Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease caused by repeated injuries to the head, like concussions. CTE damages nerve axons and therefore affect cell-to-cell communication, and results in brain atrophy. This disease is especially common in athletes who compete in contact sports. The symptoms associated with CTE are delayed, and they aren't noticeable until about 8-10 years after the injuries and the onset of the disease. These symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, depression, aggression, and sometimes dementia. While changes in the brain can be observed through brain imaging, someone cannot be diagnosed with CTE until after death when an autopsy is done.
There is not a lot of clinical research surrounding the use of cannabis for CTE, but one cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp, CBD, is known to reduce oxidative stress that occurs after a traumatic brain injury. In addition, CBD has neuroprotective properties allowing it to reduce swelling and neurological impairment, reducing brain damage and supporting the recovery process. One plant-based pharmaceutical company, KannaLife Sciences, Inc. is even developing a compound based on cannabinoids specifically for the treatment of CTE, and they're researching its ability to not only act as a therapy but also as a preventative for CTE and hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
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