NFL starts researching medical cannabis use and what this could lead to

Published Aug 9, 2019 12:01 p.m. ET
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Since the legalization of marijuana, there has been many initiatives to conduct research on the benefits of cannabis use. Marijuana use has many health and therapeutic benefits. Cannabis research also finds that compounds found in cannabis can help to treat ailments such as pain and anxiety.

The NFL and NFL Players Association have decided to conduct research on marijuana as a medicine to treat pain in players. The stigma, as well as illegality under federal law of cannabis, may prevent more research on the benefits of the plant.

Two medical committees are being formed to analyse the data and make a recommendation on the potential of cannabis in pain management.

NFL’s current policy

This could lead to a change in the NFL’s policy and approach to cannabis. Now, marijuana is among the other drugs on the list of prohibited drugs. Players can face penalties if they use marijuana, irrespective of their reasons for using it. It is reported that some players have been penalized for using marijuana to help relieve their pain caused by the sport. These players are frustrated with the NFL’s restrictive policies.

American football is a physical sport that can leave players with injuries and pain for life. As a result, many players have attested that marijuana has helped them to deal with their injuries better than prescription drugs.

The work of the committees

League and union officials confirmed that the committee would start its operation very soon. If policy changes take place, then it would take place through the annual negotiation forum or collective bargaining. The committees will be centered around pain management and mental health. The pain management aspect does not only relate to marijuana. Allen Sills, the chief medical officer for the league, said that the pain management committee has already been directed to keep an open mind about any possible suggestions.


Furthermore, Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, also stated that they are considering the use of marijuana as a means of managing pain. This depends on the validity of experts. A pain management specialist will be employed to work alongside players and the league in the 2019 season.

Effects of Marijuana and the NFL’s decision

Marijuana has been proven by scientific and anecdotal evidence to relieve pain. The two cannabinoids, THC and CBD, found in cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system, and so it can help to fight against many diseases. As such, the effects of marijuana are not limited to pain.

The NFL’s decision will have a positive impact on the sport of football and the players. If the players are fit and well physically, then they will be able to perform to their fullest. Marijuana will be able to help players with pain and anxiety issues. The amount of money spent on pharmaceutical drugs can be saved. These pharmaceutical drugs can cause addiction and immunity. Therefore, when a player’s body gets familiar with pain medications, then it will become immune to the medication. Also, if the NFL is concerned about the side effects of marijuana, such as getting a person ‘high’, then they can allow the use of CBD products for medical use. They are considering that CBD is non-psychoactive, and it has similar therapeutic benefits like THC.

The NFL’s decision to research cannabis use will bring more light on the benefits of cannabis, and this may bring recognition to the medical benefits that can be derived from the plant.

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