Study Investigates Cannabis Therapies for Concussions

March 9, 2019

The NHL Alumni Association has partnered with cannabis company Canopy Growth, a cannabis company located in Canada, to conduct a one-year study investigating the possibility of cannabinoids helping treat post-concussion neurological problems. The study will be led by NEEKA Health Canada.

Approximately 100 former players will be enrolled in a randomized double-blind study. The research will be led by NEEKA Health Canada's Dr. Amin Kassam, a world-renowned neurosurgeon who completed his undergraduate training at the University of Toronto and has led four neurosurgery programs over two decades. Joining Dr. Kassam is Dr. Richard Rovin, a neurosurgeon who completed post-graduate training through the Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard University Medical School. Their combined expertise in neuroscience, molecular cell signaling, brain mapping, and clinical trial design may lead to novel cannabis therapies that have the potential to improve the lives of patients suffering from post-concussion healthcare issues. 

"We have seen the debilitating effects of chronic repeated head injuries on the lives of patients and their families," Dr. Amin Kassam, Founder and CEO of NEEKA Health Canada, said in a press release. "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."

"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," said Dr. Mark Ware, Chief Medical Officer, Canopy Growth. "We thank the members of the NHLAA whose willingness to join this unique research partnership speaks to the need for alternative medical treatments to treat the long-term and often devastating effects of concussions." 

The study is expected to begin in summer 2019 and will take one year to complete. The results of this unprecedented trial could also catalyze new research initiatives further investigating the potential of CBD as a treatment to help people recover from their brain injuries.

“Hopes are high,” Andrew Alberts, a former NHL player with the Vancouver Canucks whose professional hockey career ended after he suffered a concussion in 2013, said in an article in the Vancouver Sun.

“I think guys are going to heavily lean on this at the beginning to see if it can help and provide some treatment.”

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