In 1998, researchers published the results of a study on rats that demonstrated the neuroprotective benefits of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are two of the cannabinoids found in cannabis.  Although more research is required to fully understand the neuroprotective effects of CBD, recent studies have shown that CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that are part of your body’s natural endocannabinoid system.
Although a severe TBI can be deadly or cause lifelong complications, even a mild TBI — which is commonly called a concussion — can cause symptoms that can last for days or weeks.
CBD May Offer Neuroprotective Benefits
And, CBD may also affect your glial cells, which insulate your neurons and facilitate your brain’s immune response after injury. Research shows that CBD seems to have the strongest effect on two types of glial cells: astrocytes and microglia. A 2017 animal study showed that CBD suppressed the activity and swelling caused by astrocytes;  another 2017 study showed that stimulating cannabinoid receptors in the brain suppressed inflammation caused by microglia in rats.
A 2011 study of mice found that endocannabinoid levels are elevated during and after a TBI, which suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays an important neuroprotective role. 
What is a brain injury?
Although further research is needed, some studies suggest that when CBD is used shortly before or within 12 hours of a brain injury, it may help to prevent or limit the damage that occurs after a TBI during the secondary injury cascade.
Gabi Kaplan, Student Occupational Therapist
Concussion and Cannabis: Could CBD be used following brain injury?
The future of cannabis-concussion research
… medicinal cannabis may pose as an option for treating concussion-related chronic pain, specifically headaches.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a concussion, be sure to speak to your physician or contact NCT to discuss which treatment options are best for you.
As reported in UHealth in July 2018, the “findings of a pre-clinical pilot study were recently released, and they show that the combination therapy improved the cognitive functions of animals, compared with those treated with a single vehicle. In addition, there were no adverse effects from either the combination therapy or the individual components.”
CBD products are extracted from hemp or marijuana, which are essentially the same cannabis plant but are cultivated differently, hemp plants being grown to contain less than 0.3% THC.
Please read our Cannabis Health & Safety page. There appears to be a consensus among researchers that cannabidiol is relatively benign. Consumers typically purchase CBD made from hemp, which contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Current research is pointing towards CBD serving as a neuroprotectant, possibly helping the brain heal from concussions. Findings also indicate that CBD and/or medical cannabis (marijuana) can be effective for pain management, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are common symptoms of concussions and Post-concussion Syndrome.
Dr. Hoffer began a new study in February 2020 to research if “using a pill form of cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychedelic drug psilocybin effectively treats and possibly prevents symptoms of two conditions that commonly occur together: mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” “Up to 40% of people impacted by mTBI [or TBI] also suffer from PTSD,” according to a University of Miami press release.
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In Australia, the medical cannabis company Impression Healthcare began a new clinical trial in mid-2020 to access its new cannabinoid formula IHL-216A on “its ability to protect the brain against the main injury mechanisms which cause cell death and other negative consequences in the days and weeks following head trauma.” Impression will test IHL-216A with in-human and animal trials.
In Canada, a new study led by NEEKA Health Canada will “test if CBD-based therapies can reduce the severity of post-concussion brain disorders in former NHL players.” The National Hockey League Alumni Association and Canopy Growth Corp. (a cannabis and hemp company) are partnering with NEEKA for the clinical research; approximately 100 former players will be enrolled in the randomized, double-blind study. Researchers hope to finish the study by the end of 2020 according to an article in Green Entrepreneur.