The National Football League will invest in research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for players in a newly formed commission.
The NFL and the players union announced a $1,000,000 grant for research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and CBD for pain management. An NFL-NFLPA’s Joint Pain Management Committee (PMC) rep agreed that, “clearly there are a lot of great ideas in this space and there’s a lot of important research that needs to be funded.”
Players have often had to lean on opioids in the case of serious injuries while cannabis is still frowned upon in the world of sports, as we saw with Sha’Carri Richardson. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug which PMC co-chair Dr. Kevin Hill said is a large reason why more research hasn’t gone into the plant’s medicinal benefits for players. “[Federal prohibition] definitely adversely affects the level of research that is allowed,” Hill told Marijuana Moment.
“You have a lot of folks—both states and companies—who are profiting considerably through the sale of cannabis and other cannabinoids, and most of those groups are not contributing to the science,” he said. “I think that’s one of the great things about this request for proposals is that obviously the players are stakeholders and we want them to have the best in terms of pain management, so we’re interested in trying to find out some of the answers that people have been saying that they’re interested in for a number of years.”
The league’s grant program specifically wants to look into three areas: cannabinoids on pain for players, how cannabinoids and non-pharmaceutical drugs affect pain in the top players, and how elite NFL players’ performance is affected by cannabis.
It’s another sign that the league is changing its stance on cannabis. Last year, the drug testing policy changed to the benefit of the players so that they will no longer face suspension if they test positive for cannabis. Expect to see a lot more NFL stars promoting cannabis supplies in the near future.