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Can CBD Heal CTE?

Exploring CBD for Concussions and other Neurodegenerative Disorders

Spurred on by the pressure of an aging population, researchers are seeking appropriate treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. It goes without saying that the current pharmaceutical solutions are not getting the job done. But what about more natural compounds? Patients, physicians, and families alike are beginning to wonder if cannabidiol (CBD) can succeed where more conventional therapies have failed. Use ourBeginner’s Guide to CBD, to get up to speed on the basic facts of CBD oil.

Even if the federal government is dragging its feet on studying CBD oil, it hasn’t stopped prominent voices from speaking up. Most recently, former NFL players have lent their voices to the chorus calling for the increased study of the effects of CBD on the brain.

CBD and the NFL

CBD AND CONCUSSIONS : CBD and NFLFormer Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon calls himself “old school,” and is well known to have relied on marijuana both during and after his NFL career. Yet McMahon’s stab at self-medicating through medical marijuana could be ahead of its time.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland plan to test whether CBD — and its notorious cousin, THC — prove as useful in treating brain injuries as testimonials claim.Some former football players believe cannabidiol, or CBD, could help millions who suffer from brain injuries each year due to CTE. This little-known disease is degenerative, caused by repeated blows to the brain. It has been found in the majority of former NFL players whose brains were autopsied after death.

“I don’t think any of us regret what we did,” said Jake Plummer, a ten-year NFL veteran, who retired in 2007. “But there’s no question it comes at a real cost.”

Along with a handful of other retired players, Plummer felt strongly enough about the benefits of using CBD to appear in a public-service campaign titled “When the Bright Lights Fade.” It was sponsored by Realm of Caring, a nonprofit research organization, and CW Botanicals, a dietary supplements company specializing in hemp products. It was released as part of National Brain Injury Awareness month (March 2018), with the goal of raising $100,000 to begin the Johns Hopkins study.“I’ve had friends, guys I played alongside, whose mood changed from night to day. I know others who’ve replaced hellacious amounts of painkillers with CBD … and I hope this gets even more guys involved,” Plummer said.

“The bigger the number, the better chance we have to get in front of (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell and say, ‘You need to fund this.’ Not just for football players, but for the millions of others it could help.”

The Effects of CBD on the Brain    

Neurodegenerative disorders affect more than just professional football players. Progressively debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have a profound effect on both the patient and their families. Considering many of these neurodegenerative diseases share the same neurological characteristics, researchers already have started exploring CBD as a potential therapeutic agent.

CBD and Alzheimer’s Disease

Because current pharmaceuticals have proven to be inadequate for treating moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s, cannabis extracts might hold the answer. As noted in one study, cannabis extracts helped relieve some of the most difficult to manage symptoms, such as agitation and aggression. There were also improvements to delusions and emotional apathy according to The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

CBD and Parkinson’s Disease

In small preliminary trials, Parkinson’s patients who inhaled cannabis (containing both THC and CBD), reported drastically reduced tremors, rigidness, and slowness of movement. They also reported sleeping better and a reduction in overall pain. Other studies have shown that Parkinson’s patients who suffer from sleep behavior disorder, which causes both nightmares and disrupted sleep, can treat it effectively with CBD oil.

CBD and Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease causes a slow neurological decline, with symptoms such as tremors, reduced mobility, and reduced cognitive function. The available research on CBD as a valid treatment option for Huntington’s Disease is in even earlier stages than that for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Cannabidiol, as mentioned earlier, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and directly affects the function of the endocannabinoid system. The smooth functioning of this system begins to deteriorate after the onset of Huntington’s Disease. In preliminary trials, mice with Huntington’s-like symptoms were treated with CBD and their condition improved.

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