Retired NHL players have been asked to participate in a new clinical study that hopes to find if cannabidiol (CBD) products can be used to effectively treat post-concussion neurological problems.
The new study has drafted about 100 former players from different periods of the National Hockey League, including those who had played without wearing helmets. The research will be led by NEEKA Health Canada and it will be conducted within a one-year timeframe. This study is made possible through the partnership of the NHL Alumni Association and cannabis producer Canopy Growth.
Researchers will try to determine the medical value of cannabis among those who deal with impairments associated with past concussions. These impairments include depression, progressive dementia from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CTE, for one, is a brain disorder that develops by repeated hits to the head. It is an issue that has long been plaguing the players and the NHL itself. In November 2018, the NHL and hundreds of retired players reached a settlement with regard to accusations that the league undermines the severity of repeated blows to the head.
Each year, 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes suffer from sports-related concussions, according to statistics cited in a Canopy Growth press release. Around 10-15 percent of these athletes will develop symptoms after their concussion, and these symptoms will impede their ability to function.
Neeka Health Canada’s founder and CEO, Dr. Amin Kassam, said that they have seen the debilitating effects of chronic repeated injuries to the head on their patients’ and their families’ lives.
Meanwhile, Canopy Growth’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Ware, said he believes that the willingness of the alumni association to take part in the study illustrates the need for alternative treatments.
This complex and multi-dimensional study, according to Ware, will give them an unprecedented understanding of the interaction between CBD, the brain, and the behavior of the retired NHL players who are living with post-concussion symptoms.
CBD is a chemical ingredient found in cannabis. It is non-psychoactive and therefore will not give users a high.
The study is slated to start this summer.