Could cannabis help former NHL players manage concussion symptoms?
The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is currently conducting a 5 year study to examine the effects of CBD for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries and concussions. By combining CBD with an NMDA antagonist (an anesthetic used in animals and humans), the researchers believe the combination can reduce post-injury brain cell inflammation, headache, pain and other symptoms associated with concussion.
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.
More recently, CTVNews (a leading Canada News broadcaster) reported that approximately 100 former NHLers with chronic brain conditions will take part in the study, which will get underway this summer. Half of them will be given CBD, while the other half will be given a placebo. All will continue to undergo other recommended treatments. Researchers will monitor all of the former players for one year, looking for any signs that the treatment has affected their conditions.
Athletes with chronic pain issues have traditionally been prescribed opioids or other analgesics. Tator said doctors are hesitant to treat patients this way -- particularly when possible brain conditions are involved -- and would prefer a safer alternative.
“Opioids are very effective in relieving pain, but the problem is they have this terrible side effect of causing addiction and dependence,” he said.
The study is being conducted by researchers at Neeka Health, along with cannabis producer Canopy Growth and the NHL Alumni Association.
“This complex and multidimensional study will give us an unprecedented understanding of the interactions between [CBD] and the brains and behaviours of former NHL players living with post-concussion symptoms,” Canopy chief medical officer Mark Ware said in a statement.