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 (241)

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 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.

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

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.

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 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.

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 ??

I smoke weed almost everyday even though the bleeding on my brain wasn’t as bad. I was in a car crash and put in a coma about a month ago. Ever since I got out I been smoking weed and I’ve had no effect to it.

Just wanted to share with you that I got hit by a truck 7 years ago I have traumatic brain injury I been in the coma for 2 weeks, connected to life support back then right after my accident, when I got out of the hospital I did drink a lot, I did smoke Marijuana a lot and back then it didn't feel like had any affect on me... now a days damn rights it has you will find that out later on in life it will come out... I am seeing extra help. And still smoke and drink sometimes its hard to find balance and say no.

I had a car accident and I didn’t have a seatbelt on. I had to put into an induced coma for almost a month. Literally almost died. Also I do have a traumatic brain injury as well. 2 in a half years later I smoked weed with my family I feel completely fine. No headaches nor eye strains. My brain is actually restoring. I feel clearer. I can only smoke Mon. Wed. and Friday’s; no weekends. There is no risk of an increased seizure and there is no risk having another TBI. The brain is complex I’m sure of it but I’m feeling absolutely amazing. Weed is good for the brain. That’s just my opinion.

Same!!!! It brings back my speech abilities and I stopped using a cane!!


I'm a life-long pot user -- indeed, mariiuana helped me manage terrible colitis and bowel issues due to Crohn's disease.

However, I incurred mild brain damage due to West Nile encephalitis in 2011. During my recovery, every time I smoked, it would set me back several weeks. Over time, I recovered and nothing seemed different about smoking pot.

Two years later I noticed I was developing a tremor. I was also diagnosed with negative myoclonus, which is a "twitch" caused by a micro-siezure.

Several more years went by and the tremors and "twitches" continued to get worse. They would get so bad I could barely play the guitar. I was also having worsening memory issues -- I couldn't perform my songs without having the lyrics right in front of me. I had to concentrate whilst performing or I would forget which verses I had already sung. It was very stressful and embarrassing when I would screw up.

Then I developed a bad allergy to marijuana. It made my asthma go so crazy that I just had to give it up. I did NOT want to do this but I had no choice.

Gradually, in the months that followed, the tremor and seizures became unnoticeable. There are times if I overuse my hands that I'll feel it a bit, but it's NOTHING like it was before. I've returned to my usual level of (lame) guitar playing and I can keep track of where I am in songs I am singing.

It's just amazing how much better I am doing since I gave it up.

When I do occasionally use marijuana -- for acute Crohn's disease flareups (it's the only thing that helps) -- the tremor and twitch return.

So marijuana does NOT help all people that have brain damage! I wish it did, but I'm so much better off without it.

I think your comments made the most sense out of those I've read. After a number of concussions (sports, auto accident, etc.), I've noticed that when I use THC products, my moods can change minute by minute. To those that find relief, I am glad. For some reason, THC doesn't seem to work for me.

Ever since I had a sTBI 5 1/2 years ago, I get really paranoid and I hate when people tell me I have to find the right strain. I got a med card before the car accident so it was active for a few years after I tried different edibles, different strains, low THC, everything had the same negative effect of paranoia and my facet fracture pain would flare up which doesn't make sense but my brain was all sorts of messed up and I know it got completely rewired

Since I was 8 I’ve had a Cranial Fracture that thankfully I don’t have any symptoms for, that is until I smoked pot for the 1st time. I don’t know what pot does to the brain exactly, but my theory is that it may have an inflating/swelling effect on the brain. So...

Pot Caused me to “trip”. Super hard. My vision was impaired, my brain would black out every 3 sec. my brain would wake up to process my thoughts and then black out again. And the depressed area on my head “was on fire”(that’s what it felt like). I couldn’t speak right, and i mean i had major speech impediment. And I couldn’t retain any information.

These effects lasted about 3-5 days, with subtle long term symptoms of the same kind that lasted about a year.

I don’t recommend smoking pot w a brain injury. Regardless It’s not all that great anyways.

Does anyone know how to fix my skull though?

What is a facet fracture?

I’ve just recently suffered a TBI fractured skull and cheekbone. I had minor bleeding on my brain. Luckily I didn’t need surgery. Before my injury I was a daily user but I noticed after I smoked a few times I felt very strange and weed just makes me feel different haven’t been able to smoke which is probably for the best.

I had internal bleeding i cracked my skull from the inside from falling off a car . I had hit the concrete road . This was october 31 2019 right on Halloween day n till this day ive been trying to smoke pot but it makes me feel weird like its not my normal high like it use to be . Like i feel lost and i cant really concentrate im always serious . I was wondering what yall feel??

Same bro I got jumped 10 months ago I was 14 and hit in the head with a hammer leaving me with a broken cranium I was In coma for 2 days nearly died but i started smoking till this day I do but whenever I do I get really paranoid and I fell wired my heart starts to race and i get like wired twitches in my leg and body and I don’t feel like myself