There’s no escaping the presence of concussions, head injuries and trauma to the brain in the news today – professional athletes are suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), thrill-seekers are incurring brain injuries, and even children are falling victim to multiple concussions at a very early age. The negative effects from concussions and head injuries are quickly becoming an epidemic. There is no shortage of research into this kind of trauma to the brain, but prevention and treatment needs to catch up to the sheer number of head injuries before it gets any worse.
If you’ve ever suffered a concussion, or someone you love has experienced head trauma, what kinds of treatments did you turn to for relief? Were you even aware that you were concussed at the time? Did you consider how to prevent, or take steps to limit the instance of a similar head injury? The threat of concussions looms around every corner, especially if you’ve already suffered from one or multiple head injuries. Once you’ve been concussed, each successive occurrence of head trauma can escalate the damages to your brain, and potentially leading to some very debilitating conditions like sporadic loss of consciousness, migraines and vertigo.
A common sports mantra is: the best defense is a good offense. Society needs to be proactive in its education about head injuries and how we prevent them from happening. What can you do to limit the frequency and severity of concussions and head injuries? A growing number of people are taking steps to protect themselves from the dangers of CTE and other long-term conditions that can develop from head trauma. Obviously, the best preventative is to not take part in any kind of activity that might result in serious head injury – contact sports, extreme sports, martial arts, etc – but these are a big part of many peoples’ lives, so just quitting physical activities is not an option for most people.
Even if you do everything in your power to limit the chances of head injuries, concussions can just happen. You can trip on the sidewalk, something can fall on you from above, or vehicle accidents can come out of nowhere, all of which can cause severe head trauma. There’s no shortage of dangers in everyday life, and even some careers like police officers, firefighters, military service and rescue operators run the risk of serious head injuries while performing their services to society. So, if concussions can strike at any time – whether you’re at work, or at play – then what can you do to protect yourself and those you care about?
CBD for concussions and head injuries is quickly becoming a go-to treatment and preventative remedy for good mental & physical health. Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp, has gained notoriety for its wealth of positive effects on human and animal health, including relief from pain & inflammation, anxiety, depression, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues. CBD and concussions have been on a collision course since Cannabidiol was legalized in the U.S. in December 2018 (Farm Bill). CBD has helped many people overcome many health conditions and prevent many injuries, so naturally many medical & fitness professionals have looked to this unique plant compound for aid against concussions and head injuries.
What does science say about CBD concussion treatment? Who is using CBD hemp oil for concussions? There is a lot of attention being paid to CBD and concussions, so let’s review the current landscape for CBD oil & concussions to determine where we are, and where we’re going in the fight against head trauma.
BRACE FOR IMPACT: How Concussions Affect Neurological Health
Concussions and head trauma are a major part of professional sports and some physically demanding careers, but they can happen to anyone. Concussions are a kind of TBI (traumatic brain injury) situated on the milder side of the spectrum, nevertheless they can have very serious effects on your neurological health. The major risks of concussions are damage to the brain and negatively affecting how it functions – typically brought about by multiple concussions, or impacts, to the brain and spinal cord. Concussion symptoms are typically caused by shaking of the brain inside the skull. The liquid that surrounds our brains, referred to as the cerebrospinal fluid, acts as a cushion to our many movements and actions. When you experience forceful collisions, specifically ones that target the head directly, your brain can make violent contact with the inside of your skull, temporarily causing swelling, pain, disorientation and even nausea. Repeated, forceful impacts to the head can cause lasting structural damages to the brain, which can have detrimental effects on motor skills, behavior, moods and cognition.
CTE is one of the most concerning conditions brought on by multiple head injuries, and it is thought to be the root cause for many lost lives of ex-professional athletes. CTE is often linked to severe bouts of depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and destructive behaviors. Although there is a lot of attention devoted to studying CTE and efforts to spread awareness, some of the professional sports leagues like the NFL and NHL haven’t done enough to address this potentially fatal condition. This has created a lot of animosity amongst former players and fans-alike, and there doesn’t seem to be much developments in terms of sweeping changes to how these sports are played. CTE was first discovered in boxers in the early 1900’s, but in over century of study there still remains a disconnect between sports authorities and the causes-and-effects of concussions. Many players associations have taken it into their own hands to protect their heads and working hard to ensure they’re not falling victim to serious conditions like CTE.
There’s no end to the examples of typical concussions in professional sports, like helmet-on-helmet collisions in Football, checks to the head in Hockey, punches or kicks to the face/head in MMA, or violent crashes on the racetracks of NASCAR or Indy 500. In a recent study conducted by Boston University, it was reported that almost 90% of athletes in professional football showed signs of neurodegenerative diseases, such as the onset of CTE. Unfortunately, young athletes are not immune to the damaging effects of concussions and head trauma either. Some teenage athletes in junior hockey leagues, mixed martial arts or highschool football programs have shown the early symptoms of CTE. Just repeated contact to the head, even when it does not result in a diagnosed concussion, can still result in CTE in youth and adults.
On the other side of the coin, head injuries are not unique to the pros – a lot of people who lead active lifestyles can run into concussion problems from slips, falls, crashes or everyday contact. On top of being very common, one of the biggest issues with concussions is how easily they can go undetected. There is a lot more attention given to identifying head trauma, and monitoring how the impacted person is feeling and behaving in order to detect the symptoms of concussions. Nonetheless, concussions are still missed by medical and fitness professionals alike, so it’s no wonder that the general public can often suffer multiple head injuries before their symptoms become so severe that they seek treatment. How can you detect a concussion? The major symptoms are not always noticeable, but usually manifest in the following ways:
- Chronic headaches, migraines
- Disorientation, forgetfulness, amnesia
- Nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite
- Ringing in the ears, sensitivity to loud noises
- Blinking rapidly, light sensitivity
- Slurred speech, losing train of thought
- Lethargy, fatigue
- Bad moods, depression, irritability
Whenever a person has a hard fall, crash or impact of any kind, it is important to look out for these symptoms right away as well as hours/days after the incident – concussion symptoms can manifest immediately but can also show up much later. It is crucial to remember that the effects of concussions can be short-term, but also long lasting. CTE is a progressive disease, and it can take hold of a person’s brain over a great length of time, so continuous monitoring and protecting oneself from repeated head injuries is essential to avoiding the serious symptoms of depression, seizures, extreme emotional swings and potential for fatality.
CBD CONCUSSION TREATMENT: How This Hemp Compound Can Help You Fight Back Against Concussions
As mentioned earlier, CBD and concussions are being linked due to this plant compound’s profound ability to support our mental and physical health, with no known side effects. CBD has been shown to be a very potent remedy for many ailments, such as pain, inflammation, anxiety and nausea. Cannabidiol is typically thought to help with concussions by reducing the swelling in the brain, or blocking pain signals from reaching receptors, allowing your mind & body to devote more energy to healing the affected areas.
However, some recent studies in the neurological sciences have determined that CBD also shows promise as a neuroprotective remedy. How does CBD protect your brain from the damaging effects of concussions? As some of you may know, how cannabinoids like THC or CBD impact our bodies is through a complex network of nerves and transmitters, known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is like a radio tower, receiving signals from cannabinoids and sending out messages throughout the body. When you consume CBD hemp oil for concussions, your ECS – which is connected throughout your immune system, brain, musculature and nervous system – interacts with the cannabinoid molecules through two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. Through these interactions, endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-Ag (2-Arachidonoylglycerol) can bind to receptors. 2-Ag is particularly relevant to concussions because it has some well-known neuroprotective effects. 2-Ag has been linked to immune-functionality, pain management, and the ability to reduce swelling and seizures in the brain. By effecting this chemical interaction, CBD can promote balance in your brain chemistry in addition to reducing swelling or easing trauma to the brain.
CBD also works to reduce toxic glutamates from building up in your brain chemistry. Glutamates are neurotransmitters that are usually positively linked to cognitive functions and memories. However, when your brain experiences physical trauma, it can create an imbalanced amount of glutamates, resulting in increased production of free radicals and inflammatory compounds. This in turn causes fluctuations in blood flow around the brain, affects our brain tissue and can effectively “stall” your brain. With CBD oil for concussions, the cannabinoids work to reduce the instances of inflammation around your brain, but they also cut down on glutamate toxicity, thereby easing the trauma to your brain tissue.
Cannabis and hemp are undergoing a lot of research, but only hemp and CBD derived from it is currently considered legal in the United States. For this reason, in addition to the decision made by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) in 2019 to approve CBD for professional athletes, many sports people and active individuals are turning to cbd hemp oil for concussions. CBD concussion treatments are quickly gaining popularity among the world’s top athletes, but it’s also making its way into gyms, hockey rinks, soccer practices and everywhere physical activity comes with the risks of concussions or head injuries.
CBD oil for concussions and head trauma can be the safe, effective and consistent remedy you need to reduce the frequency and severity of head injuries. Cannabidiol has a multitude of other benefits for your health & fitness, but when it comes to head injuries there’s nothing more serious and debilitating. Without mental health and stable brain function, nothing else in our bodies can operate properly – our minds are the engines that drive everything we do, but mental health is often the last thing we focus on in our pursuits of personal and professional excellence. Make sure you’re supporting your mental health, and combat the detrimental effects of head trauma with CBD for concussions. After all, if you maintain a healthy mind your body will follow, leading you to personal achievement and lifelong wellbeing.