NHL Alumni Association Strikes Deal with marijuana company for health research
The NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA)recently signed an agreement with Canopy Growth, a Canadian cannabis company, for a health research initiative. The research would focus on the effects of some cannabis compounds as a treatment method for diseases connected to concussions in former NHL players.
Speaking on this development, Dr. Mark Ware, the Chief Medical Officer of Canopy Growth, quoted in Global News, said,“As we continue to break new ground, push for increasing understanding as a medicine, we feel it is necessary for ourselves to step up and advance research in this space.”
“We know that many athletes are already self-medicating with cannabis and its derivatives in an attempt to reduce both the physical and emotional consequences of head injury.”
Athletes who self-medicate with opioids and other prescription drugs have become a hot topic in recent years. Several studies have been conducted on professional football players who have abused addictive pain killers, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants. However, no similar study has ever been conducted on former professional hockey players. Both the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have at different times, rejected proposals to research the health of retired players and many NHL team owners have not been openly supportive of such research.
TSN cites two similar studies conducted on retired football players. The first study, published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine last year reported 26.2 percent of retired National Football League players said they had used prescription opioids within the prior 30 days. Almost half of those players said they didn’t use the medication as prescribed.
The second study, published in 2011 by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, reported 7 percent of retired players said they had misused painkillers during the month before they had participated in the study.
This present research study, to be conducted on hockey playersis to be led by a neurosurgeon, Dr. Amin Kassamof NEEKA Healthcare Canada.
“We have seen the debilitating effects of chronic repeated head injuries on the lives of patients and their families,” Kassam said.
“Our team is excited … to demonstrate the immense and unexplored opportunity in cannabis-based remedies.”
The study would examine about 100 former NHL players and willcommence in the summer of 2019, and last a year.
The study will take a specific look at the none-intoxicating CBD component of marijuana, which has been used to treat other medical conditions.
“To me this is hope and this is help for players,” said Glenn Healy, the executive director of the NHL Alumni Association.
“This trial is a first of its kind.”
“We thank the members of the NHLAA whose willingness to join this unique research partnership speaks to the need for alternative medical treatments to treat the long-term and often devastating effects of concussions,” Healy said.
According to Clinics in Sports Medicine, quoted in Global News, about 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes suffer from sports-related concussions every year. Possible impacts of these injuries include dementia, depression, and PTSD