NHL Alumni Association And Canopy Growth Partner On Marijuana Pain Relief Study

Researchers will find out if weed can replace addictive opioids

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Staff/Getty Images

Canopy Growth and the NHL Alumni Association are partnering to study marijuana’s potential impact on pain relief. About 100 former hockey players will participate in the study, including those who both did and didn’t wear a helmet when they were playing. The organizations called the trial “a transformative clinical research initiative in partnership” in a press release.

The double-blind study will research the effect medicinal cannabis can have on players who suffered past concussions including long-term fallout, like post-traumatic stress disorder, early dementia, and depression. Researchers will also focus on marijuana’s ability as a replacement to opioids for players.

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“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,” executive director of the NHLAA Glenn Healy said in the release. “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.”

According to TSN, Canopy Growth will cover the costs of the study and the results should take around a year to come out. Should the study show encouraging results of weaning players off addictive opioids, “Canopy Growth has agreed to fund a second study of former players with more subjects,” writes TSN.

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“This is a crystallizing moment,” neurosurgeon Dr. Amin Kassam told TSN. “We’re going to be using high-resolution imaging, biomarkers, ocular, vestibular testing. We have a big need, the right agenda and the right people. The NHL alumni are willing to commit their privacy and their souls to help others in the community and I think Canopy is the real deal when it comes to the medical science.”

While cannabis is banned in the NHL, players are not currently drug tested for the plant. The Athletic hinted at the NHL conducting a similar study “to further examine the potential therapeutic benefits” of cannabis last summer, but it’s unclear whether this is the study that story mentioned.

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