A concussion is a particular type of traumatic injury, typically caused by direct impact to the head i.e, getting punched or falling on the ground. The concussion itself is actually caused by the brain rattling around within the skull, damaging brain cells.
The wide ranging nature of the symptoms reflects the complexity of the brain and highlights the sheer level of control it has over every facet of our body.
What is a Concussion?
In fact, it is also strongly recommended that you always seek medical help even in the absence of the above symptoms. This is because it can often take days, or even weeks, for the symptoms to manifest.
CBD capsules are great for head injuries and concussions as you can simply take a CBD capsule like you would a standard tablet or painkiller.
More specifically, a 2017 study found that CBD was an effective treatment for headaches caused by brain injury. Not only does it work directly by reducing the inflammation that causes the headache, but also reduces the severity of the pain. We know that our endocannabinoid system directly impacts the response to pain of our central nervous system, as well as our immune system. The research states that any exogenous stimulant of the endocannabinoid system (i.e. CBD) “have been shown to alter pain in acute, chronic and neuropathic conditions, including migraine and are expected to play a large role in the headache and other pain conditions resulting from concussion.”
Repeated TBIs can cause a buildup of Tau protein, which can lead to a degenerative neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families because it can cause a variety of symptoms that affect memory, emotions, behavior, movement, and mental functioning.
Many professional athletes have spoken out about the benefits of CBD for the treatment of TBI and CTE symptoms, saying that it helped to regulate their mood, improve physical function, and reduce or eliminate their use of prescription painkillers and other medications.
What is a brain injury?
Because full-spectrum CBD contains a variety of phytocannabinoids, it produces an “entourage effect” that engages both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain — as well as other cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors throughout your body — for maximum neuroprotective and overall health benefits.
Activating another cannabinoid receptor in the brain, called CB2, has been shown to promote the creation of new brain cells, as well as regulate inflammation after brain injury. A 2014 animal study found that mice that were genetically engineered to lack a CB2 receptor had worse outcomes after TBI when compared to mice that had a CB2 receptor. The study also found that the lack of a CB2 receptor impaired the creation of new brain cells.
Although CBD has shown promise for brain injury treatment in the research lab, anecdotal evidence also is strong — especially among some former professional athletes in sports with a high risk of head injuries, such as boxing and football.
The possibility of CBD as an effective intervention for post-concussion syndrome is without a doubt exciting! Stay tuned for future studies in this emerging field, and for the results of this upcoming study on professional hockey players.
Laura Diamond, MSc Global Health Student
Cannabis and concussion: What we know so far…
Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital working in the Canadian Concussion Centre says that he is “reasonably hopeful” for the potential of cannabinoids and post-concussion issues.
Jenni Diamond, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Majority of the existing research on CBD and concussion has been limited to animals. Most notably, a 2012 study on rats revealed that administration of CBD after brain injury had long-lasting, positive effects on the brain, including reducing the severity of the injury and restoring overall neurological function (1).
Evan Cole Lewis, MD
The future of cannabis-concussion research