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Harvard professor urges NFL to fund medical marijuana studies for CTE treatment

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league would consider allowing players to use medical marijuana if the medicine supports its potential benefits, especially as it relates to concussion treatment.

A Harvard professor believes that the medicine will only get to that point if appropriate studies are funded.  And the Harvard professor believes the NFL should fund a study regarding whether marijuana can treat or prevent Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.

“The extensive research required to definitively determine cannabis’s ability to prevent CTE will require millions of dollars in upfront investment,” Dr. Lester Grinspoon wrote in an open letter to Goodell, via  “[I]t’s highly unlikely that a pharmaceutical company will get involved in studying cannabis as a treatment for CTE, because the plant [and its natural components] can’t be patented.”

Grinspoon, 85, has been an advocate of medical marijuana for decades.

“Given the severity of the problem . . . I think you, and the NFL, must go beyond simply following the medicine, and help lead the way by directly funding research to determine if cannabis . . . can indeed provide significant protection against the damage of repetitive concussions,” Grinspoon wrote to Goodell.

Grinspoon’s letter speaks to the fundamental question of whether the NFL will sit and wait for someone else to figure out whether medical marijuana can help treat or prevent CTE, or whether the NFL is sufficiently committed to the health of players to fully explore this and any other possibility.

Here’s hoping the league adopts the spirit of Dr. Grinspoon’s letter, objectively assessing any possible treatment for CTE and spending money as warranted to explore potential vehicles for helping players reverse or prevent its development.

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31 Responses to “Harvard professor urges NFL to fund medical marijuana studies for CTE treatment”
  1. patsfan1820 says: Mar 4, 2014 11:02 PM

    That’d be weird but somehow awesome if medical marijuana actually helped football players with too many concussions. Hell I’d rather have that than them do pills and drink themselves to death. Just saying.

  2. weaselpuppy says: Mar 4, 2014 11:02 PM

    This is clearly the reason behind the tiny concussion rate in the NBA…

  3. bucrightoff says: Mar 4, 2014 11:07 PM

    Just legalize it already. Holy crap how much money has been wasted against it?

  4. dwhcic says: Mar 4, 2014 11:10 PM

    CALLOUT, Rog.

  5. bennyb82 says: Mar 4, 2014 11:17 PM

    Now if only they could find test subjects who play football and smoke marijuana…

  6. hotrod87 says: Mar 4, 2014 11:24 PM

    Granted, concussions may be different from seizures – but my best friend had seizures quite often growing up, and literally since the day he started smoking pot, he hasn’t had one since. I don’t think it is too farfetched to think pot can help concussions/head trauma too.

  7. drgreenstreak says: Mar 4, 2014 11:32 PM

    Dr Grinspoon is 100% correct. Big pharma companies have nothing to gain in our health-to-the-highest-bidder system.
    The NFL is obligated despite the many excuses they will offer to do nothing.
    I think all NFL locker rooms should have vaporizers and dab gear available in the training rooms.

    note: notice the Dr uses the correct term, “cannabis” instead of the racist and denigrating term, “marijuana”. Seriously. Check the history.

  8. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 4, 2014 11:35 PM

    The best treatment for Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy is the chronic. Makes sense to me.

  9. nfl4days says: Mar 4, 2014 11:40 PM

    The NFL looks down on marijuana but won’t think twice about shooting you up with enough painkillers to completely numb a gorilla.

  10. joshnyc1 says: Mar 4, 2014 11:45 PM

    It’s worth a shot.

  11. rajbais says: Mar 4, 2014 11:46 PM

    Someone’s been hanging out with Kyle Turley.

    Turley was the first ex-player that I ever heard use medical marijuana for CTE treatment. He told this to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

  12. autumnwind999 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:05 AM

    What kind of example does this send to children? Go ahead, smoke another doobie, Professor Pothead.

    Ridiculous what’s happening in this country.

  13. autumnwind999 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:06 AM


  14. randomcommenter says: Mar 5, 2014 12:23 AM

    i would respect these “legalize it” people more if they admitted they just want to smoke weed. But no, they have to launch into an infomercial on all the uses of it like Ron Popeil with a new gadget.

    When alcohol was illegal during prohibition, people were honest about wanting to drink. You didn’t hear brewers trying to tell you that beer was great for polio.

  15. steelers33 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:58 AM

    So the medicine in my joint is anti-cancer, helps autism, relieves migraines, makes peace,and may now prevent CTE. While all alcohol does is cause hangovers, cause fights, and drunk driving. Which one is legal, and which one is illegal? Lol US government

  16. kd75 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:15 AM

    Brandon Browner supports this message…So does Warren Sapp and Randy Moss.

  17. icdogg says: Mar 5, 2014 1:26 AM

    I would like to volunteer for this study.

  18. thekiller678 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:30 AM

    Most people would be surprised if they knew how many conditions medical weed can help treat

  19. Ed Bandell says: Mar 5, 2014 1:38 AM

    Why should the NFL fund this?

    Why not take up a collection from all the pot-smokers out there. After all, most pot-smokers will tell you the most intelligent and most creative people on Earth smoke it, so there should be plenty of money laying around from all of these world famous tokers.

  20. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 5, 2014 1:45 AM

    Lester has been an advocate for decades, at least it seems like decades. Maybe it’s just been a couple of years. He still had the ponytail when he started his advocacy he remembers that much. It was back when his three speed bike was still working… it was hell riding that thing uphill wearing sandals, but goddamn he misses it some times.

  21. ibreathefootball says: Mar 5, 2014 3:15 AM

    Those buds look gorgeous!

  22. dontcensormebro says: Mar 5, 2014 3:46 AM

    “Medical” marijuana = total joke

  23. 4ever85 (aka Butch DeadLift) says: Mar 5, 2014 3:56 AM

    “CTE? What’s that, man? Is that like the new LSD?” – Chong.

  24. natelan69 says: Mar 5, 2014 6:41 AM

    Only losers think weed should be illegal.

  25. coltsreign says: Mar 5, 2014 6:46 AM

    Harvard is useless unless entering law.
    Besides federal money shouldnt be used on studies that mean nothing.

  26. coltsreign says: Mar 5, 2014 6:48 AM

    Oh and lets not forget harvard players contributions to the NFL

  27. 1heatedtoombrayduh says: Mar 5, 2014 7:07 AM

    if goodell really is all about the money, he wont pass up this investment lol

  28. pabrownsfan says: Mar 5, 2014 7:25 AM

    Does anyone think the N.F.L. would spend one dollar from profits to fund that. It is all about greed.

  29. thebraso says: Mar 5, 2014 8:51 AM

    I was posting about this months ago and you guys deleted my posts…

    Once again the US gov holds the patent on the usage for brain trauma. The cool thing it can be altered to remove the THC and increase the CBD levels to treat head injuries. Watch se Sanjay Guptas doc. It is eye opening.

  30. iamedreed says: Mar 5, 2014 12:58 PM

    “What kind of example does this send to children? Go ahead, smoke another doobie, Professor Pothead. ”

    what example does shooting NFL players up with narcotic pain killing INJECTIONS send?

    btw most medical marijuana isn’t even smoked

  31. bonzai2oo says: Mar 5, 2014 1:39 PM

    Harvard has 32.3 BILLION in its endowment fund. Just saying.

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