CBD and Concussions
Reading Time: 6 minutes
With the growing fascination of traditional medicine over pharmaceuticals, it’s no wonder that CBD has become a household name and many people can name at least a few of the benefits. Most of the commonly known benefits that CBD offers are reducing anxiety, combating sleep disorders, and alleviating chronic pain, however other benefits are lesser known. Much of this has to do with the fact that CBD as a field of study is still new and many clinical trials are still underway to determine the full scope of its effects on the human body, as well as its efficacy in dealing with a multitude of ailments. One of these questions is whether CBD has the capability to treat concussion-like symptoms. What we do know is that hemp-derived CBD, specifically, promotes healthy living and has been shown (anecdotally) to help people benefit from a plethora of mind and body issues, including common symptoms of concussions. Keep scrolling to read more about topicals, edibles, and CBD oil for concussions.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that impacts brain functions. The effects of a concussion are usually temporary and fade over time, which are typically caused by a blow to the head. However, violent shaking of the head and upper body can also cause concussions (especially in infants). Immediately after the impact event, some concussions may cause you to lose consciousness, though this is not always the case. In fact, many people who become concussed do not recognize it immediately. The most common cause of concussions is usually falling. Unsurprisingly, they are also very common in contact sports. Thankfully, most people make a full recovery after suffering a concussion.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle or difficult to identify; they may also not become obvious immediately. Once they appear, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer depending on the severity of the concussion. Some of the most common symptoms after a concussion are headaches, loss of memory or amnesia, and confusion. This form of amnesia typically involves forgetting the event that caused the concussion. Additional physical symptoms of concussions include ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or blurred vision. You may be able to spot a concussed person if you notice signs like temporary loss of consciousness (though this is rare), slurred speech, delayed response to questions, dazed appearance, or forgetfulness.
What is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a term used to describe a brain degeneration that is likely caused by repeated head traumas. CTE is a diagnosis that is only made during an autopsy by studying sections of the brain. CTE is not well understood, and experts are still trying to figure out how repeated head traumas cause CTE, including how many head injuries and the severity of those injuries eventually lead to CTE. This degenerative issue is most often found in the brains of those who played high impact contact sports. It can also occur in military personnel who were present during explosive blasts. Some of the signs and symptoms of CTE include difficulty thinking and dealing with emotions, among others. Currently, there is no cure for CTE. Though it is difficult to link specific symptoms to CTE, because it is not well understood, there are certain behavioural changes that have been marked as possible signs of CTE. These include impulsive behaviour, aggression, depression or apathy, substance misuse, suicidal ideation, and overall emotional instability.
What are traditional treatments for recovery?
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan depending on your symptoms. However, in order to diagnose a concussion, they will typically review your medical history and perform or recommend a neurological exam, cognitive testing, and/or image tests. The neurological exam will check your vision, hearing, strength and sensation, balance, coordination, and reflexes. The cognitive test will evaluate your memory, concentration, and ability to recall information. The image tests may be recommended for people whose symptoms are more severe and involve bad headaches, seizures, repeated vomiting, or the recognition that symptoms are worsening. A cranial computerized tomography (CT scan) is the standard test in adults to assess the brain after an injury. Doctors may also recommend that you stay overnight for observation after a concussion.
After a concussion, there are steps you can take to promote a speedy recovery. The most important step is physical and mental rest (or relative rest), which is limiting activities that require thinking or concentration. As symptoms improve your doctor will recommend that you gradually return to routine activity. This may include thinking activities such as schoolwork or work assignments. Your doctor will tell you when it’s safe to resume physical activity. Typically, this will occur a few days after the injury. You will be allowed to return to light physical activity like biking or jogging. Eventually, when all your symptoms have disappeared, your doctor will discuss with you how to safely return to all physical activities, such as playing sports. Finally, the last method of treatment is pain relief. To manage pain, doctors will often recommend acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). Other kinds of pain relievers such as ibuprofen (like Advil) and aspirin may be harmful as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
As for CTE, there are currently no treatments once it occurs and, as previously mentioned, it cannot be accurately diagnosed before death, though it may be suspected in people who are at high risk due to repeated head trauma. However, CTE can generally be prevented as it is most commonly associated with repeated concussions.
How can CBD help with concussion recovery?
So, can you take CBD for CTE prevention and help treat concussions? Researchers have found that CBD has the ability to improve recovery after a concussion. There are studies that have demonstrated CBD’s therapeutic benefits and efficacy in treating neurodegenerative disorders and other disruptions in the brain. For instance, there is a study that found a link between the use of CBD and the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease. Such research provides a framework to help guide us on how to treat concussion symptoms as well.
How can CBD treat concussion symptoms?
Doctors have concluded that post-concussion syndrome is marked by structural damage to the brain that disrupts the messaging system between the nerves and the brain. CBD has the ability to improve those conditions, especially the disconnection in the nerves that impacts speech and messaging. When ingested, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS connects to nerve receptors throughout the body. Injuries like concussions disrupt those nerves and increase sensitivity. This transmits signals of pain to the brain. CBD blocks those receptors from sending pain signals to the brain. Instead, it encourages the body to remain in a state of homeostasis.
Apart from promoting homeostasis, CBD can also help relieve pain more immediately through topical application. Applying CBD in the form of balms, salves, or creams can help target specific problem areas. Additionally, it can be ingested in the form of oils or edibles.
What are the benefits of CBD over traditional treatments?
Much like the overuse of over-the-counter medications, repeated use of Tylenol can have a negative effect on your organs. Also, as previously mentioned, other medications can pose a risk of internal bleeding. As such, many people opt for a more natural approach to pain treatment. Alternative forms of medicine like CBD are produced naturally and therefore do not contain artificial and foreign elements to the body. Furthermore, taking the natural route will prevent harmful side effects that are often attributed to traditional medications.
How much CBD should I use for the concussion symptoms I want to treat?
The amount of CBD you should take will depend on many different variables. There is certainly general dosing information available, but because the severity of concussions can vary and may worsen over time, it is imperative that you seek the counsel of a trained medical professional before you undertake any treatment plan. If CBD is right for you, your doctor can help you determine an appropriate dosage as well as the frequency with which to consume it.
DISCLAIMER: Information and products presented by resolveCBD are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. Always consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs. Products are intended to be used as directed, by individuals who are 19 years of age or older.