Cannabis ‘Concussion Pill’ has “Enormous Potential,” Study Shows

Scientists in Miami are developing a “concussion pill” using cannabis that has so far shown great potential for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

A combination of the hemp-derived cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), and an NMDA amino acid anesthetic has been shown to improve cognitive function in a pre-clinical study of rodents with traumatic brain injuries compared with the individual ingredients.

The project is a collaborative effort between the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and Scythian Biosciences Corp. of Toronto.

Scythian’s Jonathan Gilbert, who manages the University of Miami partnership, boasted:

“The results were statistically significant and encouraging. This evidence strongly suggests further testing is warranted on medical cannabis’ potential in the treatment of trauma to the brain.”

Gilbert believes the pill:

“may someday be mandatory equipment on the sidelines of every football, baseball, and soccer game, from youth leagues to professional organizations, ready to protect people of all ages from the brain’s immediate inflammatory response to trauma.”

He further believes the medicine could be used in emergency rooms and ambulances to help first responders “administer it to patients within the ‘golden hour’ after an injury,” which he called “a critical window of opportunity.”

Neither the combination of CBD and the amino acid nor the individual components caused adverse effects in the rodents.

CBD can be derived from the cannabis plant or the hemp plant. Unlike the psychoactive cannabinoid known as THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it won’t get you high. Research suggests CBD is useful for the treatment of everything from chronic pain to hard-to-treat forms of severe epilepsy. [2]

Read: Cannabis Compound Restores Memory and Cognitive Capacity, Even at “Ultra-Low” Doses

In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first cannabis-based drug, Epidiolex, for the treatment of 2 types of childhood epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. [3]

NMDA is a type of neurotransmitter similar to the chemical glutamate, which is found in almost all of the brain and nervous system’s connecting synapses. [2]

CBD for TBI and More

For the 2nd phase of the study, the scientists will likely administer the compounds in pill form to a control group and 2 groups of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients – acute and chronic. [1]

The 3rd phase will be a full-scale clinical trial conducted over 3 years if the treatment proves to be safe and effective. The team said it plans to study the effectiveness of the compounds in the treatment of other types of injuries.

If all goes well, the FDA would then evaluate the drug’s therapeutic efficacy in treating TBI and concussion of varying levels of severity.

In the short term, concussions can cause headaches and dizziness. Concussions were once considered “no big deal” in the medical community, but doctors and scientists now know that a concussion increases the risk of longer-term chronic medical problems, including difficulties with attention, memory, anxiety, depression, and dementia.

Survey: Most Parents Following Outdated Advice for Concussions

In a news release, Dr. Gillian A. Hotz, professor of neurological surgery, and director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center at The Miami Project and the UM Sports Medicine Institute concussion program, said:

“One thing has eluded us – a clinically proven medication to treat concussion. Whether or not this study leads to a pill that could treat concussion, this type of research will pave the way for UM and other researchers to better manage concussion. It’s a privilege to help lead this journey.”

Gilbert said the university believes the medication will be produced in pill form, but the school is:

“open to any type of delivery method – a strip, ingestion through the nose, intavenous uptake, etc. Though we don’t have confirmation on the treatment’s delivery method, we are working under the assumption that it is going to be a pill.”

TBI plays a role in about 30% of all injury-related deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Injuries at least partly related to TBI kill an average of 153 Americans every day. [2]


[1] UPI

[2] Inquisitr

[3] CNN

Marijuana Could be a Viable Treatment for Migraines for Many

Yet another study shows the natural healing power of marijuana, and it could give hope to the millions of people who suffer from chronic migraines.

Risks of Migraine Medications

Migraines aren’t just agonizing, they can also be terrifying. That throbbing, crippling pain in your head make some people pass out, and could even increase your risk of stroke, for one thing.

In my early 20’s I had severe migraines on an almost daily basis. Now in my mid-30s, they are few and far between (thank goodness). When I do get one, all I want to do is lock myself in a dark room. Doing anything else makes me incredibly nauseous.

A decade ago, I got rid of my migraines by popping a medication called Zomig. It worked…but it’s not always the best option, especially if you’re on other medications.

Zomig is part of a class of drugs called triptans. Another popular triptan migraine drug you may have heard of is Imitrex. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in 2006 about a potentially life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome that can be caused by taking triptans and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Just one of many risks.

Serotonin syndrome causes a wide variety of symptoms, including confusion, agitation, mania, hallucinations, headache, coma, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, diarrhea, racing heartbeat, fever, tremor, muscle twitching, shivering, and overactive reflexes.

If left untreated, serotonin syndrome can actually lead to seizures and even death. If you have no idea it exists, you’re less likely to seek help for it, and more likely to think you just have some strange flu.

What The Study Says

That’s why this study is so exciting. More than 120 people diagnosed with migraines who were treated with medical marijuana between January 2010 and September 2014 saw their number of headaches fall from just over 10 to less than 5 per month.

Senior author Laura Borgelt, a professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, called it “a substantial improvement.”

Edible marijuana seemed to work best for migraine prevention, while inhaled marijuana seemed to be the most effective at treating migraines.

For years migraine sufferers have claimed marijuana eased their pain, but this is the first study to substantiate their claims. As with all first-time studies, more research is needed. Clinical trials are unlikely at this point, sadly, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Let’s hope that changes really soon.

Even without the clinical trials, medical marijuana could be a viable option for migraine patients in the 23 states where it’s legal, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington.

Some got better, others got worse.

But researchers say marijuana won’t work for everyone’s migraines. Fifteen study participants experienced no change in their number of headaches, and 3 people said weed made their migraines worse.

The study’s senior author Laura Borgelt, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., said:

“There was a substantial improvement for patients in their ability to function and feel better. Like any drug, marijuana has potential benefits and potential risks. It’s important for people to be aware that using medical marijuana can also have adverse effects.”

Scientists aren’t sure why marijuana works to prevent and treat migraines (not that it would likely matter to people who get relief from it). What we know is that there are cannabinoid receptors all through the body, including connective tissues and immune system.

These receptors seem to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Cannabinoids also seem to affect critical neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and serotonin is believed to play a major role in migraine headaches, according to Borgelt.

Overall, the study concluded with:

“The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use. Prospective studies should be conducted to explore a cause-and-effect relationship and the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana to better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment and prophylaxis.”

The study is published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.


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