Study Shows 87 of 91 Former NFL Players Have Rare Brain Disease; Could Cannabis Help?

football2By Derek Rosenfeld, Drug Policy Alliance

The NFL is back and I’m very excited about the upcoming season. But there is something that I have become more aware of recently that I can’t help but think about while watching the game – the issue of concussions, their effects on the brain, and how medical marijuana can help play a role in treating the problem.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows football players at any level, especially ones who repeatedly use their head to hit another player, can eventually develop a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The leading researchers studying the brains of deceased football players just released new figures showing they have found evidence of CTE in 87 out of 91 brains of former NFL players. The disease can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia. The powerful special produced by PBS’ Frontline, “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” first opened my eyes to the gravity of the issue.

Read moreStudy Shows 87 of 91 Former NFL Players Have Rare Brain Disease; Could Cannabis Help?

Harvard Professor Calls on NFL to Stop Drug Testing Players for Cannabis, Study its Use for Treating Concussions

Harvard professor emeritus Dr. Lester Grinspoon – author of “Marihuana Reconsidered” – has published an open-letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, urging him to allow the use ofnfl cannabis for treating concussions (or to at least study the issue), and to “immediately stop subjecting players to drug tests for marijuana”.

“As both a medical doctor and one of millions of fans who enjoy professional football as a spectator sport, I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the growing specter that many of the athletes I cheer from the sidelines will one day pay the steep price of developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) due to concussions and other repetitive brain injuries incurred in the course of their profession”, begins Dr. Grinspoon’s letter.

Read moreHarvard Professor Calls on NFL to Stop Drug Testing Players for Cannabis, Study its Use for Treating Concussions

NFL Commissioner Open to Players Using Medical Cannabis

Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), has made hisnfl first ever public comments surrounding medical cannabis consumption among players, saying that he’s open to a change in the league’s rules which would allow its use in states where its legal.

“I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next  for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine”, said Goodell in an interview with ESPN, when asked about the league’s policy which results in a suspension if a player is caught using cannabis for any purpose, even if they’re a qualified medical cannabis patient in a state where it’s legal.

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