Retired NHL players have been drafted by a cannabis company in the name of science.
A partnership with the NHL Alumni Association, Canopy Growth and Neeka Health Canada aims to study about 100 former professional hockey players and whether CBD-based products can reduce the danger of post-concussion brain disorders, according to a recent release issued by Canopy.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is an ingredient extracted from the marijuana plant and isn’t associated with giving the user a high, according to a Neeka Health release.
Research suggests that between 1.6 and 3.8 million athletes suffer from sports-related concussions each year, according to statistics cited in the Canopy release. Of these athletes, 10 to 15 per cent will develop symptoms after their concussion that impede their ability to function, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and progressive dementia from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE.
CTE, a brain disorder developed by repeated hits to the head, is an issue that has long plagued the NHL and its players.
Last November, a settlement was reached between NHL and the hundreds of retired players who had accused the league of undermining the severity of repeated blows to the head.
“We have seen the debilitating effects of chronic repeated head injuries on the lives of patients and their families,” said Dr. Amin Kassam, founder and CEO of Neeka Health Canada.
Chief medical officer at Canopy Growth Dr. Mark Ware said he believes the willingness of the alumni association to participate illustrates the need for alternative treatments.
“This complex and multidimensional study will give us an unprecedented understanding of the interaction between cannabidiol (CBD) and the brains and behaviours of former NHL players living with post-concussion symptoms,” Ware said.
The study is set to begin this summer and is expected to take one year.