Women’s Athletics and Cannabis

Awareness is increasing around the effects, treatment and prevention of concussions in men’s athletics.

It’s about time. However, more must be said about the concussions that women suffer resulting from playing contact sports, and how integrative medicine options could benefit them as well. A recent New York Times piece highlighted the experiences of collegiate and Olympic female hockey athletes who suffer from sports-related concussions. There is a general perception that women’s hockey is safer than men’s because it penalizes body checking and doesn’t have a notable history of fighting. However, according to a 2014 N.C.A.A. student-athlete summary referenced within the New York Times article, “women’s hockey had the largest percentage of players who had experienced at least one concussion, at 20.9 percent.” Unfortunately, the misconception that women’s hockey is safer than men’s results in this serious issue receiving less than its due attention.

Yet the long-term, debilitating effects that these athletes suffer are the same – memory loss, chronic headaches, muscle and nerve pain, sensitivity to light or noise – and many of the experimental treatments available are unpleasant, costly and rather ineffective. But there are alternatives.

resources must be allocated to research that can determine the potential cannabis extracts have to offer

For example, cannabis has shown great potential for helping to ease the symptoms, and even potentially heal the damage caused by concussions. Cannabis activates the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which could help protect the brain after traumatic injuries.

More must absolutely be done to prevent concussions from occurring in both women’s and men’s contact sports in the first place. That said, in order to provide effective treatment to athletes who are affected by the ongoing symptoms of concussions, resources must be allocated to research that can determine the potential cannabis extracts have to offer.

Constance Therapeutics is committed to a science-based approach to medicinal cannabis. We are determined to see the day when whole plant cannabis extracts are accepted into the physician’s toolbox and viewed as a legitimate integrative treatment option for sports-related injuries and other serious conditions.