Concussions and head trauma suffered by professional football players in the National Football League (NFL) has been a major topic of discussion as of late. According to a study published by medical journal JAMA, 99 percent of former NFL players’ brains donated to scientific research showed signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a degenerative neurological disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma.
In CTE, a protein called Tau forms clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain, essentially killing brain cells. Early symptoms of this disease typically appear in a patient’s late 20s or 30s, and affect a patient’s mood and behavior. Common changes seen in some patients include aggression, impulse control issues, depression, and paranoia. As the disease progresses, some patients may experience cognitive issues, including memory loss, impaired judgment, confusion, and eventually progressive dementia.
Statistics in relation to head trauma in the NFL are horrific and league officials are paying close attention to the issue. The league is committed to finding a solution, or at least some way to mitigate the damaging effects of CTE.
How Cannabis Concussion Treatment is a Reasonable Option
Marijuana is known for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. In a study performed on mice who had suffered strokes demonstrated that Cannabidiol (CBD) protected the brain from any further damage after the stroke occurred. Although the brain damage suffered after a stroke is much different compared to the damage after a concussion, the study provides a scientific benchmark for potential use of marijuana for neuroprotection. However, since cannabis is currently still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government, studies related to cannabis as a neuroprotective medicine are far and few in between.
Last summer, the NFL announced an offer to the NFL Players Association to study the use of cannabis as a viable treatment option for pain management. Additionally, both parties will also look into the use of cannabis to mitigate the reliance on opioids. A cannabis concussion treatment plan could provide a healthier medicinal alternative for players and help reduce addiction and dependence of opioids.