The NHL Alumni Association is partnering with a marijuana company to study the impact of using cannabis to treat pain. According to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman, the hockey league’s alumni association has partnered with Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation.
Canopy and the NHL Alumni Association called the deal “a transformative clinical research initiative in partnership,” and in reality, it’s a huge mark for medical marijuana research in sports. Canopy will use the Alumni Association’s membership pool to conduct a study about cannabis as an alternative to opioids, a serious problem with former pro athletes.
“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,” Glenn Healy, executive director of the NHLAA, said in a Canopy 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 The Score, 100 former NHL players living in Canada will take part in the study.
Canopy Growth will finance a blind randomized study involving 100 retired players in the Toronto area, which will attempt to determine whether cannabinoids can help former players quit opioids, a source told TSN’s Rick Westhead. If the results are encouraging, Canopy Growth will fund a subsequent study with more subjects.
“This is a crystallizing moment,” neurosurgeon Dr. Amin Kassam told Westhead. “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.
This is all former players, mind you, but a pro sports league’s alumni association taking a serious look at medicinal marijuana to address a growing public health crisis is certainly an interesting move, and it will be fascinating to see if the results of this potentially leads to the league becoming more receptive to using marijuana as a way to help current players as they try to overcome physical ailments.