NHL Drug Suspensions For Marijuana Makes No Sense — NHL Drug Policy Not Changing

NHL Drug Suspensions For Marijuana to Continue — NHL Drug Policy Not Changing

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says NHL drug suspensions for marijuana will continue after the legalization of cannabis in Canada on Oct. 17.

Daly said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that the move won’t affect the NHL drug policy what so ever. Daly said the league tests for marijuana but a positive test by itself does not necessarily lead to a suspension.

Rather than altering their stance, Daly said the league and the NHLPA are ramping up efforts to educate players about the details. While NHL drug policy is universal across the league, some teams have set standards based on the legality of marijuana in their home state. For instance, Colorado, home to the Avalanche, allows some use of cannabis.

The NHL currently has seven teams based in Canada. It is unknown whether any of these franchises plan on defying NHL drug policy as well and allowing marijuana use amongst their players after legalization.

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Why NHL Drug Suspensions for Marijuana Make No Sense

North American society expects the finest from its athletes; The finest performances every game, access to their lives in and out of the arena, and a friendly chipper attitude whenever a camera is thrust into their face at a moment’s notice. Children idolize professional athletes and as a result, we expect nothing less than perfection.

The athletes of the NHL are breaking down their bodies and sacrificing their physical and mental health for the public’s entertainment. In return, it is only fair that NHL drug policy permits them to recover in the most effective ways possible.

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CBD and Recovery

CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the key chemical components of marijuana. Medical research has determined that this compound is essential for the health and wellbeing of performance athletes. This is because CBD as well as THC, have been proven to reduce inflammation, thus enabling an overtaxed body to function at optimal capacity.

Inflimation has also been linked to a number of devastating health conditions including cancers, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. NHL drug suspensions for marijuana prevent hockey players from effectively treating this inflammation which can deteriorate their long-term health in devastating fashion.

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Marijuana and Concussions

Jaff Parker, former NHL player, Weed and the NHL
Jeff Parker is the latest NHL player to be posthumously diagnosed with CTE. NHL drug policy on Marijuana prevents the effective treatment of such degenerative brain conditions (image via daily mail)

CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a degenerative brain condition caused by repeated concussive and, or sub-concussive blows to the head. With the recent postmortem diagnosis of former NHL player Jeff Parker, seven players have now been diagnosed with the condition. With the violent nature of the sport, this number is sure to increase as our understanding of the brain becomes more sophisticated.

While by no means a cure for CTE, marijuana extracts containing high amounts of CBD are essential in the treatment of concussions. The inflammation associated with a concussion can be effectively remedied with this substance.

Additionally, cannabis has been shown to be neuroprotective. Neuroprotective substances prevent the death of brain cells and aid in the removal of plaque and harmful proteins from the brain. Plaque builds up and so do the harmful proteins beta-amyloid and tau. These compounds are associated with many degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and CTE.


Times are changing, and with it so should NHL drug policy. As NHL drug suspensions for marijuana continue, the league is committing a grave injustice towards athletes. With legalization in October, hockey players should be allowed to enjoy marijuana, just like every other self-respecting Canadian.

By: Stefan Hosko
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