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Cannabidiol helps CTE in pro football.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl! What a historically great game…for those of us who can remember it. We all hope that the great athletes who lay life and limb on the line for a moment that cements them in the history books do not suffer neurological disorders that cement their cognitive functions.

The NFL Players Association held the Pro Bowl Health Symposium at the University of Central Florida with speakers ranging from medical practitioner and former Miami Dolphin Dr. Archie Roberts to neuropsychologist Anthony LoGalbo, Ph.D. The very informative affair provided the most up-to-date data on the concussion crisis, even providing preventive suggestions such as taking creatine and beta alanine supplements. However, despite the medical marijuana stand out front, CBD (cannabidiol) was not mentioned. Many studies suggest including CBD pills and other CBD products routinely in the diet can lead to a lower chance of CTE diagnosis.

Repeated head traumas like concussions take the form of a degenerative disease of the brain called CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). The occurrence of concussions is continuously on the rise in sports like football, ice hockey, and soccer. Various reports have suggested a growing number of retired NFL players who suffered concussions have developed cognitive and memory issues such as depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, a significant percentage of deceased NFL players who had donated their organs for research had the signs of CTE. The studies show that the use of helmets alone cannot prevent the occurrence of concussions. The loss of consciousness does not always follow concussions.

Recently, some pieces of evidence suggest that the cannabis compound CBD has the potential to protect brain cells and aid the recovery of the damaged cells. Cannabis harbors more than 113 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Among them, the two well-known compounds that top the list are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Although belonging to the same community of compounds, these cannabinoids alter the mind distinctly, owing to their different mode of interaction with the brain.

On the one hand, THC is known for the famous “cannabis high” whereas CBD is valued for its non-psychoactive medical benefits. CBD is found in significant quantities throughout the seeds, stalk, and flowers of cannabis plants and can be easily extracted from the plant as cannabis oil.

Recently, CBD oil has become increasingly popular among athletes who are looking for a natural, nontoxic alternative to powerful medications and over-the-counter drugs. Anti-anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are all side effects of CTE. CBD exhibits neuroprotective effects at specific concentrations. The studies have revealed that it helps preserve brain matter, which implies that cannabidiol can limit the amount of brain tissue loss after a traumatic brain injury.

According to a research conducted at the University of Miami, CBD disrupts a specific neurotransmitter reaction after a concussion, posing a neuroprotective effect.

Another study confirmed the neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol upon its administration after hypoxia-ischemia. Researchers found that the brain damage was reduced and extracerebral benefits were also associated. Moreover, CBD administration was further related to cardiac, hemodynamic, and ventilatory beneficial effects. Its prominent use to treat epilepsy and many disorders that include neurodegeneration and neuronal injury explicitly showcases its protective benefits for the brain.

A research study conducted in 2015 in the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Boston University revealed that among the brains of 91 former NFL players, 96 percent showed signs of CTE. Many players suffering the debilitating mental effects of CTE are reported to commit suicide. Although this study has arguably been skewed, the fact remains there is a prevalent concern that CBD can surely be an effective alternative to the painkillers, opioids, and anti-inflammatory medications many athletes become addicted to due to—some might say—medical malpractice by team doctors not just in the NFL, but also in high school and college.

In 2011, a study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis observed that 37 percent of retired NFL players used opiates during their career, while 63 percent of them reported the use of other painkillers.

CBD can be used to merely supplement the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which assists the body in achieving homeostasis (balance). The benefits of CBD are not only limited to competitive athletes. Amateur athletes and anyone just working out can also take advantage of analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and balancing properties of CBD.

CBD can also be added as part of your daily run, tennis match, a round of golf, or a pick-up game of basketball. Whether you like to participate in sports or train your body, the benefits of CBD can be used by athletes everywhere. Due to the natural wonders of CBD, it is indeed the natural choice for anyone in search of a safe alternative to prescription medicine and concussion prevention.