Yo, what’s good? It’s ya boy Dan, and today we’re talking about concussions. You might think it’s just a minor injury that you can shake off, but in reality it’s more serious than you think. Studies show that over a million people in the US suffer from a diagnosed concussion every year, and there are millions more who don’t even know they have one. And get this – tens of thousands of these patients are kids aged 5 to 18. That’s crazy, right?
So, what is a concussion anyway? Basically, it’s when your brain gets rattled around in your skull after a big hit to the head. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, vomiting, difficulty balancing, sensitivity to light and noise, and even seizures. But here’s the thing – even a mild concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury. And if you suffer from multiple concussions over time, you could be looking at some serious long-term effects.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. Did you know that cannabis could actually help your brain recover after suffering from a concussion? Yeah, I know – weed has been getting a bad rap for years, but hear me out. The active chemical compounds in marijuana could actually help prevent long-term brain cell degeneration, which is what leads to conditions like dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). And let me tell you – CTE is no joke. It’s a progressive disease that can cause depression, aggression, memory loss, impaired judgment, loss of motor function, suicidal thoughts, and even dementia.
So how does cannabis help? Well, first of all we need to talk about the two main chemical compounds in weed: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is the one that doesn’t get you high – that would be THC. But both of these compounds have been shown to help alleviate some of the symptoms of traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome. They can reduce inflammation and pain, control seizures, and even mitigate hypotension in the brain.
But don’t just take my word for it – there are actual doctors and researchers looking into this stuff. Back in 2014, Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon wrote an open letter to the NFL asking for grant money to research the clinical effects of cannabis on concussion-related symptoms. And just last year, researchers from the University of Miami were awarded $16 million to develop a CBD-based medicine that could disrupt the chemical reactions that follow a concussion and lead to brain-cell death.
The results so far have been pretty promising. In preclinical studies, combining CBD with an NMDA antagonist (anesthetic) improved cognitive functions in animals compared to animals who received only CBD or the NMDA antagonist alone. And neither treatment produced any adverse reactions.
So what does all this mean for us regular folks? Well, if you’ve suffered from a concussion or TBI (traumatic brain injury), you might want to consider talking to your doctor about using cannabis as part of your recovery process. Of course, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. But it’s worth looking into.
At the end of the day though, we need more research in order to really understand the neuroprotective properties of CBD and its potential as a treatment for concussions and TBIs. As Dr. Gillian Hotz says: “There needs to be more systematic research in this field in order to…improve treatment for those sustaining mild-to-moderate TBI (traumatic brain injury) and concussion.”
So let’s keep our eyes peeled for more studies on this topic, and maybe one day we’ll see cannabis as a legitimate treatment option for those suffering from concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries. Stay safe out there!