Contact sports, falls, head injuries, trauma, and motor vehicle accidents all have one thing in common: traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and/or concussions. Something that many of you may not know is how concussions occur and the negative impact they have on the brain.
A concussion can be defined as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), which can be caused by a blow to the head, a strong yet direct jolt, or a powerful bump to the head or body. This results in the brain shaking and moving quickly within the skull. Generally, concussions result in changes regarding how the brain typically functions as well as various potentially life-altering health issues. Not everyone who experiences concussions develop a traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, roughly 40-80 percent of people who endure a concussion develop post-concussion syndrome.
Background Information About Post-Concussion Syndrome
Years ago, it was found that cognitive dysfunction, losing consciousness, and certain mental conditions were linked to strong blows to one’s head. From here, the aftermath could be chronic, severe, or acute. Aside from just the direct head impact, the shaking motion that occurs from concussions could damage the brain inside the skull.
Several decades back, medical imaging was very different than what it is today, and it used to be difficult to distinguish the parts of the brain were the most affected by concussions. Nowadays though, CT scans and MRI scans of the brain can be done to properly diagnose concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
Regarding the diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome, it typically depends on variables such as if the individual has a history of concussions and/or if they experienced specific behavioral changes that were associated with and/or occurred after enduring a concussion. Once a head injury occurs, developing post-concussion syndrome is likely. Also, many of its symptoms can stick around for days, weeks, or months. One silver lining is that there are symptoms that help distinguish whether someone has post-concussion syndrome or not. Several of these symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Interruptions with sleeping patterns
- Personality changes
- Memory loss
- Increased sensitivity to sound and light
If one endures a head injury including a concussion, they normally experience at least three of the symptoms listed above. If so, this indicates a post-concussion syndrome diagnosis.
Overall, post-concussion syndrome occurs after sustained brain damage thus causing internal bleeding and swelling. Then, inflammation adds pressure to the brain, which can result in headaches and other painful symptoms. However, the shaking motion a concussion causes can change one’s brain chemistry. Currently, it’s evident that once a concussion occurs, the body’s neurotransmitters are substantially impacted. This then leads to experiencing various post-concussion syndrome symptoms. Unfortunately, though, once brain tissue is injured, it cannot be fully repaired.
Current Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment Options
Moreover, regarding the treatment of this syndrome, the main intention is alleviating its symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms last a few weeks or months. During this time, cannabis and cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD) can be very useful. Fortunately, cannabis contains numerous medicinal properties as well as therapeutic benefits thus lessening physical, mental, and psychological issues.
Besides cannabis and CBD being used as a form of treatment for post-concussion syndrome symptoms, there are other conventional treatment methods available. For example, cognitive impairments are common with post-concussion syndrome, but they can get resolved on their own with time. To help treat cognitive impairments though, one option is to undergo cognitive therapy. Certain strategies can be utilized such as taking notes, using electronic reminders/alerts, and practicing memory exercises.
Furthermore, the most common emotional and mental post-concussion syndrome symptoms are anxiety and depression. To help treat anxiety and depression, many doctors recommend drug therapies, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapies. However, numerous doctors prescribe pharmaceutical medications and physical forms of therapy to help alleviate several painful symptoms. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that these treatment methods will deliver zero side effects, nor will they be completely effective. For these reasons, more people are transitioning into alternative forms of medicine like cannabis.
Cannabis and CBD to Treat Post-Concussion Syndrome Symptoms
As mentioned above, cannabis and CBD possess numerous medically and therapeutically beneficial properties. Generally, most people with post-concussion syndrome experience headaches and pain, which cannabis can relieve because of its analgesic properties. Although some pharmaceutical medications can help relieve pain, others can make headaches worse, and several can be addictive, non-effective, and deliver side effects. Whereas, cannabis and CBD are safe, non-toxic, medically beneficial, deliver little to no side effects, and you cannot overdose from it.
Additionally, regarding post-concussion syndrome, it’s essential to be aware of the chemical damage that’s done to the brain. Fortunately, cannabis can deliver relief while lessening brain swelling, pain, and inflammation. Also, when a significant brain injury occurs, toxic chemicals are released. However, cannabis can work to clear out those toxic chemicals while protecting the brain by utilizing its neuroprotective properties.
Next, cannabis can increase the amount of blood that travels to the brain. This is especially useful since the blood brings both nutrients and oxygen to the brain thus speeding up the healing process. Cannabis can even transport toxins and other harmful byproducts away from the brain.
Then, cannabis can deliver anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties to individuals. Although cannabis isn’t a cure for post-concussion syndrome, it can significantly alleviate several unwanted symptoms while delivering very few side effects.
Optimal Cannabis Strains for Post-Concussion Syndrome Symptom Treatment
Overall, there are various cannabis strains that can help alleviate post-concussion syndrome symptoms. High CBD and low THC strains are recommended for strictly medical and therapeutic properties minus a euphoric high. However, if someone struggles with depression and/or appetite issues, higher THC strains may work better. Generally, these strains can help lessen many post-concussion syndrome symptoms: Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, Lemon Skunk, and White Widow. Then, dominantly high CBD strains include Harlequin, ACDC, and Charlotte’s Web.
In general, cannabis can help treat pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, nausea, and appetite issues, and some sources mention that it can help treat vertigo and dizziness. There are different consumption methods available besides smoking such as the following: oral consumption through edibles, sublingual consumption through tinctures applied under the tongue, transdermal application via patches, topical usage via infused lotions, creams, and oils, and vaping or vaporizing. Based on one’s reasons for cannabis usage, it’s suggested to choose a method that’ll fit their needs and wants best.
Growing Prevalence of Concussions & Post-Concussion Syndrome
After learning more about post-concussion syndrome, its symptoms, current treatment options, and the positive impact cannabis can have, it’s time to learn about the prevalence of this syndrome. According to CDC estimates, annually, in the U.S., roughly 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur. Out of all contact sports, football causes more than 60 percent of concussions in athletes. In football, brain injuries account for 65-95 percent of all deaths. Whereas, regarding boxing, roughly 87 percent of boxers have experienced concussions or brain injuries during their boxing career.
Overall, though, brain injuries result in more deaths as compared to all other sports injuries. Then, as much as 86 percent of athletes who experience concussions will likely endure post-traumatic migraines or headache pain in general. Ultimately, it’s essential to know about the risks of concussions and brain injuries to prevent post-concussion syndrome from occurring. If you’ve had a concussion before, consider consuming cannabis or CBD to help lessen your symptoms, and live the healthiest and most pain-free life you can!