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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

April 6, 2020

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, is a neurodegenerative disease most often found following repeated head injury or trauma.  There are several symptoms including: mood problems, behavioral problems, and difficulty thinking.  One of the more frustrating aspects of CTE is that symptoms typically do not begin to present until years after the activity that caused it has ceased.  CTE tends to get worse as a patient ages and has been tied to dementia as well as a potential rise in suicidality in later years.

Athletes that participate in contact sports are most likely to fall victim to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  Repeated head trauma found in sports like American football, soccer, professional wrestling, and rugby are most likely to result in CTE.  Boxers are also standard CTE patients later in their lives.  Additionally, members of the military have been found to have repeated head trauma.  Domestic violence survivors have also been diagnosed with CTE after repeated blows to the head.

No one truly knows how many blows to the head is necessary for a patient to develop CTE.  Frustratingly CTE cannot be diagnosed while a patient is alive.  No testing yet exists for a diagnosis to be confirmed during the life of a patient.  Unfortunately, an accurate diagnosis can only be made during autopsy.

While there is no effective treatment there are ways to mitigate some of the symptoms associated with CTE.  Medical marijuana is one of the treatments that the state of Ohio recognizes for the chronic traumatic encephalopathy qualifying condition.  Mostly for its properties of helping alleviate anxiety as well as helping patients sleep more soundly for longer.  Additionally, medical marijuana has been shown to help buoy mood swings as well as help patients better focus and mitigate behavioral problems.

Another of the main challenges faced by patients experiencing chronic traumatic encephalopathy is overcoming the stigma of what was once known as being “punch drunk.”  The stereotypical former boxer, spending his evenings glad handing at a local bar, is the most clearly articulated characterization of the “punch drunk” athlete.  This satirical depiction of CTE does nothing to help those suffering from the disease.  It only furthers the stigma that it is a harmless abnormality.  Football players have also been subjected to this fallacy.  While there have been significant improvements to the protection offered by football helmets, generations of athletes were forced to play with unacceptable equipment.  Former players have expressed significant issues sometimes decades after they left the field.  Between a limited scope on the science of keeping players healthy combined with equipment that wasn’t always up to the correct standard, many players from years and years ago will likely suffer from CTE in the future.  Advancements in helmet design coupled with changes to the rules of the game are being done with the hope that chronic traumatic encephalopathy will be diminished in the future.

Some strains of medical marijuana that have been shown as being beneficial to those suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy are: Charlotte’s Web (Indica), Afghan Kush (Sativa), Tangie (Hybrid), Blue Dream (Hybrid), and Wedding Cake (Indica).

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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