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Cannabis: Marijuana effective for head trauma symptoms in boxing?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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In 2016 Kyle Turley, a former professional football player insisted the NFL should re-evaluate its policy on marijuana, suggesting medical weed be used to treat chronic head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE, a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repetitive brain trauma, is getting a lot of press these days. In fact, the condition was made mainstream thanks to the 2015 film 'Concussion,' starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin.

Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression, which may appear years or many decades after the trauma.

Today, CTE is believed to be most prevalent in professional athletes participating in the NFL, NHL, pro wrestling and, perhaps, boxing.

Can marijuana help those suffering with this condition?

"If cannabis is implemented and [the NFL] can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way," former NFLer Kyle Turley, who has been diagnosed with CTE, told hiphopwired.

After retiring in 2007 due to neurological damage, Turley had been taking medication prescribed by doctors which he insists were addictive and did more damage than good. Finally, in 2014, he quit taking prescribed meds and turned to marijuana, and credits weed with successfully medicating his CTE-inflicted depression and anxiety.

Is Turley, who co-founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to inform the public on weed's medicinal benefits, on to something?

Can a drug similar to the active ingredient in cannabis protect your brain?

According to a recent article on ABC News, research done by Hebrew University in Israel reported in the journal Nature, suggested that 'a cannabinoid, similar to the active ingredient found in marijuana and produced in the brains of many animals, protects injured mice from added brain injury.'

"Brain injury is not a one-shot deal. The primary injury occurs from the initial hit. Neurochemical injuries can cause secondary damage," said Dr. Ken Strauss of Temple University.

In fact, some scientists believe the subsequent effects of brain injuries, such as swelling and the release of toxic chemicals, can be more damaging than the initial blow(s) responsible for the problem.

Some suggest marijuana can mitigate the after-effects, whether it be further physical damage and/or resulting symptoms.

Should cannabis or something similar be widely - and legally - used to treat former athletes, such as boxers and football players, suffering from head trauma? And what about non-athletes, such as construction workers and those injured in auto accidents who have suffered serious head injury?

There are believed to be more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. living with disabilities related to traumatic brain injury.

Regardless of how the NFL proceeds, should boxing explore the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes as they relate to head trauma?

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