5th October 2021
By Emily Ledger
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A recent study has found that the common cannabis derivative CBD may be useful in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) – a condition that can result from severe head trauma.

TBIs are common among car accident victims, athletes, and soldiers, but also occur in cases where a person experiences significant trauma to the head. They include mild forms such as concussion to more serious cases which may result in more severe and long-lasting side effects.

There is currently no universally effective treatment for TBIs, however, the results of a recent study suggest that CBD could be beneficial in some cases. Researchers found that test subjects with TBI experiences improvements in their symptoms when given CBD.

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been found to have promising potential in a range of areas, from helping to reduce stress anxiety to lessening the frequency and severity of seizures in patients with epilepsy.

Now, researchers from the Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy and New York Medical College have reported on their findings that the cannabinoid can help to improve memory and other cognitive functions affected by TBI. The results of the study were published in the journal Experimental Neurology.

Methods and results of the study

The researchers hypothesised that “administration of cannabidiol (CBD) directly to a brain contusion site, will optimize delivery to the injured tissue which will reduce local neural excitation and inflammation to spare neural tissue and improve neurological outcome following TBI.”

According to the researchers and authors of the study, the results supported this hypothesis.

For the study, researchers administered a CBD-infused gelfoam matrix (forming an implant [CBDi]) over the dura at the contusion site, as well as systemically by injection to rodent subjects with TBI.

The results showed that CBD administration was associated with various improvements, including in vestibulomotor function (which aids with balance, stabilisation, and posture) and learning and memory cognitive performance.

The delivery of CBD was also associated with a reduced volume of TBI-induced lesions and fewer impacts of injuries to the hippocampus.

Commenting on these findings and others in the same area, the Concussion Alliance commented, “current research is pointing towards CBD serving as a neuroprotectant, possibly helping the brain heal from concussions.

“Findings also indicate that CBD and/or medical cannabis (marijuana) can be effective for pain management, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are common symptoms of concussions and Post-concussion Syndrome.”

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