One of the most common head injuries is the concussion – and surprisingly it’s the one we can do the very least about. If you hit your head hard enough it can cause your brain to swell – which can cause headaches and all sorts of other neurological problems. But unfortunately there is no real medical treatment for a concussion – just rest, fluids and staying awake (or at least having someone to check on you and wake you up if you do sleep) are usually recommended. However, what if there were a medicine that would effectively reduce swelling with little to no side effects that might also be able to prevent further neurological damage?
The University of Miami’s Project to Cure Paralysis and Miller School of Medicine intend to find out exactly that – looking into CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from cannabis plants, as a treatment for concussions. CBD has already proven beneficial in studies on other neurological conditions including epilepsy and glaucoma – and now scientists are hoping to see if it’s just as successful in treating traumatic brain injuries.
“There is currently no pharmaceutical treatment for concussions,” Gilbert told Innovate LI. “When you got to the emergency room with a concussion, they basically tell you to go home and rest, and maybe give you some ibuprofen.
In order to make this study possible, a company called Scythian Biosciences has donated $16,000 – which will be dispersed over the three to five year course of the study as they conduct studies on their CBD-based medicine. The study will start off with rats, and they will study the efficacy of the medicine and any side effects experienced by the rats before moving on to a human trial program. If, by the end of this 3-5 year study, they have found sufficient evidence that their CBD-based medicine would be able to prevent further damage from concussions, then they will seek FDA approval for a clinical trial.
“We’re going to find something,” Hotz said. “I think we’re going to see a positive way before we’re going to see any negative.”
By the time these researchers are prepared to go to the FDA for approval for a clinical trial, the laws expanding the ability to research marijuana for medical conditions will likely have been in place for a while – and possibly improved upon; so they will likely see far fewer hurdles when compared to studies of any similar nature in the past. It’s exciting to see not only that research is becoming more of a possibility, even in the U.S. – but also that a single cannabinoid could be used to treat such a wide variety of medical conditions.