Glenn Healy, former NHL goaltender and current executive director of the NHL Alumni Association has been one of the driving forces behind exploration of the ways that medical cannabis might help professional sports players when injured, and in particular, concussed. The association has partnered with cannabis giant, Canopy Growth to conduct studies and publish their findings. “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 Healy 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.”
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. While the study began in 2019 with 100 former NHL players, the results have yet to be published, however it’s important to note that all 100 of the players live in Canada – which isn’t surprising to anyone given the US stance on Schedule 1 designation for cannabis as a drug.
As a rabid hockey fan, I can say without prejudice that it’s a TOUGH game on players. Imagine football players – but on ice skates. The high incidence of traumatic brain injuries and concussions, as well as broken bones aren’t an anomaly – they’re an everyday occurrence during the season, as well as intense practice sessions. Results from the study could bring even more forward-thinking in the legality of the use of cannabis as medicine in the future, as well as acceptance of it for players.