Cannabis and CBD Research
Current research points towards cannabinoids serving as a neuroprotectant, and clinical trials are looking at CBD alone and CBD+THC for concussions. Findings also indicate that CBD and THC may be effective for pain management, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are common symptoms of concussions and persistent post-concussive symptoms.
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Please read our Cannabis Health & Safety page.
Cannabis: There are numerous contraindications to be aware of for cannabis (marijuana) because of its THC content. Cannabis can interact with other medications, especially blood thinners. Federal agencies advise against using cannabis while pregnant or nursing. Check your state guidelines and talk to a medical professional before using these products. People with brain injuries may be more vulnerable to substance abuse, including abuse of marijuana.
CBD: There is a consensus that CBD (cannabidiol) “has a good safety profile.” CBD products are made from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some research focuses specifically on CBD (cannabidiol) which is not nonpsychoactive, and other research focuses on cannabis (marijuana), with various ratios of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD products are extracted from hemp plants and the finished product must contain less than 0.3% THC.
We use the term medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) because that is what is being used in research studies. The critical point is that where marijuana is legal, either as medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, the products are regulated and you can purchase marijuana with specific ratios of CBD to THC.
Clinical Trials – CBD for concussions
Researchers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia are investigating the efficacy of CBD (cannabidiol) for the acute stage of concussion (when the injury is new) and for persistent post-concussive symptoms.
As of February 2022, a research team in Canada will be studying the efficacy of CBD and THC for concussions; the NFL awarded the research team $500,000 for this study.
In the United States
The University of Miami
An ongoing study on cannabinoid treatment for concussion is being done by the University of Miami which received a $16 million grant for the research. The study is a five-year, three-stage study that will “assess the effectiveness of a new cannabinoid-based pill to treat concussion injuries. This partnership aims to propel this research and potential treatment forward by using two classes of drugs in a combination that scientists believe will reduce brain inflammation and the immune response.”
As reported in UHealth in July 2018, the “findings of a pre-clinical pilot study were recently released, and they show that the combination therapy improved the cognitive functions of animals, compared with those treated with a single vehicle. In addition, there were no adverse effects from either the combination therapy or the individual components.”
The cannabinoid combination therapy is made up of CBD (cannabidiol) and Dexanabinol (HU-211) which is a synthetic cannabinoid that is an “anticonvulsant and neuroprotective, and is widely used in scientific research as well as currently being studied for applications such as treating head injury, stroke, or cancer.” The medicinal CBD for the study is sourced from BOL Pharma.
Phase 2 of the study is currently underway. The University of Miami is testing the cannabinoid-based pill on a small pilot study with people, including “a control group and two groups of TBI patients, acute and chronic.” More information can be found on our blog post, an interview with Dr. Hoffer. Dr. Hoffer had planned to transition to human clinical trials and file the treatment with the FDA in early 2021, but this was likely delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Hoffer began a new study in February 2020 to research if “using a pill form of cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychedelic drug psilocybin effectively treats and possibly prevents symptoms of two conditions that commonly occur together: mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)… Up to 40% of people impacted by mTBI [or TBI] also suffer from PTSD,” according to a University of Miami press release.
The University of Regina (Saskatchewan Province, Canada)
In February 2022, the NFL awarded the University of Regina $500,000 to “try to optimize the formulation of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management in those suffering from post-concussion syndrome and chronic pain, and for a neuroprotective treatment for concussions.”
The U of R study will be led by Patrick Neary, who “expects their CBD/THC formulation to show significant and positive changes to the brain that will reduce pain and use of prescription medications, such as opioids, and reduce concussions during athletic competition. It will be “really exciting” to see whether the formulation they’re working on can reduce the incidence and/or the severity of concussions, he said.
Neary said when a person gets a concussion, there are chemical changes that are occurring in the brain to try and help it rehabilitate and recover from the trauma that it’s gone through. With the disruption in the cells in the brain, there will often be an influx of more chemicals than are needed initially and that creates inflammation, he said.
‘We know that CBD is anti-inflammatory, so it can help to reduce the inflammation while still allowing the brain to recover from those good chemicals that are coming in,’ he said. ‘So that’s the whole premise here. Can we use CBD? I believe we can.’”
Phase 1 will be “dedicated to figuring out the optimal formulation and amount of CBD athletes doing resistance training can take on a daily basis to treat inflammation.”
Phase 2 will “occur during football season, will have some players from the participating universities take the new optimal formulation and compare it against a placebo group to study its impacts.”
Phase 3 “will look at using a combination of CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and nutritional supplements to reduce prescription pain medications, particularly opioids.”
NEEKA Health Canada
A new study led by NEEKA Health Canada will “test if CBD-based therapies can reduce the severity of post-concussion brain disorders in former NHL players.” The National Hockey League Alumni Association and Canopy Growth Corp. (a cannabis and hemp company) are partnering with NEEKA for the clinical research; approximately 100 former players will be enrolled in the randomized, double-blind study. Researchers hope to finish the study by the end of 2020 according to an article in Green Entrepreneur.
The medical cannabis company Impression Healthcare began a new clinical trial in mid-2020 to access its new cannabinoid formula IHL-216A on “its ability to protect the brain against the main injury mechanisms which cause cell death and other negative consequences in the days and weeks following head trauma.” Impression will test IHL-216A with in-human and animal trials.
Up to 50 Australian MMA fighters who “receive head knocks and show symptoms of moderate to severe head concussions” will participate in the study. Participants will either receive IHL-216A or a placebo. The effectiveness of the CBD formula will be tested by participants’ baseline neurocognitive tests, which will be repeated throughout the study in both the experiment and placebo groups, and EEG and blood biomarker assessments. Impression Healthcare hopes to have IHL-216A fully approved for market by 2024.
Research indicates medical cannabis improves concussion symptoms
A study published in Brain Injury in October 2019 found that even though cannabis use didn’t affect concussion recovery time, cannabis use was associated with a lower symptom burden in the third and fourth weeks after injury. See our blog post, Study shows cannabis use decreases symptom severity after a concussion.
A December 2018 study in the journal Neurology indicates that medical cannabis (marijuana) helps concussion patients with concussion symptoms, especially pain, mood, sleep, and quality of life. The study also specifies the optimal forms of medical cannabis for the patients in the study, in terms of rations of CBD to THC, and methods of intake, such as a tincture (oral) or a vapor pen (inhaling). Read more in our blog post, Study finds medical marijuana improves concussion symptoms.
CBD Does CBD Oil Help with Concussions?
Does CBD Oil Help With Concussions & Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment?
So does CBD oil help with concussions? CBD has amazing therapeutic properties, and it is known for its numerous health benefits.
One such case is the treatment of long-term damage associated with concussions, typically caused by traumatic brain injuries. CBD can potentially be used for post-concussion syndrome treatment.
Concussions are classified as traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to a blow bump, or sudden jolt to the head. It is also caused by a hit to the body which violently shakes the brain and the head back and forth. Depending on the severity of the trauma, the resulting concussion can cause long-term health issues such as dementia, compromised cognitive function, and strokes.
A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that people suffering from TBI were at least 1.5 times as likely to experience a stroke compared to those without concussions.
Repeated episodes of TBI can cause significant alterations to the brain’s structure and disrupt chemical signaling, causing PCS or post-concussion syndrome which could result in more damage to the brain. Concussions are dangerous because of how difficult it is to diagnose and treat them.
Doctors and scientists are struggling to find ways to help patients who have suffered traumatic injuries to their head.
What Happens After a Concussion?
Right after an injury, the brain releases neurotransmitters such as glutamate, reactive oxygen species, ions, and inflammatory cytokines that bind to N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors to cause cell damage, allowing the region to enter into a state of ‘energy crises.’
In this state, the body consumes more glucose to facilitate its potassium and sodium ion channels to achieve homeostasis, which reduces stamina and can cause athletes fatigue.
The brain then enters into a state of decreased metabolism and receives an influx of calcium which goes on to make the energy crisis even worse.
The increase in calcium continues to stimulate more glutamate, causing even more excitotoxicity. Any subsequent influx of calcium can lead to cellular damage and even neuronal death.
CBD Oil for Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. CBD oil utilizes various mechanisms of action that include 5HT1a and the TRPV1 receptor agonism for anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-anxiety benefits.
CBD increases the endocannabinoid tone which goes on to stop calcium channels to minimize further neuronal damage.
Signs of a Concussion
The following symptoms indicate a concussion, TBI, and PCS. If you experience any of these, consult your physician for further diagnosis.
- Periodic loss of consciousness
- Cluster headaches and migraines
- Disruptive sleep patterns such as insomnia and difficulty in falling or staying asleep
- Frequent mood disorders such as anxiety, loss of concentration, irritability, and restlessness
- Vomiting and nausea
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Confusion, dizziness, visual disruption, and feeling of unsteadiness
If you have suffered a concussion during sports activities such as golf and baseball or you’re experiencing muscle cramps, a great way to relieve your symptoms and get back on the field is with CBD salves and skin cream.
Rub the ointment directly on the affected area after a round of golf to help with skin conditions and muscle aches!
An Extreme Case Study: Chris Benoit
A notable example of one such case that went unnoticed by doctors is the former WWE wrestler Chris Benoit. Due to the nature of his job, Chris would take direct, unsuppressed chair shots to the head.
Despite regular checkups and screenings, doctors never spotted a red flag until it was too late. During the end of his life, Chris’s brain resembled that of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.
As a result of changes to his brain chemistry, Chris was driven into insanity as he took the lives of his son, wife, and himself. It is clear that a better understanding of concussions could have prevented this, and many other cases like similar to it.
Evidence Supporting CBD’s Role in Neuroprotection
In order to understand if CBD can help with concussions, we need to take a look at the raw data and scientific literature already available.
- A study in 1998 found that CBD prevented cell deaths in rats, including those having high amounts of glutamate leading to neurotoxicity.
- A 2012 study found that the administration of CBD to infant rats resulted in long periods of sustained neuroprotection with better greater functional recovery after receiving injuries. No side effects of CBD were observed. Researchers in 2014 found that CBD reduces artificially induced cognitive impairment in mice. It went on to conclude that CBD has a protective effect on neuronal death and can treat brain ischemia.
- A 2018 review of phytocannabinoids found that animals who suffered post head injuries were able to mitigate brain damage by using exogenously administered CBD. The cannabinoid not only improved metabolic activity in the brain, and brain edema, but also reduced cerebral hemodynamic impairment. The study went on to hypothesize that CBD stimulates higher amounts of anandamide, this might have something to do with its therapeutic role on the brain.
It is clear from the above studies to confirm cannabidiol’s neuroprotective properties and its possible role in the treatment of conditions involving neuro-degeneration and concussions. Further research is currently underway to demonstrate how the hemp plant will provide relief to concussion patients.
CBD Dosage for Concussions
Before you start using CBD for illnesses or diseases such as TBIs, you need to make sure that it CBD is taken regularly for best results.
Start by daily consuming full-spectrum CBD oil in the form of gel capsules or tinctures. You can increase the bioavailability of CBD (the total amount of CBD that actually enters the bloodstream) by using the sublingual method of consumption.
While we highly recommend consulting your doctor or physician to find out the right dosage, a good baseline to treat brain injuries is to start with 15 mg of CBD per day. If you feel the dosage is too low and not working, start increasing the dosage in increments of 5 to 10 mg until you notice positive improvements.
There is no known toxicity level for CBD because the body is very tolerant of the compound; it is virtually impossible to overdose on it. There are no serious side effects of CBD aside from a few mild symptoms that eventually subside.
If done right, CBD can provide you with sustained relief from symptoms for long periods of time. Some people may experience CBD’s effects to last the entire day.
You should understand that it takes a few minutes to a few hours before CBD starts kicking in. It can take anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes for the full effects of the capsules or tinctures to be felt.
Combat Acute Concussion Symptom Flare-Ups With CBD Oil
In addition to the concussion management program outlined above, you should consider vaporizing CBD to combat acute flare-ups. The advantage of vaporizing CBD is that it provide relief almost instantly because it enters the lungs directly and has a bioavailability of at least 40 percent.
You can further increase the bioavailability of CBD by using intravenous methods of administration, i.e, injecting CBD directly into your bloodstream.
Another effective and popular method of increasing bioavailability is with CBD chocolates. Cannabinoids and chocolate complement each other and get absorbed into the bloodstream super efficiently!
What CBD Can’t Do
CBD has been shown to have immense health benefits without any psychoactive effects and can provide almost instant relief to people. However, it is important to understand that the role of CBD is to significantly reduce symptoms and improve the individuals’ overall quality of life.
CBD does not provide a cure for any disorders.
Where Can You Buy Hemp CBD Oil For Concussions?
At CVBotanicals, our full spectrum CBD tincture is infused with powerful terpenes that help give you razor-sharp focus that drastically improves your performance in golf and other sports activities.
Our proprietary extraction system captures the essence of the hemp plant and maximizes the tincture’s ability to get absorbed into your bloodstream.
Are you ready to try high-quality, hemp-derived CBD oil to help manage your health & wellness? If you’re new to hemp CBD and need some more information before you buy, check out our guide to CBD.
To learn more about cvBotanicals, our hemp-derived CBD products, and how we’re a botanicals company first and foremost, read a little more about us.
We specialize in plant extracts, using our custom extraction technology we focus on a pure plant extract to deliver the highest quality true full-spectrum CBD oil used in our infusions.