NFL Players Seek Change in League’s Marijuana Policy Following MLB Doing So
With the MLB easing its policy on marijuana use, players in the NFL are hoping that, and asking for their league to do the same.
Major League Baseball (MLB) removed natural cannabinoids and marijuana from its “Drugs of Abuse” list last month. Now, former football players told Reuters a similar policy would be a positive step for management of chronic pain in the NFL.
“The landscape around all professional sports is sort of leaning that way,” said Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos. “Now how fast the NFL gets there, I’m not sure.”
In May, Davis co-founded a new sports drink infused with CBD known as DEFY, after becoming convinced of the cannabis-derived compound’s benefits. As noted by a Reuters report, the NFL has firm rules regarding banned substances, with players regularly receiving suspensions for marijuana and alcohol violations.
Davis, who retired during the 2002 preseason, said adopting a policy similar to MLB’s would improve players’ quality of life.
“The bottom line is just to give players choices,” said Davis. “To be able to say, ‘hey, you’re not forced to take just one kind of anti-inflammatory.’”
Reuters states that several other former NFL players have gotten into the CBD business after their careers ended, including three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, who partnered with topical medication firm Abacus Health in 2019.
“It’s not going to do miracle work and heal your injuries like that but I believe it will help give you a relief,” said Gronkowski, who advocates the inclusion of CBD in all professional sports. “Especially in the football, you’re always getting muscle tissue damage from all the hits.”
One of the highest-performing tight ends in the history of the sport, the 30-year-old former New England Patriot struggled through numerous injuries and underwent surgeries for his ankle, forearm, back and ACL/MCL during his career.
“With the MLB lifting its ban, it’s just a fantastic start, and it would be wonderful to see like NFL and other major sports organizations to start following the lead of the MLB and lifting up that ban,” Gronkowski said.
“This month, the Pain Management Committee of the NFL and the players’ union held a forum to examine the potential for CBD to become a permitted substance”.
Dr. Michael Oshinsky, a program director who oversees pains and migraine research at the National Institutes of Health, told Reuters evidence remains thin to back up many benefits claimed by CBD advocates.
“When it comes to pain, because of that subjective nature of it, the patient has a lot of control over what they perceive,” said Oshinsky.
“Maybe a bit for inflammation, there’s some evidence,” he added, but “there’s enough for us to know it’s not some miracle cure for pain.”
On the topic of marijuana and CBD, the league told reporters last week that “everything is under consideration” in regard to different forms of therapy to help in treat pain.
“If we are going to recommend or approve any kind of therapy for NFL players, again, whether it’s equipment or treatment or intervention, we’d have to pass an extremely high standard of proof,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer.
Some battle-worn veterans of the NFL say having the option to use CBD products should be in the hands of the players.
“(I) literally limped away from the game when I was done,” said three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu, whose six-season career with the Seattle Seahawks was “decimated” by injuries.