As it stands, hypothermia therapy is the generally accepted treatment option for baby’s with brain damage. This form of treatment decreases the infant’s total body temperature to a lower range of between 33 and 34°C, whereby reducing the amount of inflammation in the brain. Hypothermia therapy has been shown to generate positive brain chemicals and to protect the brain from brain cell death. However, this treatment must be administered within 6 hours of delivery in order to be effective. If administered correctly within the necessary time frame, it can prevent disability and death in 60% of newborns with HIE.
With such significant findings, investigations using human patients are set to begin in Spain and the U.K. The human clinical trials will involve infants with brain damage who receive either a combination of hypothermia treatment and CBD, hypothermia alone, or hypothermia along with a placebo. We can now only wait and see what may come of this potentially life-saving research, which could changes the lives of countless babies with brain damage in the future.
Their initial animal study involved CBD, a cannabis compound that occurs naturally as an oil. CBD is unique among substances that come from cannabis, as it does not contain THC, which causes the high feeling of typical marijuana. CBD is not addictive and does not affect the receptors in the brain in the same way as intoxicating substances like THC, providing a safer alternative for use in newborns. Ultimately, they found that CBD:
Confronting the Problem of Brain Damage in Babies
Researchers are always looking for new and effective ways to treat babies with brain damage, as over one million babies are born with these life-altering injuries every year. Recently, cannabidiol (CBD) has been identified as an exciting, although controversial, option for reversing the effects of brain damage in infants. Adults, politicians, and teens throughout the United States continue to debate the use of various cannabis-related substances like CBD for medical purposes, but are researchers really suggesting that CBD should be given to babies? Yes, and here’s why.
In their second phase of research, Dr. Martinez-Orgado and fellow researchers combined CBD with hypothermia to treat piglets with HIE-related brain damage. In this study, they administered hypothermia treatment, followed by three intravenous doses of purified CBD. The results were astounding. Investigators noted that when used in conjunction, these treatments were able to reduce brain damage almost entirely. In other words, the combined effects of cannabidiol and hypothermia may provide a more effective way to prevent and reverse HIE-related brain damage than either can provide on its own.
Until now, hypothermia treatment has been the only option to combat the effects of brain damage in babies with HIE. Researchers in Spain sought to identify a treatment option that could be used in conjunction with hypothermia as a means by which to improve outcomes. Recognizing its often catastrophic consequences, to further investigate potential HIE treatments seemed a worthy task to Dr. José Antonio Martínez-Orgado, a Spanish Associate Professor of Pediatrics and head of the San Carlos Hospital Neonatology Division. Throughout their research, Dr. Martinez-Orgado and his team continued to observe the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids, which prompted more specific research into its potential use for newborns with HIE-related brain damage.
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Activating another cannabinoid receptor in the brain, called CB2, has been shown to promote the creation of new brain cells, as well as regulate inflammation after brain injury. A 2014 animal study found that mice that were genetically engineered to lack a CB2 receptor had worse outcomes after TBI when compared to mice that had a CB2 receptor. The study also found that the lack of a CB2 receptor impaired the creation of new brain cells.
Many professional athletes have spoken out about the benefits of CBD for the treatment of TBI and CTE symptoms, saying that it helped to regulate their mood, improve physical function, and reduce or eliminate their use of prescription painkillers and other medications.
Because full-spectrum CBD contains a variety of phytocannabinoids, it produces an “entourage effect” that engages both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain — as well as other cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors throughout your body — for maximum neuroprotective and overall health benefits.
CBD May Offer Neuroprotective Benefits
In 1998, researchers published the results of a study on rats that demonstrated the neuroprotective benefits of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are two of the cannabinoids found in cannabis.  Although more research is required to fully understand the neuroprotective effects of CBD, recent studies have shown that CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that are part of your body’s natural endocannabinoid system.
Unlike many prescription pain medications, CBD is non-addictive and will not lead to overdose. CBD does not cause side effects and will not result in increased tolerance that requires higher doses to achieve the same effect. CBD also can be used to treat other health conditions that are common in athletes, such as chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
And, CBD may also affect your glial cells, which insulate your neurons and facilitate your brain’s immune response after injury. Research shows that CBD seems to have the strongest effect on two types of glial cells: astrocytes and microglia. A 2017 animal study showed that CBD suppressed the activity and swelling caused by astrocytes;  another 2017 study showed that stimulating cannabinoid receptors in the brain suppressed inflammation caused by microglia in rats.
Although a severe TBI can be deadly or cause lifelong complications, even a mild TBI — which is commonly called a concussion — can cause symptoms that can last for days or weeks.