KannaLife Sciences spokesman and former NFL player Marvin Washington recently visited MSNBC to discuss the prevalence of, and potential treatment options for, CTE in contact-sport athletes.
MSNBC invited KannaLife Sciences’ spokesman and former NFL defensive end Marvin Washington and University of Minnesota’s Dr. Steven Miles to discuss the prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in former NFL athletes. Recently, the family of former NFL great Frank Gifford revealed that Gifford had suffered from CTE, a degenerative disease that develops as a result of repetitive blows to the head. Earlier this year, researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University reported that 87 of the 91 deceased NFL players they examined tested positive for CTE. Revelations like these have stemmed a heightened scrutiny over the safety of NFL and contact-sport athletes, and have triggered preventative and therapeutic efforts from companies like KannaLife Sciences.
“You’re going to make the game safer through science,” Marvin Washington explained to MSNBC. “It’s not going to come through equipment because a helmet is not going stop a concussion. [KannaLife Sciences] is one of the companies that is doing research on the therapeutic side of CTE and trying to find treatment and a cure for so many players, ex-players that need it.”
What is CTE?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease induced by repetitive brain trauma. This brain trauma can come in the form of concussions, a type of brain injury caused by a sudden blow to the head that jolts the brain and causes bruising, blood vessel damage and nerve injury. However, the blows that eventually lead to CTE are often asymptomatic. The disease eventually causes memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, depression, aggression, and in some cases, dementia.
Athletes that participate in sports like football, ice hockey and professional wresting are susceptible to CTE, and the prevalence is alarmingly high. In the December 2015 issue of Acta Neuropathologica, researchers at Mayo Clinic reported that about 33% of contact sport athletes would develop CTE. The team of scientists analyzed brains of former male contact-sport athletes. CTE can only be diagnosed after death. “About one-third of these men whose brains had been donated to the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank had evidence of CTE pathology,” the Mayo Clinic noted in a press release.
KannaLife Sciences’ Efforts to Treat CTE
While the NFL attempts to limit the traumatic brain injuries that cause CTE by adjusting playing rules and developing equipment, KannaLife Sciences, Inc. is actively developing a novel compound based on cannabinoids to treat CTE. KannaLife Sciences is a plant-based pharmaceutical company that is currently conducting research and development of novel compounds based on cannabinoids that are intended to act as a preventative and therapeutic modality for treating CTE and hepatic encephalopathy (HE). Research has shown that the cannabinoids found in hemp are effective at reducing the oxidative stress that occurs in the brain following a traumatic brain injury. They also act as neuroprotectants by reducing swelling and neurological impairment, therefore limiting brain damage and facilitating recovery.