The National Hockey League (NHL) has been fairly forward-thinking in its governing of marijuana use among players. Cannabis isn’t on the NHL’s list of banned substances, and players caught using cannabis aren’t automatically fined or suspended. Now the NHL’s alumni association has announced an official partnership with a major cannabis company on a study of cannabis and concussion treatments.
The research, which began in 2019, focuses on using cannabinoids as a treatment for post-concussion neurological diseases in retired NHL players. The study began amid changes in how professional sports leagues treat cannabis and support by athletes for the benefits of cannabis for training and recovery.
Glenn Healy, executive director of the National Hockey League Alumni Association,
said “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,” said Glenn Healy, Executive Director of the NHLAA. “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.”
He said the study offers retired players “the promise of help and hope.”
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TORONTO and SMITHS FALLS, Ontario, March 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA), NEEKA Health Canada and Canopy Growth Corporation (“Canopy Growth” or the “Company”) (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) are pleased to announce a transformative clinical research partnership that will investigate the efficacy of cannabinoids as an integral part of a novel treatment for post-concussion neurological diseases in former NHL players.
A substantial number of these high performing, former professional athletes have developed impairments as a result of past concussions, ranging from depression, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and progressive dementia from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In some cases, this leads to debilitating limitations in their ability to cope with their environment, a term NEEKA Health Canada has defined as functional disintegration. This study will undertake the rigorous science needed to establish the medicinal value of cannabis when combined with other proven treatments amongst this highly-afflicted group of elite athletes and potentially improve their ability to interact with family, friends and their communities.
Researchers estimate that between 1.6 and 3.8 million athletes suffer from a sports-related concussion each year*. Ten to 15 percent of these athletes will go on to develop chronic post-concussion symptoms that can affect their ability to function. The results of this original study may also lead to new cannabinoid-based therapies that help athletes in other professional sports, along with adults who suffer from the aftermath of brain injuries from accidents and other activities.
“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,” said Glenn Healy, Executive Director of the NHLAA. “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.”
Approximately 100 former players will be enrolled in this 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,” said Dr. Amin Kassam, Founder and CEO of NEEKA Health Canada. “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.
Here’s to Future Growth (and goals).
The NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA), established in 1999, is a charitable organization in Canada and the US that serves as a passionate advocate devoted to bettering the lives of its members (all former NHL Players). The NHLAA exemplifies this commitment to its members in many different ways including financial assistance, commercializing players’ rights, emotional support, physical care, post playing career transition and family aid all in furtherance of its efforts to ‘Honour the Past’. Since its inception, the NHLAA has acted as a liaison with its 29 local chapters and has become the largest membership association for retired professional hockey players.
About Canopy Growth Corporation
Canopy Growth is a world-leading diversified cannabis and hemp company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms. Canopy Growth offers medically approved vaporizers through the Company’s subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. From product and process innovation to market execution, Canopy Growth is driven by a passion for leadership and a commitment to building a world-class cannabis company one product, site and country at a time. The Company has operations in over a dozen countries across five continents.
The Company is proudly dedicated to educating healthcare practitioners, conducting robust clinical research, and furthering the public’s understanding of cannabis, and through its wholly owned subsidiary, Canopy Health Innovations (“Canopy Health”), has devoted millions of dollars toward cutting edge, commercializable research and IP development. Canopy Growth works with the Beckley Foundation and has launched Beckley Canopy Therapeutics to research and develop clinically validated cannabis-based medicines, with a strong focus on intellectual property protection. Canopy Growth acquired assets of leading hemp research company, ebbu, Inc. (“ebbu”). Intellectual Property (“IP”) and R&D advancements achieved by ebbu’s team apply directly to Canopy Growth’s hemp and THC-rich cannabis genetic breeding program and its cannabis-infused beverage capabilities. Through partly owned subsidiary Canopy Rivers Corporation, the Company is providing resources and investment to new market entrants and building a portfolio of stable investments in the sector.
From our historic public listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange to our continued international expansion, pride in advancing shareholder value through leadership is engrained in all we do at Canopy Growth. Canopy Growth has established partnerships with leading sector names including cannabis icon Snoop Dogg, breeding legends DNA Genetics and Green House seeds, Battelle, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, and Fortune 500 alcohol leader Constellation Brands, to name but a few. Canopy Growth operates ten licensed cannabis production sites with over 4.3 million square feet of production capacity, including over 500,000 square feet of GMP certified production space. The Company operates Tweed retail stores in Newfoundlandand Manitoba and has entered into supply agreements with every Canadian province and territory. For more information visit www.canopygrowth.com
NEEKA Enterprises founded by neurosurgeon Dr. Amin Kassam, is a health care entity that provides broad ranging services, including, econometric modeling and strategic health care transformation. The Canadian clinical subsidiary of NEEKA Enterprises, NEEKA Health Canada, will co-ordinate the unprecedented National Hockey League Alumni Association trial from its headquarters in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Built on the scientific underpinning of Dr. Amin Kassam and Dr. Richard Rovin, NEEKA Health Canada will bring its competencies in the fields of economic modeling, machine learning, bioinformatics and patient empowerment to transform the lives of those suffering from post-concussion healthcare issues.