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Around 50,000 people die every year in the United States alone from head injuries. Nearly 1 million people every year are admitted to the hospital with severe head injuries. Improvements in health and safety legislation for safer workplaces have reduced the number of head injuries per capita.
Recent advances in treating head injuries have improved long term survival and recovery rates. Head injury is one of the leading causes of disabilities in the Western world, with around 2% of Americans having a disability that resulted from a brain injury. Recognising the symptoms of a concussion could literally be the difference between life and death for some people.
You should go to hospital immediately if you have had a blow to the head experience any of the following:
A strong headache that persists, for days or weeks is a sign of brain damage and should be investigated by doctors in a hospital.
All concussions are serious. Concussions are the symptoms of your brain being damaged and trying to heal itself. The brain is a remarkably resilient organ and usually heals itself very effectively. Nearly everyone has had a strong hit to the head at some time in their lives and most people never notice any symptoms. Even if the blow to the head does not appear life threatening, it is prudent to keep an eye on them for any of the above symptoms of a concussion.
One of the most concerning findings in recent years has been the high prevalence of early-onset dementia in soldiers and sports players. Repeated concussions, like those suffered in war and from serious sports injury, have been studied extensively.
The concussions were found to cause lasting damage that can manifests itself as early-onset dementia. A condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been discovered in 99% of professional American football players in one sample. CTE leads to:
Studies into cannabinoids and neurological inflammation have found that cannabinoids (particularly THC and CBD) have neuroprotective effects. CTE appears to be a condition that is caused or exacerbated by chronic inflammation. Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease are similarly related to inflammation. Preliminary evidence suggests that CBD can protect against the damage done by inflammation in neurons.
Exactly how it does this is not understood, but it is known that the two major endocannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 are activated and regulated by cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant. They interact with our endocannabinoid system altering how our receptors work with the rest of the body.
Cannabis looks like it could be a good neuroprotective drug, and it is possible that in the future it will (or some variant or extract will) be administered to people who have suffered from concussions. There is insufficient evidence to popularize it as a treatment for post-concussion syndrome.
Cannabis is a relatively tolerable and safe drug. CBD is not psychoactive or addictive. For people who are at risk of head injuries as a part of their job, it could be helpful to use cannabis products as a preventative measure.
There is not enough scientific evidence to prove CBD will lessen the risk of serious brain injury. The long-term safety profile of cannabis is relatively good. When compared with early onset dementia, any possible treatment looks like a relatively good option.