Cannabis could be the key to treating traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that are taking their toll on the lives of professional athletes and Americans in general. TBI is a public health issue that’s not going to go away no matter how much the NFL wishes it would. Football is the most popular sport in the US, but in the last few years, it’s been hard to watch games and not consider the damage done to the players’ brains.
But sport-related TBI doesn’t just affect NFL players. Estimates suggest that each year, between 1.6 and 3.8 million individuals suffer a sport-related TBI in the United States alone. And since many instances of TBI go unreported due to patients failing to seek medical care, the exact number of cases is unknown, but experts estimate that 42 million people suffer from TBI every year.
Individuals serving in the military are especially vulnerable. Roughly 17% of deployed troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom reported a TBI during deployment, and 59% had multiple TBIs. That’s a huge problem because TBI carries a massive $76.5 billion economic burden with unaccountable emotional costs.