CBD is one of the substances with high impact for the health which gained a lot of popularity in the past years due to some significant media coverage. The stories told by some prominent figures in television like Dr. Oz and the scientific backup provided by outstanding members of the medical community, like dr. Sanjay Gupta made this type of cannabinoid a star on the market of dietary supplements. The proof that its medicinal properties are more than simple commercial talks is represented by the increasing number of success stories of CBD, and one of the most recent belongs to the NFL Legend Leonard Marshall who managed to improve his Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy with the use of this substance. But to understand how this amazing recovery was possible one must learn what CBD is and how it works in a view to improving the health.
Contents of this article
It was in the early 1930’s when scientists discovered that all living creatures, including humans, have a particular system created to interact and process the cannabinoids and maintain the balance for various important functions in the body. The surprising discovery doesn’t stop here. The scientists also found out that our bodies create their own cannabinoids, which they named endocannabinoids1 in order to distinguish them from the cannabinoids originated in plants. In addition to this, it was noticed that the cannabinoids extracted from plants like cannabis or hemp have the same structure as the endocannabinoids and they can replace them successfully if for some reasons the body can’t produce the necessary amount for keeping the essential functions within proper parameters. The endocannabinoid system2 has two important receptors CB 1, mostly found in the brain, and CB 2, placed mainly within the immune system3, but both of them exist all over the body. Their receptors enter in contact with the cannabinoids which bring a certain message, and they generate a process within the body to deliver that message.4
CBD is part of the cannabinoids family, substances which are extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. It was discovered that more than 400 substances exist within these plants and almost 85 of them are different types of cannabinoids, out of which two are the most famous so far: THC and CBD. When it comes to health benefits, both THC and CBD had great results in clinical trials. It was concluded that they had similar effects on the body, but there is one significant difference, the psychoactive effect. THC is the substance responsible for the hallucinogenic effect of cannabis, while CBD has no such influence on the users. On the contrary, studies revealed it could cancel the psychoactive effects of THC on the brain. Considering that cannabis is a plant which falls under strict regulations for cultivation and consumption, in many countries THC dietary supplements are illegal to consume without a medical prescription, but CBD is excluded from the list, mainly because so far it seems it has no side effects on users.
Cannabinoids are a recent discovery for the medical community, and many doctors are still reluctant in prescribing them as a treatment when everything else failed. Still, some doctors believed in their potential and obtained great success with their patients. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is one of them. He used CBD to treat children diagnosed with epilepsy5, and his results were so surprising that he became one of the leading promoters of this substance. The fact that so far studies didn’t reveal any dangerous side effects made, more and more healthcare providers start to consider CBD as a natural therapeutic alternative for patients who tried traditional medicine and didn’t get the expected results. The Food and Drug Association hasn’t yet included any cannabinoids on the official list of dietary supplements because it considers there is still the need for more large scale studies. Nevertheless, the thousands of clinical trials conducted so far proved the incredible health potential they have. Among the health problems which could be improved with the constant use of CBD is arthritis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy6, anxiety7, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, even cancer and many other because it acts as a neuroprotector, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-nausea agent.8
The story of a great recovery
One of the recent stories which strengthen the therapeutical reputation of CBD is the amazing recovery of Leonard Marshall, double Superbowl champion while playing for New York Giants and who today overcame its problems caused by Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy with the help of this cannabinoid. The athlete is so proud and enthusiast about his results in overcoming this condition that it spoke publicly about his use of CBD and the progress he made so far.
As a former defensive lineman for All-Pro Nеw Yоrk Gіаntѕ, Marshall suffered countless blows to the head during his career in the NFL, which eventually leads to his diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in 2013. It wasn’t easy at all to cope with both physical and emotional pain this disorder brought upon him and the years of suffering also took a toll on his family. Because he was always a fighter, Marshall refused to surrender his life and body to a medical condition, and he learns as much as he could about this degenerative disease.
Leonard Marshall is the founder of Brain Unity Trust, a nonprofit organization which tries to support the victims of head trauma and raises awareness for the broad public about the hidden dangers of repetitive concussions. He even did his research in order to find a new way of alleviating the symptoms. After taking strong prescription drugs and dealt with their severe side effects, which made him feel like losing, even more, the control over his body and mind, Marshall found in CBD a natural and organic supplement to support him in regaining control over the disease. He read many reports of the medical studies who talked about how CBD can reduce the intensity of CTE symptoms like aggression, irritability or motor impairment.
At first, he remembers he was kind of reluctant because after flooding his body with so many substances which made him lose contact with himself he didn’t want to take another one which will get him to feel high. But once he was convinced that CBD doesn’t have this kind of influence he gave it a try. Marshall even found some products based on CBD hemp oil, and he says he is pleased with the results obtained with Respira, which he uses both orally or as vape oil. He considers this product very convenient and easy to use whenever necessary by someone with an active lifestyle. One year after starting to take CBD, Leonard Marshall admits his doctor permitted him to stop taking the prescription medication and he felt a higher tolerance to pain which made him feel calm and in control of his life again.
Many doctors and researchers truly believe that CBD can prevent and even stop the progress of CTE because of its neuroprotective properties and Leonard Marshall is the living proof that this is more than just a theory. He was so impressed with the progress of his recovery from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy9 that he agreed to become a spokesperson for a global company which produces supplements based on CBD, Elixinol.
“Mу оріnіоn is there’s nо nееd for weed. CBD does thе job without getting уоu hіgh”” ѕауѕ Marshall when promoting CBD products. Elixinol is an international company with headquarter in Colorado. Its history began in 1991 when the founder Paul Benhaim wanted to offer people a natural way of alleviating the pain caused by various medical conditions.
Nowadays the company is considered one of the most prestigious CBD brands in the world. Elixiol gains a world wide reputation of offering only high-quality products because everything that ends up to customers has first undergone rigorous quality control and laboratory testing. Its products are distributed in various countries around the world like USA, UK, Japan, Puerto Rico or Brazil. The NFL champion admits that as an athlete he was always careful with what he puts in his body and CBD got his attention because it is a fully natural substance which doesn’t make anyone feel high. He did further research and found that there is no evidence that anyone ever overdosed on natural CBD. He is so excited about this product because there seem to be no side effects, unlike most supplements or classic medication.
Improving his medical condition is only one part of Leonard Marshall mission in life. He considers that the other part is to help other people who deal with this medical condition and also prevent athletes from ending up in this situation. He is genuinely concerned about the fate of young people who expose themselves daily to the risk of head trauma and tries to raise awareness of the dangers ahead of them. That is why he founded a non-profit organization called Brain Unity Trust. He wants to help that half million of children who according to CDC end up each year in the emergency room for treatment of traumatic brain injury. Statistics show that since 2017 the number of concussions related to rough sports increased by 71% in children between the ages 10 and 19. Through this foundation, he encourages doctors to have honest conversations with young athletes in the locker room and explain to them that brain trauma in professional sport is truly a matter of life and death and they must take care of their health.
Leonard Marshal understands better than anyone what it feels like to be so passionate about a sport that you don’t care about the risk, but he considers that young athletes who just start their career must learn about the hundreds of suicides and death of athletes diagnosed with CTE in order to make an informed decision on their professional and personal life from this point on. That is why he planned a tour of various schools and sports organizations for young people and talk to them about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, how it changes one’s life and how important it is to prevent it.
About Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy10, shortly known as CTE, is a degenerative disease which affects the brain and it is common to athletes, veterans and in general to people who repetitively suffered brain trauma. This condition is generated by a special protein in the brain, called Tau, which in extreme cases, like multiple concussions, form clumps. They slowly travel through the brain and kill its cells. Usually, the first symptoms of CTE appear many years after the head injury occurred and they change the person’s mood and social behavior. In most cases, the symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy appear in a patient around the early or late 30.’s, but this affection was diagnosed in people as young as 17. Most cases revolve around the ages of 40 to 50.
The first signs of this disorder include aggression, paranoia, and depression. As CTE continues to settle within the brain, some people start to experience memory problems such as confusion, clouded judgment, memory loss, inability to focus, speech difficulties, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, motor impairment, tremors, vision problems, and eventually, things can get as far as dementia. The full list of CTE symptoms is still unknown by doctors, and the evolution of this condition is still unclear. First, the cognitive symptoms appear and on the second phase mood, and behavior changes make themselves present. It is not necessarily for a patient to experience both types of symptoms, but they do get more intense gradually as time goes by. It is not uncommon for some people to experience stable symptoms for many years in a row and at a certain point, the thing gets bad quickly.
Scientists and doctors do not completely know the causes for this disorder, but most of the cases include athletes and soldiers who suffered many consecutive head traumas over a relatively short period. Only bumping your head accidentally doesn’t mean you will automatically suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy unless you are very unlucky. Studies conducted so far indicate that repetitive hits to the head over time represent one of the main causes of this brain problem. Most people diagnosed with CTE suffered hundreds or even thousands of head impacts and they eighter played an aggressive contact sport, or they trained in the military. Unless you fall under these conditions, the chances to suffer from CTE anytime soon are very low. Still, it is better to prevent than to treat, so including CBD into the daily diet can only help your brain avoid severe damage.
Natural CBD vs. Synthetic CBD
Many doctors are still reluctant in prescribing CBD as a treatment because this discovery is new and is yet to be included as a study subject in medical schools. There is no daily recommended dose available for the moment so each doctor must adjust the dosage of CBD according to the patient’s needs and medical history. You should start with a lower dose so the body gets the chance to adjust the process. If everything is ok and no unpleasant symptoms appear you can gradually increase the dose every couple of weeks until you get the results you set before starting. The right dose for each person could be higher or lower than the standard, and personal factors influence it.
The dietary supplements market is full of products based on CBD oil, but not all of them are as efficient and as safe as they are promoted because some manufacturers used synthetic versions of cannabinoids in their formula. Be careful what kind of cannabinoids based dietary supplements you buy because the popularity of these substances took off in the past years and there are many manufacturers who present on the market more or less efficient products and some of them are even dangerous for health for profit purposes only. If the natural CBD obtained from hemp or cannabis hasn’t caused any side effects so far, the synthetic version can cause substantial side effects. If something seems too good to be true, most likely it isn’t true. So far there is no report of anyone ever overdosing on natural CBD, while, it is very easy to take too much of the synthetic version, and the side effects it can cause are extremely severe. Some of the most dangerous consequences of synthetic drugs include stroke, seizure, brain damage, increased heart rate, cardiac problems, kidney failure and acute psychosis.
Cannabinoids obtained from plants seem to bring many benefits for the health, but there are many ongoing studies which try to found out more about how they work and the way our bodies are designed to process them.