January is National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month. Many winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, and even sledding can be high risk for head injuries. Too often these injuries turn out to be severe or, sometimes, fatal.
Between 4 million and 6 million Americans are on disability because of TBI.
Traumatic brain injury is a disturbance in healthy brain functioning caused by a jolt or blow to the head. Someone who has experienced a mild concussion may undergo vision problems, headaches, cognitive disturbance, nausea, and mood swings. In a best-case scenario, these symptoms will resolve within a few weeks with no permanent damage to the brain. Severe head injuries, often associated with a longer duration of unconsciousness, can result in permanent emotional and cognitive disturbances, personality changes, and other lasting physical effects. Even moderate cases of TBI can result in post-traumatic seizures, refractory cognitive deficits, and lower life expectancy.
Treatments for TBI
Treatments for TBI are limited with few adequate prescription options available. Surgical intervention is an emergency, life-saving measure. Research is being done to verify the benefits CBD might have to treat TBI. CBD has been found to work as a neuroprotectant to the brain after head injury and helps diminish neurological damage following injury. Research by American Surgeon studied how cannabis can be used to help treat people who suffered a traumatic brain injury.
By regulating the actions of such ECS-related endogenous cannabinoids, subjects suffering with brain injury may be able to heal quicker and more efficiently than those who do not add CBD to their treatment regimen.
Another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology linked cannabinoids to a notable decrease in cell death in the brain after a traumatic head injury. In response to head trauma, the endocannabinoid system is activated and springs into action as a self-protective tactic. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are activated to protect the brain against traumatic impact to the head.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis are able to activate these same receptors with similar effects to those of the natural endocannabinoid system in the body that help to protect and heal the brain following trauma.