CTE is short for Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a rare degenerative brain disease due to repetitive head trauma over many years. It’s most common among athletes who engage in contact sports such as football and hockey. It’s also fairly common in military veterans.
Right now, CTE can only be diagnosed after death after thorough analysis of the brain tissue. But there are a few symptoms people report having, who were later found to have had CTE. These include:
- issues with impulse control
- mood swings
- depression and anxiety
There are also some progressive cognitive symptoms that have been found, including:
- short-term memory loss
- impaired judgment and confusion
While there is no cure right now for CTE, some NFL football players have suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) can help manage symptoms that may signal a future CTE diagnosis.
Here will show you some research about CBD for CTE and how you can find the best and highest quality product for your needs.
CBD, an active compound derived from the cannabis plant, does not have the same effects as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This means it won’t give you that high feeling. But CBD still offers therapeutic benefits. Research suggests it could help with anxiety, seizures and depression.
CBD oil comes in three forms:
- Full-spectrum: This includes all the compounds from the entire plant, including flavonoids, terpenes, and up to 0.3 percent THC in federally-legal products.
- Broad-spectrum: Broad-spectrum CBD includes all compounds from the plant, with the exception of THC.
- Isolate: This type is pure CBD.
If you don’t want THC, go with an isolate or broad-spectrum product. Remember, full-spectrum CBD products offer even more benefits. The entourage effect is when THC and CBD work better when they are together than when they are separate.
Another key factor to remember is that all CBD products could have trace levels of THC, even when it is an isolate. This is key if you are drug-tested.
CBD is found in many forms, such as:
- Oils and tinctures
- Topicals (lotions)
- Beauty products
- Skin care products
- Bath products
Will CBD Help With CTE?
There’s not a lot of scientific evidence out there showing that CBD can help with CTE. A 2018 review suggested there may be an anecdotal efficacy of cannabis when it comes to the treatment of the following CTE symptoms:
The researcher admitted more studies need to be done to say anything conclusively. Of note is that the review includes research on CBD, THC, and cannabis.
A 2017 review also revealed that cannabis compounds had potential to treat traumatic brain injuries in general, but again, more research is needed to fully understand CBD’s role.
Other research found that CBD could give specific physiological,psychological and biochemical benefits for athletes, but it isn’t specific to people with CTE symptoms.
Researchers say this evidence is preliminary and is based on animal studies, so additional human studies will be needed.
Can You Safely Use CBD if You Have CTE?
CBD is considered safe, says the World Health Organization. However, mild side effects could result, including:
- weight changes
- appetite changes
If taking CBD by mouth with a high-fat meal, side effects are more likely. Trusted Source.
Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that there is still much we don’t know about the effects of CBD.
Some people have reported interactions with medications so you should always discuss CBD use with your physician prior to attempting it – especially if you are considering using CBD to treat behavior and mood symptoms related to a future CTE diagnosis.
Remember that no matter what type of CBD product you use, there’s a chance it could contain trace amounts of THC. If you are an athlete and regularly undergo drug testing, be aware that these trace levels may be revealed on a drug test.
Choosing a Quality CBD Product
It’s easy to find CBD products in stores and online these days, but don’t assume that they are all safe or effective. Selecting a quality CBD product means you have to take a few key factors into consideration.
Look at the COA
The certificate of analysis (COA) will prove that a CBD product was tested by a third-party lab for safety and purity. You should be able to find COAs on the company website or after using a QR code on the product’s packaging.
Check for a comprehensive, current COA when shopping. The COA should list:
- Date the product was tested
- How much THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are contained in the product
- Which terpenes are in the product
- If the product was found to be contaminated with heavy metals, mold, pesticides, or solvents from the manufacturing process
Look For FDA Lawsuits or Warning Letters
The FDA will send out warning letters to CBD companies making unverified health claims.
Go online to check if the company has been sent a warning letter, or if the company was ever involved in a lawsuit. This gives you a better idea of company reputation.
Read Customer Reviews
Some online research can also tell you about what real customers think about the company, its products, its customer service, and its policies.
Ask your doctor for recommendations on the right CBD product you should use for symptoms of CTE. They will probably suggest an oil, which is better for a full-body effect.
How Much CBD to Take
Your body weight and body chemistry will both have an influence how much CBD to take. It may take some trial and error to find the right dosage. We suggest starting low and going slow. It’s always possible to increase the amount later if you aren’t feeling the full effects. But ask your doctor anyway.
The proper use of CBD depends on which products you choose. Review the manufacturers’ suggested dosage as well as usage instructions. Follow these guidelines:
- Take edible products by mouth. Chew gummies completely and swallow them. Swallow capsules whole with water.
- Drop CBD oils underneath your tongue, holding it for 30 seconds before swallowing. You can also add oils to food and drinks.
- Massage topical CBD products directly onto the skin where you want targeted relief.
We still need to learn a lot about CTE. There is no cure or proven treatment method, and a diagnosis can only be given during an autopsy. But it’s worth exploring CBD to manage behavior, mood, and cognitive symptoms associated with CTE. If you are at a high risk for CTE and have the above symptoms, talk to your doctor before you try CBD.