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 (282)

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.

so I got TBI in April of 2023 and I was an inpatient at this 5-star rehab hospital and i had this group session daily, that talked about the things that come with the TBI and also drug abuse and the use after a TBI the instructor of the group said one day that the minimum wait time is six months before I can start smoking again I'm obviously going to wait longer, but should I trust them

Where can I find the data you used? I have a TBI from 2009, had a GCS of 3 and 12 day coma then walked out of the hospital two months later with no deficits. Fast forward 10 years, I develop epilepsy, I don’t use recreational drugs nor did I use marijuana before 2019, the epilepsy has continued to progress and I had a craniotomy to have an RNS and two leads placed in 4/2022. Since the RNS surgery I have seen an amazing reduction in my amount of seizures. Also since surgery, my docs haven’t urged me to stop using marijuana, they’re actually able to see the real time data when I smoke as it’s recorded by the device in my head, and they like what they see :)

Yesterday I got into a car accident and the doctor at the hospital diagnosed me with a minor concussion. However, I didn’t hit my head and have no actual symptoms of a concussion (just whiplash). I’m just curious when I could smoke again as I use it to sleep.

I’m underage and recently experienced a minor concussion it’s been a few days and I’m wondering if I can go back to smoking pot

Wise up. You’re a young teenager. Get some goals in life and work hard not lying about doing nothing for the rest of your life convincing there’s nothing wrong of smoking weed. Smoke for a while in my late teens and started smoking again in my mid 40s for five years. Found it very hard to quit and detox. Quit now for six months. Like a new person. I sorry to hear of ur injury. be strong. It definitely doesn’t help concentration and MEMORY. Side effects were really intense getting off it. I am A lot more confident now and can go out and talk to people and remember their name. Wise up u have a brain injury. It ok at the start but will eventually give u depression. It make u so lazy, putting things off and lying about the house. Do something for yourself. Stay off and don’t let friends tell u it’s good for u. If need b ask for help

I’ve had a brain injury in the beginning of January 2022. how long should I wait for my brain to develop to then smoke weed?

I’m 24. I had my TBI at 18, and recovered in 4/19 from the brain injury center and then went back to high school for 2 years and now I feel like a pos because all I do is wake eat shower get high get more high all morning go to work at 12 come home at 5 and get high and go inside and eat dinner get high then go to bed rinse and repeat I smoke a lot of pot

I had a tumor removed in 2013 started back smoking weed a year later but have to quit soon because it makes me have extremely terrible body odor does anyone know I can heal whatever I damaged?

I’m a 25 y/o how was a heavy smoker after my brain injury I felt like it wasn’t a big deal since my progress has been good but weed hit me worse and I felt like my emotions were uncontrollable

On 11/9/2021 I was t-boned by a pickup truck in a Jetta. I had severe TBI and my doctor told me I had a seizure at the hospital. I've fully recovered and I'm even back in the gym. I have been smoking little joints about 5 times a week for about 2 months now. After coming across this page it's safe to say anything over micro-dosing is pushing it way too far. It's time to call it quits.

It's amazing that all of these people have had TBIs and believe that smoking pot has helped them; but they write like they are illiterate. Perhaps they have always had this deficiency and they don't see how it makes them out to be? This TBI survivor (coma for 6 wks) will stick to conventional medicine and away from pot.

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?

Yea if you smoke after wisdom teeth removal you can develop a dry socket. They’re extremely painful.

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.

Im almost in the same boat. I had a frontal lobe injury back im 2021 and i ended up in a coma for awhile. The doctors said i had a full recovery but in 2023 i started smoking weed just as a bad habbit because my gf was smoking. I feel like some of my symtoms are coming back with how i feel. Maybe im just buggin a little because of how life is going or maybe im on to something

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.

Yess. My first time smoking i just laughed. i laughed alot and just got tired. So i went to lay down. I got high alot after at night because i dodnt smoke before my tbi. I was high for dayss and for awhile didnt really notice it. I smoke for a week or two after that and decided to quit. I wasnt as high anymore after a few days and felt normal but ever since then everythings just so relatable to how it was when I was recovering from my tbi

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.

Depends on how long it has been since the injury, just know most effects of thc are
long term.
Such as having memory problems
And Processing speed is slower

Cannabis saved my life after TBI severe

I know! I have been through a severe car accident and I have to say, weed is what got me through

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

Me too.

I have a TBI and i have found that smoking weed helps ease my pain and suffering more than any of the prescribed drugs that I am currently on

How long did you wait from the initial day of the injury to smoke?

Hey I gotta question I had 3 brain bleeds and drank a lot of alcohol fell asleep then I woke up and had a Siezure. I smoked weed two times a didnt experience a Siezure. But I do vape nicotine and doesn’t cause a Siezure. You think I’ll be okay to smoke weed. You can email me a answer at keastmitchell -at- yahoo -dot- com

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.

I agree. It can actually help spark sleeping parts of the brain , some how either healing or igniting cellsvto fire.

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 so much for this information, I was lost in smoking marijuana too and the more I practice it the more I suffer anxiety and stress. Suicidal thoughts almost won, but now I am reedemed and prefer that it is good to bring an end to smoking marijuana

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