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Kannalife™ Sciences is currently researching cannabinoids, specifically CBD, to understand how they can be utilized in the development of novel treatments for a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including hepatic encephalopathy and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. They have created the synthetic cannabinoid, KLS-13019, which is 50 times more potent and 400 times less toxic than naturally occurring cannabidiol, in the hopes of using it in the development of safe and effective new treatments for a range of neurological conditions.

Hepatic Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a condition in which the liver can no longer remove toxins from the blood, resulting in a loss of brain function. HE is sometimes the result of hepatitis or the abuse of alcohol or painkillers. When the liver cannot adequately protect the body, toxins like ammonia can build up in the bloodstream, causing damage to the brain and nervous system. Kannalife™ Sciences is exploring ways to use the neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids to help combat this brain damage. Although HE is considered a rare disease with fewer than 200,000 yearly cases, the cost to treat it in the U.S. alone is estimated up to $7 billion per year.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Similarly, Kannalife™ is developing cannabinoid based treatments for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Caused by repeated injuries to the head, CTE is linked to contact sports and has been especially prevalent among NFL players and women’s soccer players. During head injuries, nerve axons become damaged, hindering cell-to-cell communication and causing the cells in the brain to waste away. Cannabinoids can be used to reduce the oxidative stress following head injuries and reduce the swelling that results in the brain. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed in post-mortem examinations of the brain, making it difficult to determine a population of CTE sufferers. Studies showed the overall prevalence of CTE in football players at 3.7% of the total population. Kannalife™ is exploring preventative as well as post-diagnosis solutions for CTE based on cannabinoids.