More athletes are turning to CBD as a natural alternative to treat injuries and for pain relief -- and hockey players are no exception.
NHL Studying Effectiveness of CBD
After a considerable increase of predatory hits in recent seasons, conversations about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are resurfacing once again in the sports domain.
The National Hockey League (NHL) Alumni Association has been on the forefront of cannabis use and how it can be used to treat injuries for active and retired players. In 2019, the NHLAA collaborated with cannabis producer Canopy Growth to study the effectiveness of cannabis-based therapies. More specifically, the study was looking at ways CBD can be used to treat neurological injuries in retired hockey players.
Glenn Healy, Executive Director of the NHLAA, is optimistic about this collaboration and the results it may bring. “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… 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.”
A CBD-Based Pill for Head Injuries
Since brain trauma -- particularly chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) -- can only be diagnosed post-mortem, athletes may not be aware of the internal damage they incurred. Because of this, they may suffer silently. TBI, while less severe, may eventually progress to CTE in some cases, which is very concerning for athletes who commonly suffer from head-related injuries. CTE is a long-term neurological disorder that can lead to impulse control problems, memory loss, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, and eventually, progressive dementia. The Concussion Legacy Foundation is an organization that is working to educate the public about the effects of CTE and post-concussion injuries. The Foundation shares stories of people from all walks of life who have been impacted by CTE, and often, the impacts are long-lasting and even life threatening.
However, there is emerging research showing that CBD may act as a tool to manage head-related injuries.
Scientists are currently working on a pill that would treat the effects of traumatic brain injuries. The composition of this pill includes CBD and an anesthetic that, combined with CBD, would reduce brain inflammation following a concussive event, as well as relieve pain and headaches that occur post-concussion. Preliminary findings suggest that this treatment may improve cognitive function. While this pill isn’t publicly available yet -- phase 2 of the study is still underway -- there’s no reason not to be optimistic given what we already know about CBD.
As well, many NHL players are touting the benefits of CBD, including former NHL player Riley Cote, who says that CBD has helped in healing his body and mind. Since 2010, Cote has been using CBD to help his body heal from years of playing the physically demanding sport. Cote prefers CBD oil, an oil-based CBD that can be consumed in tincture form -- it can also be consumed in a capsule or in topical form. “On the concussion side of things, if you’re administering cannabinoids daily, getting in the routine of it, you’re protecting your brain from the inside out,” Cote said in an interview with the Toronto Observer.
Scientists find CBD can act as a ‘neuro-protectant’
While research is still in its infancy, scientists have found that CBD can indeed act as a neuro-protectant in limiting neurological damage following injuries such as stroke or traumatic brain injuries. This was proven in a 1998 report published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The report was co-authored by Nobel laureate Julius Axelrod and a team of U.S. government researchers.
Additionally, a 2012 study found that CBD consumption after a known brain injury had a long-lasting, restorative effect on the brain. CBD successfully reduced the severity of the injury and restored overall neurological function.
Project CBD, a California-based non-profit, is dedicated to promoting cannabis-based research that espouses the medical benefits of CBD, including as a viable therapy alternative to treat people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
More research needs to be done, but based on what we know so far, the results are promising.
CBD as a Treatment for Minor Hockey Injuries
Hockey players also prone to sprains, spasms, and other physical injuries on the rink. To manage these minor injuries on the rink, they can take CBD -- whether in a tincture, topically, as a pill, or in food.
When applied topically, CBD can be used to target localized painful areas, like sore muscles. Our CBD topical Relief Gel is ideal in this regard. Targeted application can reduce pain and recovery time. As well, athletes can also supplement their post-recovery routine with CBD by adding CBD-infused bath salts to a warm bath, or apply a cream before resting.
It’s important to note that while athletic associations allow the use of CBD, it is still illegal to use THC. If you want to start using CBD, make sure you do your research, as some companies may cut corners.