Scientists study cannabis to fight Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Football has been identified as a dangerous sport that can cause serious neurological injuries from repeated hits, even with the use of helmets. One disease that has become prevalent among football players, according to some studies, is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and scientists are now hoping study whether or not cannabis can be used to treat its symptoms.
According to a report by the New York Times, neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee had studied 111 brains of NFL players and found that all but one had suffered from CTE. This finding was an impetus for the study of the disease, which causes mood swings, aggression, dementia, confusion and depression. In some cases, CTE can cause the victim to have thoughts of suicide, which is what is believed to have happened when Junior Seau took his own life in 2012.
A professor of neurology at Boston University, Jesse Mez, believes that CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head. Unfortunately, the disease can only be identified post-mortem. However, scientists are confident that cannabis can be used as a viable treatment, even in the absence of CTE indications. Studies performed on mice with head trauma found that the endocannabinoids in their systems helped to increase blood flow and blood circulation in the brain, leading to healthier tissue growth and a reduction in brain damage.
Another study, published in 2014 in The American Surgeon, showed that there were lower mortality levels for brain injury patients who had tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Without a clear picture on being able to diagnose CTE, and indications that cannabis could stimulate healthier brain growth, it seems to be a logical conclusion that it’s time to consider cannabis as a better safety helmet for the NFL.