NHL Alumni Study Centres on CBD, Puts THC on Ice


When Glenn Healy, head of the NHL Alumni Association, not too long ago announced that a hundred retired players would be provided CBD in a study examining the compound’s feasible function in treating discomfort and post-concussion neurological issues, numerous former athletes celebrated—especially these struggling with depression, post-traumatic strain issues (PTSD), and dementia from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But one particular query lingered in the minds of some persons: “What about THC?”

“I know some former players who are working with THC alternatively of CBD to cope,” stated Rob Frid, who suffered dozens of concussions though playing junior and minor league hockey and now suffers from chronic discomfort and debilitating neurological issues. (The 43-year-old has been diagnosed with dystonia, a disorder that causes painful muscle spasms.) “There is no doubt in my thoughts that studying THC would be effective,” he told Leafly.

Researchers have been pointing to THC as a feasible remedy for brain injuries for decades. In 1998, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States published a report outlining the neuroprotective properties of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These findings formed the basis of a US government-held patent on cannabis compounds as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. The government stated that each compounds could play a function in limiting neurological harm following stroke and trauma.

In 2013, Israeli researchers found that cannabis may well stop extended-term brain harm when THC is administered ahead of or shortly soon after injury. They discovered that carrying out so induces the biochemical processes needed to guard vital brain cells though preserving extended-term cognitive function. In reality, Israel Defense Force medical doctors have administered CBD or low-dose THC as a initially-line remedy to soldiers who endure brain trauma.

In current years, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, Lester Grinspoon, has produced waves by stating his belief that cannabis can make athletes additional CTE-resistant. Grinspoon, who produced his case for cannabis in an open letter to the NFL in 2014, also believes that THC stimulates healing soon after traumatic brain injury.

THC plays a function in discomfort management, according to Tony Iezzi, a psychologist who specializes in treating individuals dealing with brain injury and chronic discomfort. “CBD alone will not normally reduce it when it comes to treating discomfort. You will need anything additional, and that is exactly where THC comes in,” he told Leafly, adding that the two compounds perform in tandem to treat discomfort.

Iezzi, who is affiliated with the London Well being Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, believes that only CBD is front and centre in the NHL Alumni Association study in component since of the stigma linked with THC, which has psychoactive properties. “I believe they chose to concentrate on CBD since it is the additional socially acceptable of the two cannabis compounds. They have to start out someplace,” he added. “At some point they will have to devote some consideration to the effects of THC.”

His views are echoed by Mark Ware, the chief healthcare officer at Canopy Development, an Ontario-primarily based licensed producer that has partnered with the NHL Alumni Association and Neeka Well being Canada to conduct this clinical analysis.

Ware, who has been an associate professor of family members medicine and anesthesia at McGill University and is a effectively-identified cannabis researcher, sees possible in THC to treat discomfort and post-concussion neurological issues.

But it is not front and centre in this study partly since of the stigma, he told Leafly. “There is a extended history of persons considering of THC as a substance of abuse. We have to be conscious of that.” He cites yet another element, as well. Obtaining THC in their method may pose a difficulty for study participants needed to undergo drug tests for employment or insurance coverage purposes. “There are numerous motives to be cautious with regards to THC, in particular amongst these who ought to test clean for it,” he stated.

That getting stated, Ware has not ruled out incorporating THC into this study, which is anticipated to commence this summer season and take a year to total. He explains that the study has 3 arms. The initially group of participants will take CBD, the second group will be provided a placebo and the third group will be administered CBD along with one particular other element—one that is however to be determined. Will it be THC?

“Nothing is written in stone at this point,” stated Ware, adding that the target of the study is to assist identify “the secret sauce” that can be utilised to treat discomfort and post-concussion neurological issues.

Ware stated that if THC is not examined in this study it could extremely effectively be incorporated into a future study. “There is no scientific explanation for not searching at it,” he conceded.

Although Frid is disappointed that THC is not at the fore of the upcoming NHL alumni study, the former hockey enforcer sees the initiative as a optimistic improvement. “NHL alumni are no longer saying, ‘Let’s wait for the science.’ They are creating it come about. They are taking a step forward,” stated Frid. “It’s awesome news.”


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