The NFL’s ongoing battle with concussions and the mysterious CTE has proved to be a trying one, but there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. As research continues, several options have emerged for a miracle “concussion pill”, that would be used to treat degenerative brain disease that is so prevalent throughout the league. And there’s a solid chance that the NFL’s new concussion pill could be filled with CBD.
Concussion Pill Options
Although the search for a concussion pill is merely in the “mouse model” phase, significant strides have been made by researchers. Dr. William Korinek, the CEO of Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals, believes such a pill can arrive as early as 2025. Dr. Kun Ping Lu, a doctor researching a possible medication to destroy compounds that cause brain damage, has a slightly-less optimistic time frame. He believes a possible pill could arrive within the next ten years.
Korinek’s in the process of creating a medication that focuses on treating concussions within a half-hour after their concussions are sustained. This requires a sure-fire way to diagnose concussions, which is also still under review. The focus of his medication is the usage of astrocyte cells, which can act as a “caretaker cell” for damaged cells in the brain.
Dr. Lu’s research deals with proteins in the brain. He was able to uncover a toxic form of the P-tau protein in the human brain. “Think of it like the police,” Dr. Lu explained. “The toxic proteins are the bad guys. The antibody can arrest them and not allow them to do damage to the brain.”
Former NFL player and current analyst Jamie Dukes and neurologist Dr. Kevin Jackson have been developing their own treatment dubbed Pro-IV. Essentially, it is a cocktail of substances that replenish the micro nutrients that are depleted after a head injury. Pro-IV is currently available through an intravenous, but Dr. Jackson plans on hopefully introducing the medication through a patch or nasal spray.
However, the most intriguing option could be cannabis-related.
CBD Concussion Pill Miracle?
Amongst other options, the NFL’s new concussion pill could be filled with CBD. Last October, The University of Miami was given a $16 Million grant to research the combination of CBD with an anesthetic in an effort to develop a treatment for brain trauma and concussions.
The study is expected to last five years, and as of now, there haven’t been significant findings in their experiments. Although, there are certainly believers in the NFL community that cannabis will make a significant impact on players’ lives. Nate Jackson, a former NFL player for six seasons, is an advocate for cannabis in pain treatment. However, he doesn’t just merely use CBD oil, he prefers the entire plant. “When I say cannabis, I mean the whole entire plant,” Jackson said. “Cannabis, marijuana, weed: It’s all the same plant.”
CBD itself has been proven to have several neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory elements, but THC hasn’t yet proven to have such qualities. However, Jackson believes THC could have a role as a painkiller. ” We’re learning that feeling might be helping to heal your body” Jackson noted. Studies in the past have also shown THC can reverse aging in the brain.
In addition to the miracle concussion pill, Miami researchers are looking into goggles that are capable of effectively diagnosing concussions, something that has proved to be difficult thus far. Dr. Hoffer, who has been working on both the pill and the goggles, believe the two projects go hand in hand. “The pill can’t be effective for concussions if you can’t diagnose one,” Hoffer explained.
Final Hit: NFL’s New Concussion Pill Could Be Filled With CBD
Despite its traditionally taboo-status in NFL circles, cannabis is clearly proving to be a useful tool in the NFL’s concussion epidemic. While it’s current status as a Schedule-1 narcotic has somewhat hindered research, it is beginning to make headway as a prospective tool for degenerative brain disease.
Nate Jackson is just one of a laundry list of former NFL players who have advocated for cannabis in pro football. Recently, former Patriots’ offensive tackle echoed similar sentiments. He claimed weed would be a “godsend” for NFL players, current and former.
As both a painkiller and concussion treatment, Jackson himself believes it could be the NFL’s best bet. However, he stopped short of saying it was a 100% guarantee.
“I played six years. Chances are that my brain has been altered by the game. But I am not feeling symptomatic. Why am I not? If I do, when will it happen? Did the cannabis I used when I was playing help protect my brain? Is it helping me now? A lot of us say it is helping, but that’s just our hunches. We don’t know for sure.”