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NHL ALUMNI GET INVOLVED IN STUDY TO SEE IF CANNABINOIDS CAN COMBAT OPIOID ADDICTION

It's a landmark agreement that could have massive implications. According to a report by TSN's Rick Westhead, the NHL Alumni Association had agreed to partner with a Canadian cannabis company to determine whether cannabinoids can help break addiction to opioids such as those used to treat pain.

Canopy Growth Corp. will finance an initial double blind randomized study involving around 100 former NHL players in the Toronto area. TSN's report states it will take around a year to produce results and another study may be funded if initial results are encouraging. The study could also help provide a comprehensive overview of the health of NHL players who have retired.

Of the 100 players taking part, 20 will be given placebos while the other 80 would get CBD pills to be taken twice daily over 10 weeks. The pills will not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gives a user a “high.” Neither the players nor doctors will be aware of which players get the placebo and which ones get the actual CBD pills. The report states participants will "undergo MRI brain scans and diffusion tensor image scans, which are used to construct a three-dimensional map of the brain and help to measure the movement of blood and water in nerve fibres in the complex organ." The players will fill out questionnaires on their physical and mental health- including questions on drug use and whether they self medicate - and take part in activities involving software use, memory recall and speech pattern studies.



An official announcement with full details of the study is expected on Saturday. Several players have gone public with stories of struggles with painkillers and opioids during and after their NHL careers.
TIM TUCKER
NOVEMBER 20, 2020  (14H19)