain) are much more serious.

What Causes Brain Injuries?

Birth hypoxia is one of the leading causes of brain injuries. If a baby does not quickly drift down the mother’s narrow birth canal, the umbilical cord cuts off oxygen to the brain. At that point, cerebral palsy or another serious brain injury could occur in minutes.

Vehicle collisions are, by far, the most common head injury cause. These incidents combine all three potential brain injury causes, which are:

  • Trauma: Seatbelts and airbags cannot possibly absorb all the force in a high speed collision. So, these victims almost inevitably strike their heads against steering wheels, dashboards, and other solid objects. 
  • Noise: Many car crash witnesses say these incidents sound like explosions. Such sudden, loud noises create shock waves which interrupt key brain functions. Basically, these shock waves are like biological electromagnetic pulses. A significant number of the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who struggle with brain injuries were hurt because they were too close to an exploding IED.
  • Motion: Most people think the brain fits snugly inside the skull, like a head in a helmet. But that’s not true. Instead, the skull is a water tank full of cerebrospinal fluid. This water tank suspends the brain in this fluid. The violent motion of a wreck causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull.

Car crash head injuries are very difficult to diagnose. The initial symptoms mimic shock. So, many of these victims don’t get prompt treatment, and their injuries get worse.

A Lexington personal injury lawyer connects car crash victims with doctors who focus on these injuries. Since these professionals know how to diagnose and treat head injuries, these victims get the help they need when they need it.

Falls also cause many brain injuries. Either the motion of a fall or a trauma impact could be the culprit.

Who Pays for Brain Injury Treatments?

Negligent doctors are usually responsible for birth injuries. The duty of care is very high in these cases. So, doctors have little room for error, from a legal standpoint. Children are too young to smoke marijuana, even if they have serious brain injuries. However, other treatments are available. Additionally, brain injuries are permanent. So, these injured children will unfortunately be injured adults.

Negligent drivers are usually responsible for car crash injuries. Most car crashes are not “accidents.” People accidentally lose their car keys. They don’t accidentally zoom through traffic signals and hit other vehicles. We all negligently make mistakes. When that happens, we must pay for that mistake.

Property owners usually have a duty of care to keep their premises reasonably safe. This duty includes addressing fall and other injury hazards. Usually, property owners are liable for brain injury and other damages if they knew, or should have known, about the injury-causing hazard.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers