In addition, one of the first double-blind studies exploring the effects of cannabis and concussion is expected to be conducted this summer by NEEKA Health Canada, the NHL Alumni Association and Canopy Growth Corporation, a cannabis company. This exciting new study will explore the efficacy of cannabis on reducing post-concussion syndrome impairments, such as depression, PTSD, and progressive dementia, among 100 previous NHL players.
Laura Diamond, MSc Global Health Student
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.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD has been shown to have many potential therapeutic benefits, including neuroprotective effects (1). Results of clinical studies support its use in some conditions associated with difficult to treat epilepsy and for symptoms related to multiple sclerosis (2,3,4,5). There is emerging support for its use in other areas such as chronic pain, anxiety, and Parkinson Disease to name a few (6). Currently, however, little is known about the role of cannabis in treating concussions and post-concussion syndrome.
… medicinal cannabis may pose as an option for treating concussion-related chronic pain, specifically headaches.
The future of cannabis-concussion research
Recently, many researchers have been interested in advancing these emergent findings and investigating this alternative concussion intervention. In fact, Dr. Gillian Hotz is currently embarking on an ongoing study investigating the effects of CBD in combination with an anesthetic for individuals with traumatic brain injury. Her preliminary findings suggest that this treatment improves cognitive function in mice (8).
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).
Concussion and Cannabis: Could CBD be used following brain injury?
= Authors =
Evan Cole Lewis, MD
Please read our Cannabis Health & Safety page. There appears to be a consensus among researchers that cannabidiol is relatively benign. Consumers typically purchase CBD made from hemp, which contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
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In Australia, 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.
Health and Safety Guidelines: CBD can interact with other medications, especially blood thinners. Always talk to your doctor about your medication interactions before using CBD products. Concussion Alliance does not recommend the illegal use of cannabis or THC products. Check your state guidelines and talk to a medical professional before the use of these products. For more information, visit our health and safety page.