What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is described as being caused by an external force that can change the state of consciousness, causing an impairment of cognitive or physical functioning. Falls are the most common reason of sustaining such an injury, weighing in at 47% according to Brainline. Other sources include strikes, assault and traffic accidents. Professional contact sports players are at an exceptionally higher risk by the nature of the profession. While each case varies based on severity, long term effects are mood imbalances, memory loss, sensation issues in the extremities, impaired cognitive functioning, increased risk of stroke or seizure and the development of brain neurodegenerative conditions (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.).
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in its highest concentration in the hemp plant. It will not get the user high and doesn’t cause adverse reactions when used in therapeutic doses. CBD serves as fuel for the physiological system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS’s goal is to create internal balance, or homeostasis. The ECS is responsible for maintaining many aspects including sleep patterns, mood balance, pain regulation, inflammation reduction and immune function. CBD is an especially effective cannabinoid for the ECS, as it binds to both of the receptors: CB-1 and CB-2.
Cognitive Functioning and Memory
CBD is capable of improving learning abilities and memories. CBD can boost serotonin levels, which is highly involved in memory retrieval, remembering information about one’s environment (spatial memory), activating emotions associated with a memory (emotional memory) and reducing fearful memories. Acetylcholine also is increased after the utilization of CBD. It is responsible for encoding new memories, which directly effects one’s ability to learn.
Painful stinging and burning in the extremities can be caused by damaged nerves in those areas. CBD works as an analgesic (painkiller), working on the same pathways that opioid medications do. They can provide long-lasting relief, while adding anti-inflammatory properties to the benefits. CBD also works to reduce muscle spasms, which is a side effect of nerve damage.
Mood swings are commonly associated with those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. CBD powers the ECS to help create stable, balanced and improved moods. Cannabidiol is an anti-anxiolytic and anti-depressant, meaning it is able to treat anxiety and depression in the user. Serotonin comes into play again, as it regulates mood and social behavior. CBD also interacts with dopamine, which increases reward-motivated behavior and the motivation to do it.
TBI can hasten the onset of degenerative brain conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. CBD is neuroprotective, meaning it stops further damage and regenerates the brain and nervous system. As an antioxidant, CBD fights free radicals to protect cells and the development of disease. By reducing oxidative stress (imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants), fights against damage and aids in recovery. With neurodegenerative conditions, sleep disturbance and changes in mood/behavior are common. As discussed above, CBD can help improve and balance moods. Additionally, CBD works with the ECS to reestablish healthy sleep patterns which help the user get quality, restful sleep.