The modulatory role of cannabis use in subconcussive neural injury

Cannabis use has become popular among athletes, many of whom are exposed to repetitive subconcussive head impacts. We aimed to test whether chronic cannabis use would be neuroprotective or exacerbating against acute subconcussive head impacts. This trial included 43 adult soccer players (Cannabis group using cannabis at least once a week for the past 6 months, n = 24; non-cannabis control group, n = 19). Twenty soccer headings, induced by our controlled heading model, significantly impaired ocular-motor function, but the degrees of impairments were less in the cannabis group compared to controls. The control group significantly increased its serum S100B level after heading, whereas no change was observed in the cannabis group. There was no group difference in serum neurofilament light levels at any time point. Our data suggest that chronic cannabis use may be associated with an enhancement of oculomotor functional resiliency and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response following 20 soccer headings.