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Cannabis and NFL

Kannalife Sciences hopes to protect NFL Players’ brains

As you see the US passing through the revolutionary stage of cannabis decriminalization for medical and recreational usage, different companies have shown interest to invest in the business. However, about 99 percent of these firms have not secured license from the federal government. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has the authority to grant commercial medical marijuana patents to the companies.

When in 2005, the medical researchers from the NIH discovered the neuroprotectant properties of certain cannabis compounds, it lead to the filing of a patient, known as Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants. These constituent parts of the drug have potential to protect an individual against neurological damage resulting from ischemic insults, for example, trauma or stroke. The neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, HIV dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can also be treated with cannabinoids.

Expressing his views to, Dean Petkanas, CEO of KannaLife Sciences, said that the National Institute for Health is looking for public-private partnership in the field. He further added that with the financial support of the government, the NIH has made immense progress, thus becoming the world’s largest laboratory conducting research in the field of health. The Institute is not interested solely in the development of the drugs, but is seeking initiative from the private sector to share the achievements as well as risks, if any.

Petkanas is the owner of the company based in New York that carries out research and development work on pharmacological products obtained from plants. In order to start business in neuroprotective cannabinoids, the company successfully secured license from the NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) in the preceding year.

Petkanas says that till this time, they have been following a pre-symptomatic strategy to address a brain-liver condition, called hepatic encephalopathy. In case of this disorder, the individuals suffer from oxidative stress, and neuronal degradation and degeneration. Now they plan to work on another brain disorder, called CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy and find out the effectiveness of cannabinoids as neuroprotectants.

Concerning the nature of CTE, it is a brain disorder in which the master organ of the body undergoes progressive degeneration, particularly, in athletes who have repeatedly suffered from brain trauma. The suicidal attempts of the retired NFL (National Football League) players got the attention of the people at national level. The individuals were found to be showing the symptoms resembling those of Alzheimer’s disease and other such conditions.

It is to be noted that till this time over 4,500 retired NFL players have gone to the court of law against the League. They accuse NFL of giving least importance to the disease and showing irresponsible attitude in cases of repeated traumas leading to long term neurological damage. It has been acknowledged by the players that they were conscious of the injuries while playing but remained unaware of the fact that the repetitive concussion could lead to neurological damage involving the symptoms usually experienced by the patients of dementia.

Petkanas is optimistic that the efforts of his organization will bring fruit and the brains of contact sport athletes will be protected against damage with the help of CBD or cannabidiol-based drug.

Concerning the nature of CBD, it is one of the about 85 active cannabinoids, present in cannabis, and involves potential advantages in treatment. The compound is administered orally in liquid form for the treatment of children’s seizure disorder occurring with very low frequency. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), in the US, has given orphan status to such a liquid.

Petkanas has been reported as saying that they have discovered the potential of CBD as neuroprotectant, and such an important property of the compound will be of much help in protecting the brain damage caused by repetitive concussions.

KannaLife Sciences has developed partnership with Marvin Washington, former NFL defensive lineman, to run an awareness campaign about the potential characteristics of CBD and its benefits for the sportsmen. Marvin Washington is included in the list of the players who have lodged suits against NFL in the courts of law.

When asked to explain the cases of CTE, Washington told that during his time as a player, he had witnessed the impacts of CTE and trauma on health. He went on that his own son is a player of football in college and the present awareness program is aimed at the safety of the individuals who are either playing in the college and NFL or retiring. The former players may not be able to benefit from it. However, the experimentations in the laboratory are being carried out with the sole aim of making the game safer.

Washington credits the National Football League for making sincere efforts in the preceding some years. The findings obtained from research conducted on Mike Webster’s brain can be considered a great achievement in this regard as the researchers were able to discover the extent of neurological damage that might be faced by both the presently playing and retired players.

Washington said that the NFL is advancing in a favorable direction as the Head, Neck and Spine Committee has been restructured and is being led by neuroscientists and neurosurgeons. These structural changes were made about two years ago. He wants the League to lead the signs instead of just following them, as they are expected to do so.

Despite the fact that Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner has recently reaffirmed his support for the use of cannabis if proved effective scientifically, the league is infamous for adopting strict measures against the recreational use of the drug.

Recently, amendments were made in the policy of NFL which suggest carrying out blood testing for HGR (human growth hormone), reclassification of controlled substances and adopting strict measures against those charged with DUI (driving under the influence). In past, after the use of drug was confirmed, Cleveland Browns was punished with a suspension for 16 games. It can be contrasted with the case of Baltimore Ravens who was initially suspended for just two games. People are against such a practice and want flexibility in punishment rules.

Washington is optimistic that through the platform of KannaLife Sciences, he will be able to inspire amends in drug testing rules as there are no psychoactive impacts associated with CBD. The research work will be of great deal of benefits for the football players as great potential of cannabis as healer is going to be discovered.

He says that instead of being considered a contact sport, football should be regarded as a collision sport. He further added that as the players are brining improvements in their physical health and strength, their brains should also be given protection against damages caused by traumas and CTE. Owing to the absence of psychoactive factor, this aspect of their health is usually ignored.

As revealed by Petkanas, in the beginning of 2015, his company aims to apply to FDA for the investigation of a new drug. He went on that it was just the beginning in exploring the immense potential of cannabis.

Petkanas says that they are analyzing the record of past 15 to 20 years related to the use and effectiveness of cannabinoids. Meanwhile, they will try to find out the mechanism of working of these substances in the treatment of a number of medical conditions. There has to be a connection between these compounds and human endocannabanoid system.

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