Retired NFL Players Bring Weed to the Super Bowl

Retired NFL players held a pro-marijuana event on Wednesday night to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis use in treating chronic pain and traumatic brain injury. The event, Cannabis in Professional Sports, hoped to capitalize on the upcoming Super Bowl and to persuade the NFL Players’ Association to change their drug policy and lift the ban on marijuana.

Football players sustain repeated concussions throughout their career, often resulting in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes brain degeneration that is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia. Other injuries cause debilitating chronic pain. Unfortunately, physicians in the NFL have treated pain with powerful opioids, putting players at risk for addiction.

Both CBD and THC have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and there’s even evidence that CBD can be used to treat CTE, but so far the league hasn’t budged from their anti-marijuana stance.

Former NFL tight end, Nate Jackson, says that the NFLPA, “has always been concerned about its public image, but when it comes to cannabis they’re really misinformed. The league is largely run by older, wealthy men who grew up hearing about the evils of cannabis so there’s a generational gap to contend with Let’s see what happens when the league is presented with a study showing the effects of cannabis use on its players and comparing the results to what the opiates and other league-approved pharmaceuticals, which are passed out like candy, do to players. ”

The NFLPA requires players to submit to urine tests in the off-season, and they are prohibited from having more than 35 nanograms per milliliter of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance in marijuana that gets users high. The limit was last set in 2014, when the NFL and union agreed to change the substance abuse policy and raise the limit from 15 ng/mL of THC. The punishment for testing positive for marijuana include fines, suspension, or banishment from the league.

Speakers at the event included physicians and former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Kyle Turley, former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson and former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton.

 

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