Traumatic Brain Injury (or TBI) is just what it sounds like neurological damage caused by an impact injury to the head. Those living with TBI often have a significantly reduced quality of life. The results can even be deadly.
As research into the benefits of Cannabidiol (or CBD) expands, so does the speculation into just how many conditions may be improved with its use. The evidence so far shows that CBD has neuroprotective effects. Could these effects include reducing the impact of damages caused by TBI?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a versatile and powerful anti-inflammatory cannabinoid with few to no side effects. The number of conditions it can be used to treat increases daily with the release of new scientific information. One severe condition CBD is beginning to be a treatment for TBI.
TBI can occur in any person who suffers from brain trauma and is often a debilitating and life-altering condition with no true cure.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Any blow to the head can be worrisome and for good reason. As with any bodily injury, a cascade of reactions occurs in the brain after a substantial blow. These include inflammation, swelling, and immune activation.
While this is a typical and helpful series of reactions for an injury such as a broken bone, that’s not the case within the brain. After a head injury, this series of events can cause additional neurological damage. Without room to expand, swelling within the brain can restrict blood flow to critical areas of the organ.
The death of brain cells can follow. Common TBI patients are military veterans, football players and car crash survivors. The effects of TBI can be long-lasting and debilitating and may involve physical, emotional, social, and behavioral symptoms.
These effects are often life changing. Depression and anxiety are common results, as well as cognitive decline and reduced motor function. Some TBI patients with severe symptoms experience seizures. Currently, conventional medicine is greatly lacking in effective methods to treat or reverse the symptoms of TBI.
Many protocols have been attempted, but none have proven to supply reliable, long term results.
Scientific Evidence Supports CBD May Treat
While there is yet no known cure for traumatic brain injury, there is some scientific evidence that suggests CBD may be able to reduce some of the damaging side effects of TBI including neuroinflammation and neurological impairments.
A study released by Frontiers in Pharmacology found that “As such, the endocannabinoid system possesses potential drugable receptor and enzyme targets for the treatment of diverse TBI pathology.” The Frontiers in Pharmacology study is promising in showing that the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) is key in treating traumatic brain injury.
There also several studies that show CBD (in combination with THC) have neuroprotective qualities, meaning that regular consumption of cannabinoids can make the brain more likely to absorb the impact of brain trauma without the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury.
The body of research available on TBI is increasing regularly. Many studies point to the ECS as an important player in the development of psychological, physical, and behavioral effects following TBI. Specifically, CBD use changes the balance of function within the ECS.
And research shows that in the case of TBI, that balance shifts towards the better. More research is needed to establish specific protocols that can be accessed and prescribed by mainstream medicine. In the meantime, though, individual cases are shining an upbeat light on the prognosis of the condition.
NFL May Consider CBD Treatments
The National Football League (or NFL) has been embroiled in controversy over their misdiagnosing and mishandling of concussions leading to life-harming side effects. The NFL recently agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with former players who allege the NFL did not accurately diagnose or treat concussions.
The players also allege that teams allowed, or forced in some cases, players to remain in games after they had clearly suffered a concussion. The settlement became final and effective on January 7, 2017 and has already paid out claims worth $657,320,496 according to the official settlement website.
To combat concussions, which will always occur as a result of playing the game of football, the NFL has implemented several rule changes and has made valuable alterations to helmets. In addition, “The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed for the first time to cooperate in studying the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players,” according to the Washington Post.
This would be a huge step forward for the league, which has banned players for consuming cannabis for years. Though they won’t necessarily be studying cannabis to treat brain injury, the fact that the NFL and NFLPA are studying cannabis’ effectiveness at all is a positive development that will hopefully lead to more cannabis and CBD studies in the future.
Anecdotal Support Of CBD Brain Injury Treatments
However, while studies take time, there is anecdotal evidence from people who believe cannabis has been helpful in treating brain injury.
CBD has the potential to make life worth living for some of the many whose lives have been permanently altered by traumatic brain injury. The scientific evidence is promising, and the anecdotal evidence is irrefutable.
It will take time to fully understand CBD’s brain healing properties, but it must be studied further.
Let us know what you think.