Is cbd oil good for brain leisure

Cannabis and CBD Research

Current research points towards cannabinoids serving as a neuroprotectant, and clinical trials are looking at CBD alone and CBD+THC for concussions. Findings also indicate that CBD and THC may be effective for pain management, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which are common symptoms of concussions and persistent post-concussive symptoms.

Table of Contents:

Please read our Cannabis Health & Safety page.
Cannabis: There are numerous contraindications to be aware of for cannabis (marijuana) because of its THC content. Cannabis can interact with other medications, especially blood thinners. Federal agencies advise against using cannabis while pregnant or nursing. Check your state guidelines and talk to a medical professional before using these products. People with brain injuries may be more vulnerable to substance abuse, including abuse of marijuana.

CBD: There is a consensus that CBD (cannabidiol) “has a good safety profile.” CBD products are made from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Overview

Some research focuses specifically on CBD (cannabidiol) which is not nonpsychoactive, and other research focuses on cannabis (marijuana), with various ratios of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

CBD products are extracted from hemp plants and the finished product must contain less than 0.3% THC.

We use the term medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) because that is what is being used in research studies. The critical point is that where marijuana is legal, either as medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, the products are regulated and you can purchase marijuana with specific ratios of CBD to THC.

Clinical Trials – CBD for concussions

Researchers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia are investigating the efficacy of CBD (cannabidiol) for the acute stage of concussion (when the injury is new) and for persistent post-concussive symptoms.

As of February 2022, a research team in Canada will be studying the efficacy of CBD and THC for concussions; the NFL awarded the research team $500,000 for this study.

In the United States

The University of Miami
An ongoing study on cannabinoid treatment for concussion is being done by the University of Miami which received a $16 million grant for the research. The study is a five-year, three-stage study that will “assess the effectiveness of a new cannabinoid-based pill to treat concussion injuries. This partnership aims to propel this research and potential treatment forward by using two classes of drugs in a combination that scientists believe will reduce brain inflammation and the immune response.”

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.”

The cannabinoid combination therapy is made up of CBD (cannabidiol) and Dexanabinol (HU-211) which is a synthetic cannabinoid that is an “anticonvulsant and neuroprotective, and is widely used in scientific research as well as currently being studied for applications such as treating head injury, stroke, or cancer.” The medicinal CBD for the study is sourced from BOL Pharma.

Phase 2 of the study is currently underway. The University of Miami is testing the cannabinoid-based pill on a small pilot study with people, including “a control group and two groups of TBI patients, acute and chronic.” More information can be found on our blog post, an interview with Dr. Hoffer. Dr. Hoffer had planned to transition to human clinical trials and file the treatment with the FDA in early 2021, but this was likely delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

In Canada

The University of Regina (Saskatchewan Province, Canada)
In February 2022, the NFL awarded the University of Regina $500,000 to “try to optimize the formulation of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management in those suffering from post-concussion syndrome and chronic pain, and for a neuroprotective treatment for concussions.”

The U of R study will be led by Patrick Neary, who “expects their CBD/THC formulation to show significant and positive changes to the brain that will reduce pain and use of prescription medications, such as opioids, and reduce concussions during athletic competition. It will be “really exciting” to see whether the formulation they’re working on can reduce the incidence and/or the severity of concussions, he said.

Neary said when a person gets a concussion, there are chemical changes that are occurring in the brain to try and help it rehabilitate and recover from the trauma that it’s gone through. With the disruption in the cells in the brain, there will often be an influx of more chemicals than are needed initially and that creates inflammation, he said.

‘We know that CBD is anti-inflammatory, so it can help to reduce the inflammation while still allowing the brain to recover from those good chemicals that are coming in,’ he said. ‘So that’s the whole premise here. Can we use CBD? I believe we can.’”

Phase 1 will be “dedicated to figuring out the optimal formulation and amount of CBD athletes doing resistance training can take on a daily basis to treat inflammation.”

Phase 2 will “occur during football season, will have some players from the participating universities take the new optimal formulation and compare it against a placebo group to study its impacts.”

Phase 3 “will look at using a combination of CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and nutritional supplements to reduce prescription pain medications, particularly opioids.”

NEEKA Health 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.

In Australia

Impression Healthcare
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.

Up to 50 Australian MMA fighters who “receive head knocks and show symptoms of moderate to severe head concussions” will participate in the study. Participants will either receive IHL-216A or a placebo. The effectiveness of the CBD formula will be tested by participants’ baseline neurocognitive tests, which will be repeated throughout the study in both the experiment and placebo groups, and EEG and blood biomarker assessments. Impression Healthcare hopes to have IHL-216A fully approved for market by 2024.

Research indicates medical cannabis improves concussion symptoms

A study published in Brain Injury in October 2019 found that even though cannabis use didn’t affect concussion recovery time, cannabis use was associated with a lower symptom burden in the third and fourth weeks after injury. See our blog post, Study shows cannabis use decreases symptom severity after a concussion.

A December 2018 study in the journal Neurology indicates that medical cannabis (marijuana) helps concussion patients with concussion symptoms, especially pain, mood, sleep, and quality of life. The study also specifies the optimal forms of medical cannabis for the patients in the study, in terms of rations of CBD to THC, and methods of intake, such as a tincture (oral) or a vapor pen (inhaling). Read more in our blog post, Study finds medical marijuana improves concussion symptoms.

Cannabis derivatives

There’s now conclusive evidence for the use of cannabis-based products for managing the side-effects of a brain tumour.

Cannabis, cannabinoids and cannabis derivatives

Cannabis is the dried preparation, or resinous extract, of the flowers or leaves of the cannabis plant, a member of the hemp family.

The parts of cannabis that are considered important for medical reasons are called cannabinoids. This is the name for the complex chemicals found in cannabis that are responsible for the effect cannabis has on the body. Two cannabinoids are of particular interest:

  • THC – delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (responsible for the psycho-active and addictive effects of cannabis)
  • CBD – cannabidiol

Cannabis derivatives is a general term for all products that are produced using different parts of the cannabis plant, including:

  • cannabis-based medicines that certain healthcare professionals can prescribe (for example, Sativex and Nabilone)
  • cannabis products that don’t contain THC, which can be sold legally in the UK as food supplements (for example CBD oil or hemp oil)
  • cannabis products that do contain THC, which are currently illegal in the UK (for example, street cannabis or cannabis oil).

It’s important that you understand the difference between cannabis products that contain CBD and cannabis products that don’t contain THC, as they can have different effects and are legally treated differently.

Our community share their experiences with cannabis-based products

I am having chemotherapy and using CBD oil to help with the side-effects of that.

I used CBD oil to relax and try to reduce my anxiety levels.

I hoped CBD oil would reduce the size of my tumour, however it did grow. I use CBD oil to help with pain, and it makes me calmer and more relaxed.

I have never used cannabis products because my doctor wasn’t sure how it would interact with my other medications.

“I did not use cannabis medicines or products because I didn’t think they would improve or enhance the medication I was receiving.

I believe it can help with nausea, but talk to your doctor first because cannabis can interact with other medications.

These experiences from members of the brain tumour community are not intended as medical advice. Everyone is different and we encourage you to make decisions about using cannabis-products following discussion with your medical team.

Join the conversation in our Online Support Communities for more tips about coping with a brain tumour diagnosis from people who truly understand what you’re going through.

Are cannabis-based products legal in the UK?

Cannabis is an illegal drug in many countries, including the UK, where it is classified as a class B drug. This means it is illegal to posses, supply or produce cannabis in the UK.

Cannabis-based products containing THC (for example, cannabis oil or medical cannabis) are also illegal in the UK, unless you have a valid prescription.

Possession of a class B drug is punishable in the UK with up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Supply and production of a class B drug is punishable with up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

CBD and hemp oils

Cannabis-based products that don’t contain THC (for example, hemp oil or CBD oil) are currently legal in the UK – as long as it has been produced from an EU-approved strain of hemp and as long as it is marketed as a food supplement without any medicinal claims. You can buy these products in many high street health food shops.

Buying cannabis-based products that aren’t from an EU-approved strain of hemp often means you cannot be sure the product is legal in the UK.

What is the evidence for cannabis-based products in the treatment of brain tumours?

Treating brain tumours

Currently, the evidence that cannabis-based products can treat brain tumours themselves is limited.

Preliminary studies from the lab suggest that cannabinoid chemicals THC and CBD can stop glioblastoma (GBM) cells from growing, causing them to die and disrupting the blood supply to the tumour cells.

And, earlier this year, an early-stage trial led by Professor Susan Short suggested that adding a specific blend of these chemicals – in the form of a drug called Sativex – to chemotherapy could potentially help treat recurrent GBMs more effectively.

Treating side-effects

There’s now conclusive evidence for the use of cannabis and its products, such as cannabis oil and CBD oil, for other therapeutic purposes, i.e. pain relief and treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

As such, the cannabis-based drug, Nabilone, has a medical licence and can be legally prescribed for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Cannabis medicines have been used to help with nausea, however these are different to the products that have been tested for use to treat cancers.

Professor Susan Short, Consultant in Clinical Oncology

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Is it safe to use cannabis-based products?

Any supplements, alternative or complementary treatments that you or your loved one wish to use could interact with other medications, such as anti-epileptic medicines, steroids or chemotherapy. You should always discuss this with your medical team before deciding to use cannabis-based products.

It is important to be aware that you cannot be sure of the concentrations and ratios of THC and CBD in grown or street cannabis, and therefore cannot guarantee how safe it is. The same is true of other cannabis-products that aren’t prescribed by your healthcare team or produced from an EU-approved strain of hemp.

How safe a cannabis product is will depend on the product itself and the other medications you are taking. You should speak to your medical team for advice before starting cannabis products.

Professor Susan Short, Consultant in Clinical Oncology

Side effects of using cannabis-based medications

Like all medications, cannabis-based medicines have side-effects. These will differ depending on the product you’re using, as well as your individual circumstances.

Your consultant or medical team will be able to talk to you about possible side-effects as well as how to manage any side-effects you’re experiencing.

The side-effects may vary depending on the product. The common side-effects of Sativex (a cannabis-based medicine) are sickness, tiredness, dizziness and headaches.

Professor Susan Short, Consultant in Clinical Oncology

How can I get cannabis-based products?

Cannabis-based medicines

Only specialist doctors who are listed in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) specialist register will be able to prescribe cannabis-based products. They will only be prescribed when the specialist considers that the patient will benefit and when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products.

  • Medicinal cannabis, therefore, will be prescribed on a case-by-case basis
  • Patients will NOT be able to get cannabis-based products from their GP
  • If you feel you might benefit from these products, speak to your consultant or healthcare team
  • Administration by smoking remains prohibited.

If you’d like to know more, you could read our blog post on cannabis-based medicinal products or read our information about accessing unlicensed drugs.

CBD and hemp oils

CBD and hemp oils do not contain THC and can be purchased in many high street health food shops.

Cannabis-based medicines are only available through a medical prescription. Cannabis-based products are available without a prescription but many of these are of unknown composition and are not equivalent to medicinal products.

Professor Susan Short, Consultant in Clinical Oncology

Speaking to your medical team about cannabis

We recognise this can be a difficult conversation to start with your, or your loved one’s, medical team. If you are interested in understanding if cannabis-based medications may be suitable for you or your loved one, or if you are considering a non-prescription cannabis product like CBD oil, we recommend you speak with your medical team about this decision.

Cannabis-based medications (medical cannabis) are only likely to be prescribed to a small number of people, and only for specific reasons

Here are some tips to help you have this conversation:

  • Explain why you are interested in cannabis-based medicines or products, and what you are hoping it could do for you or your loved one.
  • Let your medical team know you want them to be involved in decisions about using cannabis-based medicines or products.
  • Ask about research or clinical evidence for or against using cannabis-based medicines or products, and how this relates to your individual circumstances.

Remember, a medical professional’s concern is your health or the health of your loved one. This means they are likely to be open to discussing any medicines or complementary therapies that may be suitable.

Perhaps your medical team will say they don’t recommend any cannabis-based medicines or products for you. You can ask them why. There are often clinical and evidence-based reasons why cannabis-based medicines and products would not be suitable for you or your loved one. For example, because of interactions with other medications.

You may find the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society’s (UKMCCS) guide to medical cannabis helpful when talking to your medical team. It includes information about access, legality, safety and side-effects of medical cannabis.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team: