Cannabis Concussion Pill Progress

Cannabis concussion pill
Image: TheDigitalArtist

Results from a pre-clinical pilot study involving the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating concussion and traumatic brain injury have been encouraging.

Concussion is a common injury and while most people recover quickly, some can experience “persistent post-concussive syndrome”, with symptoms such as confusion and dizziness extending for more than 3 months.

Traumatic brain injury can be far more serious, resulting in bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. One of the important treatments in minimising damage is to reduce brain swelling as quickly as possible after the event.

According to BrainLine, an estimated 2.8 million people sustain a TBI annually. Of those, 50,000 die and 282,000 are hospitalized.

We mentioned the development of a “cannabis concussion pill” back in November 2016 that may also be useful in treating TBI. A collaborative venture consisting of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Scythian Biosciences had embarked on five-year study to examine the effects of combining CBD with an NMDA antagonist called HU 211  for the treatment of traumatic brain injury  and concussion.

HU-211 (Dexanibionol) is a synthetic cannabinoid derivative. Dexanabinol has also been under investigation as a novel anti-cancer therapy.

The findings of a pre-clinical pilot study of the HU 211 + CBD treatment were released earlier this month, which demonstrate the combination therapy improved the cognitive functions of animals in comparison to those treated with one or the other. The were no adverse effects from either the combination approach or CBD or Dexanabinol on their own.

“We are encouraged by the initial findings of this study, which provide persuasive and encouraging evidence that warrants the continuation of this research program,” said Rob Reid, Scythian Biosciences CEO.

The next phase of the research program will involve a small human pilot study where subjects will likely be administered the combined components in a pill form. The subjects will be split into 3 groups – a control group, one comprised of acute TBI patients and the other consisting of chronic TBI patients.

Assuming the second phase is successful, the third phase of the research will see the launching of a full-scale clinical trial with FDA oversight over the following three years.