The National Hockey League (NHL) Alumni Association is currently in collaboration with Ontario-based legal cannabis producer Canopy Growth to carry out a research study on the effectiveness of cannabis-based therapies. The goal of the study is to examine the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of neurological injuries in retired hockey players with the aim to improve their quality of life.
The double-blind research study will include over 100 former players of various age in order to determine whether medical cannabis can be an effective strategy to treat post-concussion syndrome, which can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorders and progressive dementia.
This one-year clinical research partnership will be lead by NEEKA Health Canada. According to Glenn Healy, Executive Director of the NHLAA, hopes are high for the research collaboration. “NHL alumni gave everything they had during their careers, but the physical consequences after they hang up their skates can be devastating for both players and their loved ones for the rest of their lives… This study offers alumni the promise of help and hope, and we are excited to participate in what could become a true game-changer in allowing these professional athletes to finish strong.”
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Most people recover from the concussion completely, and their symptoms disappear. However, according to scientific research, up to 3.8 million of athletes suffer from sports-related concussions each year, and up to 15% of them go on to develop post-concussion syndrome. Moreover, it is often difficult to predict which patients with a concussion will recover completely, and which will continue to suffer from life-long symptoms.
According to Dr. Amin Kassam, Founder and CEO of NEEKA Health Canada, “We have seen the debilitating effects of chronic repeated head injuries on the lives of patients and their families… Our team is excited to partner with Canopy Growth, a global leader in cannabis science and the NHL Alumni Association, a committed organization to its players, to demonstrate the immense and unexplored opportunity in cannabis-based remedies, particularly when synergized by novel treatment paradigms such as digital mental health and behavioral therapy.”
The study will evaluate the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating post-concussion syndrome. CBD is one of the naturally-occurring active compounds (called cannabinoids) found in cannabis and hemp. Unlike the other major active constituent of cannabis, tetrahydrdocannibinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, but has been demonstrated to have medicinal properties and therapeutic benefits and applications for many medical conditions.
The study is planned to begin in the summer of 2019 and will take approximately one year to complete. The results of this clinical trial have a high potential to uncover therapeutic benefits CBD as a treatment in the recovery of brain injuries.