Is It Okay to Smoke Pot After a Brain Injury?

Is It Okay to Smoke Pot After a Brain Injury?

I had a brain injury more than two years ago. Among other symptoms, I lost my sense of smell. What I’m wondering — as un-PC as this is — is whether I can still get high if I smoke marijuana.


Some people lose some or all of their sense of smell after a traumatic brain injury. However, there is no relationship between losing your ability to smell and the effects that marijuana have on your brain. You should also be aware that marijuana can be especially harmful after a brain injury.

There are many reasons not to use alcohol or illicit drugs, including marijuana after a brain injury. If you use drugs or alcohol, you could:

  • Not recover as fully or as quickly
  • Have more problems with concentration, memory, or balance
  • Increase your risk of seizures
  • Increase your risk of having another brain injury.

So, the bottom line is that whether you can smell or not, you shouldn’t being using marijuana.



Posted on BrainLine November 15, 2010. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

About the author: John Corrigan, PhD

Dr. John Corrigan is a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State University, and director of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation. He is the project director for the Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.

John Corrigan

Comments (253)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I started smoking marajuana 4 year ago at 20 i suffered an aneurysm had a and was told I was born with it they fixed the issue and so now I smoke I was told today that I had to stop when I went under for my wisdom teeth removal I am unsure what will happen any advice?

I have a few brain injuries, the most significant being from 2014 and 2020. In 2021, I started using marijuana and delta 8 to help me sleep as I have insomnia. I could only use a very small amount as I was very sensitive to it and could make me too high. About a month ago I did my nightly routine of smoking and immediately something was wrong. I was so dizzy that I started throwing up and had to go to the hospital. I haven't recovered since that night and have been out of work since. All of my concussion/TBI symptoms have come back and I'm back in rehab for my injury. I'll never use THC again and would highly recommend anyone with a brain injury use it with caution.

I CAN NOT use Cannabis (including Dabs/Wax) like AT ALL anymore. BECAUSE the first time I used Cannabis after my TBI the friend that I was with just stared at me. He looked SO confused & very CONCERNED because all I did was lmfao for about 2.5-2.8 hours, it was non-stop laughter, & I stayed high for like 2 or 3 days just not lmfao high. When my mom found out about 1 week later that I got high, she sent me to the hospital (insanity floor), 1 doctor said that I was "SUICIDAL" for smoking Cannabis, ya she got fired as soon as her boss was done talking with me! But because I told my psychologist how high I was she told me to go back into the "Insanity Floor" & I had to spend about 2 weeks there that time because they had to take SOOOOO much "medicine" away from me.

I got hit by a semi and I got SDH and SAH and I want to know if I'm able to intake and thc products without any severe risk.

Cannabis saved my life after TBI severe

facts me too just got a severe tbi n weed is helping me through it

My fiancé fractured a bone in his skull and had a some bleeding, I wasn’t in the room when the doctor addressed about his smoking and his mom keeps telling me he can’t smoke but she’s never wanted him too. My question is is she being honest with me and if so roughly how long should I have him stop? He uses it for ADHD and ADD

He shouldn't. I have ADHD and, brain damage on top of that. I live in a legal state so: I was able to find out what strain is the best fit for my head issues and, the pain from being ejected from a truck, (cause of tbi). I've seen these reports from doctors about the harm it has.. that's a bunch of shit! Each person is different. Different strains affect different people, differently. Take me, for example: I'm ass backwards. Indica is sativa and, vice versa. One helps me focus and, one helps with my anxiety and, other mental issues. High THC, really helps with pain, as it is good for help with inflammation. Certain strains can make certain stuff worse, though. It's all in how your body handles it, more than anything.. good luck... Stay lifted

my neurologist said NO POT

I also fractured my skull and had bleeding, I too use cannabis to treat my adhd and I have the exact same question

Can I smoke with a concussion or after my concussion

I had my brain injury at the age of 7 I'm 32 now I've lived my life so far I've been smoking weed for 15 years some times my mind flips out. I mean I get very high. Then other times I can focus and understand what's going on around me. Hope this helps out.

John clearly never had a brain injury or suffered from the long-term effects. Everything from speech, and communication to migraines, anxiety, and anger. I feel a comfort after smoking marijuana. Indica and Hybrid strains have helped with painful migraines and anxiety. They have also helped with anger issues that have been so intense, I’ve frightened myself. Not being able to control your own emotions is the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Ive had suicidal thoughts, inconsolable anger, migraines, and anxiety. Never had anything like that before my TBI, and nothing has came close to helping, except marijuana.

I think this is why I started self harming. I’ve been hitting my head and was seeing if I could smoke weed or not but I’m worried more about the effects it has on the brain smoking weed has after a head injury though. I was smoking to cope but I stopped because idk if I can now.

This article is pretty much anti marijuana propaganda I use medical marijuana to treat my spasticity and neuropathic pain caused by a stroke and it's helped me move more fluidly and naturally and helped me feel normal for a change it might be the #1 drug for stroke recovery if it wasn't so demonized

I have a tbi head injury can I smoke weed

Needed to hear this. Thank you

I have epilepsy and I find smoking small doses of weed helps

Thank you sooooo much for this information appreciate you

I was a lost heavy drug user and GOD revealed himself to me when I had diffuse axonal injury (tbi) 2018. I was speeding lost control because there was black ice on the road after a snow storm in nc, I flipped 3 times flew out the vehicle and hit my head. I was in a coma for 6 weeks (month and a half). I am currently still recovering my balance,coordination,and speech. I have smoked again but it does not help me at all. It sets off my ataxia and nervous system. It does affect my balance and coordination and it could take a longer recovery. I believe it is not worth it. I recommend PATIENCE. The wait will be worth the while.
I Thank you Lord for giving me the wisdom to understand that there is no need to be impaired. I was one that felt needed to be high to be okay, boy was I deceived. Anyone who reads this I hope in Jesus name that he will shine a light of science through me. There is no need to be impaired. Jesus Christ should be priority. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Thank you

Thank you, for this information. God bless you. I just had a brain aneurysm and am suffering from horrible nightmares and was thinking of having a joint before bed to stop them and came across this article and after read your response I have decided not too and remain strong.

There’s something about smoking with brain injury that my friend was told to stop both immediately. Cigarettes and marijuana. He was eating a little with marijuana but used a bong with cold water and ice to make sure there was no heat and it was cool before he was smoking it. I talk to him about it and he went back to his doctor and his doctor told him that he could eat edibles so he buys Marijuana in the animal farm and it has helped him tremendously. I wish you the best of luck God bless you.

When I asked my neurosurgeon if I could smoke cigarettes he said: "If you smoke a carton of cigarettes and drink a bottle of wine a day there will obviously be problems but a glass of wine and a cigarette is alright." He then told me a story where one of his patients who had a traumatic brain injury had a bottle of wine one night and then had a bad seizure - can't remember if he passed away or not. In my opinion, I think that it all depends on how each person's brain has dealt with the injury and how well and fast its healing. ask your neurosurgeon what they think. they cant tell you that you can drink or smoke because if anything happens, it's their fault for allowing it.

I am sorry but I do not believe you. There is not a neurosurgeon alive that would tell you a Cigarette is ok. I have had 5 people in my family have aneurysms and not one told us that is Ok. Matter of fact they said it is a death sentence! Maybe one glass a wine here and there is ok but no not a lot, and no smoking of any kind . So I hope you stop your “one” per day!

I actually got into a car accident in December 27,2020 and I’ve smokes cigarettes here and there and nothing has ever happened . No seizures or anything . I drink wine here and there . I smoked weed a few times but just like two hits and that’s about it but I been paranoid to wanting to smoke a whole blunt to myself

I was in an induced coma for 2.5 weeks a bit over 2 years ago after falling off a railing while blackout drunk. The neuro surgeon performed a craniotomy and after a few months of being in hospital and learning how to walk again, I was all good. My sense of smell isn't that great anymore but it's not gone :)

I didn't smoke, drink or do drugs as my neurosurgeon said that I absolutely must not do that. However, at the beginning of this year I asked him again and he said: "I don't recommend it". I obviously took it as: "I'm a surgeon so I can't say yes cause if anything happens I will be in trouble". So I started smoking cigarettes and weed again (never drinking again). Some days I do get Horrible headaches but I do believe that it could be normal from smoking too much tobacco and drinking too little water that day. For the weed, I just started smoking that again (+- a few weeks ago) and so far it has been really enjoyable and fun.

I went on this website because the top back part of my skull had a sudden small concentrated vibrating pain that lasted a very short amount of time (This was the first time) so it scared me a little. If that happens 2 more times in a short amount of time I will quit everything because it's honestly not worth risking my health like that.

when smoking weed, I also enjoy starting with a tiny bit first just so that I can read what my body is telling me and if there are any minor indications of my brain area being affected. Then I smoke more.

Try edible marijuana. You can buy All sorts of treats that have marijuana in it and therefore you’re not smoking which I understand is extremely risky. My friend has an AVM and is now eating edible marijuana and it helps him tremendously.

OMG you didn’t learn your lesson at all. How stupid do you sound that you took it that way the Dr. meant you could smoke? Please get real. So you dont value a second chance? So you put that crap in you because you do have a brain injury for the rest of your life. Obviously your brain doesn’t make good choices. My Neuro, said to me and my Aneurysm group “We ever smoke again-we are signing our death certificate “ So either Stop or count your time, because each cig is 10 min off your life.

If each cigarette is 10 mins; i should have died long time ago….i had operation last year begining of summer. Had A brain hemorrhage. Stayed in coma for 3 weeks/discharged after 10 days without any damage. another operation i had in february for an aneursym i had… kust stayed 2 days in hospital. I do smoke and vape. Drink time to time. No weed tho

I read all the comments here.
it seems I'm not alone in
the weed brain business.

So I'm a teenager gonna be 18 this 18th Feb,
I had an accident almost 2 years ago
I fell from a running car on a hill somewhere while I was high
I had hit my left side of the head
so I needed brain surgery cause my head was getting filled with blood
after that accident, I got out of hospital within a week
ik who gets off so soon, But I'm a kid so I heal fast that's what the doc said,
I started smoking after 1 week at home.. so I held smoking for 2 weeks after surgery.
After that, I left home within a year and started living alone. I started smoking 1 pack a day and needed a joint each day must.
now I'm still high.
it's my birthday month so I'm getting high every day of the month.
but inside I'm scared that will I ever heal fully?
how long it will take? I need to take meds every fucking day for the past years.
Life's already a mess ... how can I feel better?
Sometimes when I work out too much or get high too much my left side of my brain vibrates from the inside.. like it's a heartbeat of the brain. I feel bad every time I think about how I put myself in this position every f@$%ing day.

face the facts. You have a brain injury. You can not smoke! Either you clean up your act or pick out you casket. Stop your pity party. Stop getting high and get normal. You are living in la la land. You probably should be lifting more than 10 lbs if you had bleeding on the brain. Go to the dr and get help to stop smoking. Get a job. Keep busy and new friends. You need to change your life around. Move away and go to a trade school and become human or you sill waste your life. Good luck

I had a severe diffuse Axonal traumatic brain injury in 1998. I was 8 years old. I just started smoking and it helps with all of my pain from my head injury.

I suffer from a Traumatic brain injury, was diagnosed back in 2013 and have a really difficult time thinking about it without crying. I was instantly put into a coma and and lied on a coma for 2 weeks. My current neurologist said I would not survive and told my Mom to prepare for me to die. The woman was driving 45 mph and hit me with no helmet. I have suffered from seizures since 2015. (I believe I have done permanent damage due to the stupid things I had done back then).
But when I smoke marijuanna I have seizures. Example: My last seizure was in August oddly at night, and it was almost directly after smoking. Was curious if there is any correlation, or if it mainly due to eating habits?

I had a brain injury and after I healed I noticed that after I smoked, my head got inflamed and I was ill for like a week. I miss smoking my weed, but have no choice but to stop. It is so messed up. I do get a lot more done and don't procrastinate as much. Alotta good has come from it. Some of us just can't smoke it. I can't do edibles either. No TCH. I can however do some cannabis for the joints.

I had bleeding in the brain possible skull fracture thirteen stiches on my right forehead a gash. I think I feel forward and fell face-first on road. I keep feeling like I need nicotine but about a month later after brain injury, the doctors called it a sub- injury. It's along story. I'm so mad at who hit me head but when I have nicotine I'm easy going don't think of him. Could you tell me what you think

I got hit in the head in 2006 they said I had the second serious hemorrhage. About one to two months later I started smoking cigarettes for the first time. I got hit from behind with a blunt object and the person was never caught. I saw he was a black male. Anyway I quit smoking cigs on April 7, 2020, then started nicotine lozenges in around May. Now I quit lozenges Thursday. And been using a nicotine patch for the last two weeks. I pulled patch off at 3 am this morning and then woke up about 830@m. Been all day without nicotine is it possible because of my head injury when I quit nicotine I get so irritated with everything aggravated but when I have nicotinevim easygoing. I feel I need nicotine for a good relaxed mood. Ask any questions if you need to. I feel like I'm mad at people but nicotine cures my feelings. I wanna be easygoing without nicotine but I can hardly focus on my cable TV. Not much patience please help!! Thank you

Dude the "Black Male" comment is totally out of place...geeze c'mon..

Marijuana has made dealing w multiple this bearable

10 weeks ago I had motorbike accident that resulted in subdural heamatoma and diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. There is still some blood clot that doctors keep monitoring by regular scan.

I dont believe any of the statements of this doctor cause there is enough evidence and research on TBI and medicinal cannabinoids.

My question is has anyone smoked pot after 2 months of their injury and what was it like?
I would like to smoke but I'm a little bit nervous and would like to hear others' experiences..

Be very careful to either check with your doctor or do some research because my friend has AVM in his brain Which is abnormal Blood vessels Connecting the arteries and veins in his brain and he was told by the doctor to absolutely not smoke any more cigarettes or marijuana due to the seriousness of his issue in the brain. He also becomes very irritable not being able to smoke and when he does he feels relaxed so his doctor suggested that it was OK for him to eat edibles of marijuana which he does and it helped him tremendously. Just a suggestion. As far as the cigarettes go if nicotine helps you then as the other person said using the patch or gum etc. of nicotine may do something to help you. Check with your doctor and see what he says about edibles and give it a shot it really helped my friend. I wish you the best of luck and I’m really sorry to hear about your accident and I hope things get better for you.

You will know if you can or can't...cause your head will swell and you will feel like shit. I can't smoke anymore. Sucks but it is what it is..

Yes, I have the same exact injury as yours. I started THC after 5 years of having the injury. It seems to have no ill affects. I would recommend fish oil, 1000mg up to 4 per day. The injury is manageable but have you felt any repercussions with your mathematical abilities?

I did smoke weed some months after my very very bad concussion. I lost my ability to speak and the marijuana bringss it back, although I need to be high to be able to speak

Had a TBI experience the night of March 1, 2020, not sure why I fainted, but felt sick just before and when I fainted, fell free-fall, hitting the floor and the back of my head had a nice size goose-egg that I treated with ice-packs and sleep. Did not go to emergency as I felt OK, but dizzy. Well, it's been 7 months, and it has affected me with first the dizziness the first couple months, and now it's vertigo just about all day, when I get up from sitting, get out of bed, wearing and taking off my Rx glasses, walking, jogging - I experience some vertigo - some days are worse than others. I've noticed nutrition is key. I have been smoking Indica cannabis at night for the past 12 years for help with my basic ailments - PMDD, Fibromyalsia, and insomnia - it's the only thing that helped me get through the days. I do not smoke it any other time of day, just Indica at night - sometimes to help with appetite than for getting me to sleep right away. Since the TBI, I had to moderate the cannabis from smoking about .75g to .30-.50g and than as the days passed, increased it to almost where I was before, .75g. It's still too much and when that happens, I get the worse feeling in my head - it's like an overactive thing happening in my head where it almost feels as if I'm shaking inside my head. I am also going through peri-menopause, so all these symptoms are wrapped up into one right now making it difficult to decipher what is actually happening to me. Because nothing helps it go away, I just have to go straight to bed and I'm usually over it my morning and feel fine. So, I just have to be careful with how much cannabis I'm smoking at one time. If you have a TBI, I do know nutrition is key, so if you have not eaten well or not at all before smoking, you will find out how bad that can feel. However, if I eat nutritious food and than smoke a little, it usually does as it should and I get to have a restful sleep. Also, following the TBI, getting high is no longer enjoyable, as I cannot listen to headphones with music, watch TV or look at screens too long before I start feeling that awful and weird head experience, i.e. shaking inside my head that comes and goes. Be safe and do cannabis in moderation by testing how much will work for you. Now that I've read many of the TBI experiences here, I see this can last for months to years, so I'm hopeful I will heal soon, even if I use a little cannabis before bed.

Hi, i suffered a TBI last year, go to these websites. Project CBD and BrainCenter. You wil find a ton of info. on cannabis and Omega3 for TBI.
There are some Drs. that specialise in treating our sysmtoms after TBI. It's been my experiance that most don't know anything about it! There is alot of positive research on this subject ,the above dr. has no idea what he's talking about in my opinion.

Lucky you. Because some people go into SEVERE psychosis with delusions after smoking too much weed. Look up “cannabis induced psychosis.” My son has had this happen severely three times now being hospitalized each time. And it’s a horrible hell for us to go through…

My kid does the same exact thing and it’s scary. It’s not ok to see her go through a manic state just to get high. So is there a correlation with TBI/concussions and thc snd manic/psychosis?

Simple question...
Can I smoke hydro if I'm post brain surgery 20 years ago and take dilantin to avoid grand mal seizures ??