Sports

Concussion pill using cannabis could be a game changer
Sports

‘Concussion Pill’ Using Cannabis Could be a Game Changer for Pro-Athletes

There’s an epidemic of brain injuries in football and hardly any options to treat them.

Jul 28, 2018 - Rob Hoffman

Photo courtesy of Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Concussion pill using cannabis could be a game changer

Photo courtesy of Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

In Miami, researchers are now developing a medication derived from cannabinoids that they believe could one day be mandatory for professional and youth athletes alike. The medication would likely come in pill form and be used to treat concussions and related symptoms.

Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for a significant number of fatalities and disabilities in the United States. Roughly 30% of all injury deaths in the country involve traumatic brain injuries (like a concussion), as recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These types of injuries are common among those with highly physical and dangerous careers, like athletes and U.S. military members.

But finding adequate treatments for traumatic brain injuries has proven difficult. “One thing has eluded us—a clinically proven medication to treat concussion,” said Gillian A. Hotz, a professor of neurological surgery and principal investigator in the study, in a press release.

This new medication is made up of both an NMDA amino acid anesthetic and cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD reportedly has anti-inflammatory properties that could help treat the brain’s inflammation following trauma.

In the NFL, there’s a crisis of players developing the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) due to the repeated physical impacts involved in football. This, along with the overprescription of opioids for pain in the league, has led players and even lawmakers to advocate for CBD-based treatments which could potentially help. 

Concussion pill using cannabis shows promise0 Cannabis Use Disorder is a Real Thing and Statistics are Soaring
HUNTINGTON, WV – SEPTEMBER 6: A Marshall Thundering Herd player lays on the field after suffering a possible concussion against the Purdue Boilermakers at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on September 6, 2015 in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The researchers have completed a pre-clinical trial on rodents with brain injuries in which the medication improved cognitive function. In this trial, no adverse effects resulted from the use of this new medication.

“Having such a large, multidisciplinary team of neuroscience experts attaching themselves to research that could change the outcome of TBI and concussion care is the opportunity researchers have been looking for to curb the growing trend of concussion,” says Michael Hoffer, another researcher with the project and professor at the University of Miami Miller, in the press release.

This pill is being created through a partnership between University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (a program at the University of Miami Miller), and a Canadian pre-clinical research company called Scythian Biosciences Corp. of Toronto.

Scythian helped fund this research when, in 2016, it provided the University of Miami Miller with a $16 million grant. The company hopes to develop the first cannabis-based concussion treatment.

Jonathan Gilbert, who’s overseeing the partnership, called the potential for this cannabis-based medication “enormous and extraordinary” in an interview with UPI. Gilbert believes the medication has the potential to become “mandatory equipment” for athletes of all levels and ages, as well as something that’s widely used among first responders on patients who have just suffered an injury.

The next phase of research using this medication will likely include human participants, followed by an extensive three-year trial.


Share This

Related Articles

Opioid addiction and CTE are rotting the NFL to its core. Marvin Washington is a leader to an increasing number of football players who believe that medical cannabis can save players’ lives and, in many ways, the National Football League from itself.

Marvin Washington, a retired NFL Player, is sueing Jeff Sessions for his right to use CBD and medical cannabis to help CTE and football related injury

This is just the latest development in a nationwide debate over whether athletes should be allowed to use medical cannabis.

CJ Harris posing with Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn

Former NFL Player Kyle Turley could barely recognize himself amid all the pain and confusion from injuries suffered on the field. Then, he discovered CBD for CTE.

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 17: Offensive tackle Kyle Turley, #74 of the Kansas City Chiefs, blocks during the game against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 17, 2006 in Denver, Colorado. Turley is now retired from the NFL and an advocate for CBD for CTE, a condition which severely disrupts the lives of many former athletes. (Photo by Doug Pensinger via Getty Images)

Comments

Stay in the loop

Exclusive deals, original content.
Delivered to you.