Concussion and traumatic brain injury are leading causes of death and disability in Canada. They are a contributing factor in nearly 30% of all injury deaths according to the CDC in America. Many people with TBI and concussion face short term effects like headaches and dizziness, others face long term effects of chronic medical problems, attention deficit, memory, anxiety, mood disorders, depression and in the very long term dementia.
A pre-clinical study conducted at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in conjunction with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Scythian Biosciences is exploring the use of Cannabidiol and an NMDA antagonist to treat concussion and traumatic brain injury. The trial in animals has been shown to improve the cognitive function of treated animals as compared to those not treated.
Researchers believed that the combination treatment would reduce post-injury brain cell inflammation, pain, headache and other symptoms commonly associated with concussion. The findings showed that there were no adverse effects from either the combination therapy nor the individual drugs themselves.
The authors of the paper made it clear that there is more investigation required into this field. The neuroprotective properties of CBD need to be determined in order to understand how CBD can work to improve the treatment of those with mild to moderate concussion and TBI.
This study was fully funded and by Toronto based Scythian Biosciences. Rob Reid CEO said,
"We are encouraged by the initial findings of this study, which provide persuasive and encouraging evidence that warrants the continuation of this research program," said Reid. "We are just beginning to tap the potential healing power of medical cannabis and exploring its growing number of benefits."
Phase two of the trial will use human subjects and will involve administration of the compound in pill form with acute and chronic patients. There will be nine individual outcomes measured:
· Inflammatory biomarkers
· Neuroimaging studies
Researchers are hoping that if the second phase of the trial is successful that they will then be able to proceed with the third phase which would begin a full scale three-year clinical trial. Researcher say that so far the implications for the study are extraordinary crediting the large multidisciplinary team of neuroscience experts. This research could change the outcome of TBI and concussion care.