In his article “Search is on for a concussion drug” (Page A1, Nov. 23), Jonathan Saltzman overlooked two drugs that have major applications for concussion treatment.
The first is cannabis, now legal both medically and recreationally in Massachusetts. A neuroprotectant, cannabis is exceptionally effective in treating many of the lingering symptoms of a brain injury, and far more so than conventional pharmaceuticals (the article pointed out that there are no approved drugs for concussion). The US government actually holds a patent on the neuroprotectant qualities of cannabis.
The data are so compelling on the use of cannabis for brain injury that Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, urged the NFL to drop its urine testing program for cannabis so that players could seek its therapeutic effects.
In addition to cannabis, psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) has been approved by the FDA for clinical trials to help treat intractable depression, a dangerous and common symptom of traumatic brain injury. Psilocybin has been classified repeatedly as one of the safest recreational drugs you can consume, often referred to as safer than alcohol.
Concussion, which is better referred to as brain injury, can have profound effects on the injured, and currently there are no conventional solutions. There needs to be more discourse on the use of cannabis, psilocybin, and other psychedelic drugs, which have been pushed into a dark corner and are not getting the study this issue desperately needs.