Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a head injury like a blow, bump, or jolt results in injury to the brain. When a brain injury occurs, the brain may respond with a ‘secondary injury cascade’ that may cause chemical imbalances, inflammation, injury to blood vessels, tissue damage, and even cell death.
Traumatic brain injury is believed to affect nearly 1.7 million Americans each year and is considered to be a ‘signature injury’ among the senior population.
A mild concussion can cause symptoms lasting days or weeks, but a severe brain injury can cause a lifetime of complications. Moreover, brain injury has been known to speed up the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Research indicates that CBD may have neuroprotective properties that could help to treat brain injury and slow down the development of neurodegenerative conditions. Keep reading to find out how CBD may be able to limit neurological damage and protect your brain!
A 1998 report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences first brought attention to the neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. This preclinical study led to the US government filing a patent on “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”. According to the patent, CBD and THC may be able to limit “neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma”.
A 2011 study confirmed these findings when it induced hypoxia-ischemia (HI) brain injuries in mice by restricting the flow of oxygen. Researchers found that administering CBD after the injury led to “long-lasting neuroprotection”. Dosing with CBD not only reduced inflammation in the brain, but also reduced the volume and extent of brain damage, and prevented the impairment of neurological behavior.
CBD may also have potential in the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A 2017 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the efficacy of CBD noted that cannabidiol may have therapeutic benefits for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In those suffering from Alzheimer’s, CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiapoptotic properties could work to mitigate neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative responses. And when it comes to Parkinson’s disease, the report found that CBD may be able to slow dopaminergic impairment and reduce agitation, nightmares, and aggressive behavior.
Researchers believe that CBD may also be able to protect against brain damage caused by concussions. Researchers believe that the body’s inner endocannabinoid system (ECS) may play a role in maintaining brain health, even after damage. Alongside naturally produced endocannabinoids like 2-AG, phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC are believed to interact with the ECS, defending the brain with their neuroprotective properties.
A study from 2001 confirmed the role of the ECS in brain injuries when it dosed injured mice with the endogenously produced cannabinoid 2-AG. Researchers noted that by administering 2-AG after brain injury, the damage done could be reduced by as much as 50%.
CBD may act similarly. A 2010 report found that CBD may have long-lasting neuroprotective properties if administered directly before, or several hours after, the onset of ischemia. Another study found that animal survivability significantly increased even when CBD was administered as long as 3 days after a stroke.
While no studies have been specifically done on CBD and concussions, its ability to protect the brain from strokes and neurodegenerative diseases has led some health experts to believe that CBD may also have a role to play in mitigating the damage of post-concussive syndrome and even CTE.
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