Top NFL doctors set up conference call with marijuana advocates

Reuters

For months, Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe has been advocating for the NFL to change its marijuana policy, to open the door to research the drug’s possibilities for pain relief.

Finally, it appears the NFL is willing to listen.

In a profile of Monroe by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, it’s mentioned that a pair of the league’s top medical people participated in a conference call with the researchers Monroe has helped fund with his $80,000 donation.

Monroe’s group talked to Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for player health and safety, and neurological surgeon Russell Lonser, a member of the league’s head, neck and spine committee. The league apparently requested the call.

They are interested in learning more about the potential for cannabinoids to help current and former players, as is evidenced by them taking the call, and also expressed a desire to learn more,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine. “They are definitely showing genuine curiosity, and they are definitely not throwing up roadblocks.”

While that’s far from an endorsement, the mere recognition of the possibility is a huge step for the NFL. Previously, commissioner Roger Goodell’s answer has been a solid “I’ll listen to my doctors, but no” on any marijuana-related questions, despite the fact it’s legal for recreational use in two of the cities he does business in.

But Monroe’s appeal on behalf of the drug’s medicinal rather than psychoactive properties is apparently earning some degree of traction, and he understands why he’s on a bit of an island at the moment, the only active player taking an active role for the cause.

“To this point, I understand why no one but me as an active player has said anything about it,” the Ravens tackle said. “It’s a banned substance in our league. Speaking about it can honestly ruin someone’s career if the wrong team gets wind of it, and has adverse opinions on it. But my health is more important than the opinion of someone who could be my employer now or my future employer. . . .

“There’s enough anecdotal evidence already to say, ‘Hey listen, we know it’s not toxic. We know it’s safer than what we’re already doing.’ ”

And for a change, the NFL appears to be willing to listen.

26 responses to “Top NFL doctors set up conference call with marijuana advocates

  1. MARIJUANA IS ALREADY USED BY THE MAJORITY OF TOP SPORTS PEOPLE EVERYWHERE:

    “By my estimate 75 to 80 percent of athletes use marijuana in the NBA.”
    —Former Chicago Bulls guard and three-time Duke All-American Jay Williams

    “Everybody thinks that if you did this random testing you’d catch so many guys on PEDs. No, you’d catch more of the guys on marijuana. So [we’ve got] 475 guys under contract and 400 of them would be out with marijuana [suspensions].”
    —Dana White, president of the UFC.

    “At least a good 50 [US] Olympic athletes use marijuana regularly before they stop in time for testing.”
    —Stephany Lee

    “I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason”
    —Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin’s ESPN show.

    “You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?”
    —Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)

    “I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,”
    —WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam

    * Even many of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa’s cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.

  2. The NFL has never shied away from painkillers of any kind or from advertising for beer and cannabinoids certainly don’t appear to be performance enhancers.

    I can just imagine Peyton Manning’s new advertising campaign: “This Bud’s for you.”

  3. The league will never go for it – it makes too much sense. Plus they’d have to admit that that their previous policy was less than ideal.

    The doctors will be in a tough position though. They’re logical and have a responsibility to their patients (in theory). (With the exception of the hacks who are only there to do the owners bidding, to get cool swag, and to be associated with professional athletes.)

    In the coming weeks, the republican controlled state of Ohio will be the 25th state to legalize weed for medical purposes with maybe 4-5 more states to follow in 2016.

    The only scenario that I see the NFL changing its rules is if the Obama administration reschedules it from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug. This would give the owners air cover to make a timid ruling that state law applies and that the CBA should be renegotiated. At least that’s what Ricky William tells me.

  4. Never been a user of weed, but I’ll take players on the “wacky tobacky” any day over one who has ingested alcohol at excessive levels. And ask Prince what abuse of strong painkillers can do for you.

  5. I am not spending $200 a ticket to watch a bunch of stoned morons bumble around and drop passes and handoffs. I can see that for free at my local park.

  6. One would think that the NFLPA would be involved and supporting Monroe. This issue is something many union members are if favor of. I suppose they’re far too busy fighting for the rights of child abusers, wider beaters, criminals, and cheaters. Funny how Monroe was able to start this discussion and get feedback from the NFL while DeMaurice Smith seemingly can’t even be civil with the league.
    Good for Monroe though!

  7. “And for a change, the NFL appears to be willing to listen”

    The league is probably willing to do more than listen. They probably are willing to give a nice pat on the head too. No matter the potential benefit unless the players are willing to give something up the league isn’t conceding them anything as far as changing the policy.

  8. Monroe: “Hey listen, we know it’s not toxic…”
    ————————–
    Woah dude! It may not be that bad, in moderation, and if you like inhaling it of course you’re gonna feel it helps you cope with pain, and a small amount may have measurable benefits in coping with stress – but all the same things can be said of drinking alcohol (and if it could be regulated like alcohol I’m cool with it being legal). But ultimately, like alcohol, it is a toxin, and long term use is known to cause paranoia or even worse psychological problems. A middle-aged couple I know were regular spliffers from their 20s – both are now off it and whilst he’s ok, she’s full-on mega-paranoid and it’s no laughing matter. Also, we tried it for my disabled mum in the 1990s (who at the time was a smoker, and in chronic pain), she said it made zero difference.

  9. Considering the Physical and mental toll that Football has on Players… It would behoove the NFL to see if there is any validity to these claims… The Drugs these Athletes take to reduce pain can have long term effects that marijuana might not.

  10. Dubes are not what they were in the 60’s and 70’s. The stuff out there now is wicked stuff. In those days, we would buy 4 finger ‘lids’ and it took 4-5 joints to get a buzz..

    About 2 years ago, and I hadn’t smoke for like 30 years or so I was at an outdoor concert and a dube came rolling down the rows and I said to my wife, “you wanna hit? she shrugged and we said what the hell. I took one hit and about hit the floor.

    This stuff is powerful with all the hybrids being produced. I can have a couple beers and party on, but like I said, this recent 90’s, 2000 stuff is hard ass stuff. And like the other poster, I am not going to be happy when dropped passes, wrong line ups etc are because “dude, I thought I was lining up in nickle…sorry bro..”

  11. It’s about time! More forward thinking. I’m tired of seeing bogus punishments on players for doing something that ISN’T wrong to do. I mean sure fine em and bench em if they show up high that’s about it.

  12. streetyson says:
    Jun 6, 2016 8:10 AM
    Monroe: “Hey listen, we know it’s not toxic…”
    ————————–
    Woah dude! It may not be that bad, in moderation, and if you like inhaling it of course you’re gonna feel it helps you cope with pain, and a small amount may have measurable benefits in coping with stress – but all the same things can be said of drinking alcohol (and if it could be regulated like alcohol I’m cool with it being legal). But ultimately, like alcohol, it is a toxin, and long term use is known to cause paranoia or even worse psychological problems. A middle-aged couple I know were regular spliffers from their 20s – both are now off it and whilst he’s ok, she’s full-on mega-paranoid and it’s no laughing matter. Also, we tried it for my disabled mum in the 1990s (who at the time was a smoker, and in chronic pain), she said it made zero difference.
    ——————————————————

    Oh my GOD you sound like the corniest (and most inaccurate) high school educational film. Spliffers? What are you the commercial in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle?! Get out of here with that nonsense. Marijuana is NOT toxic. It is a natural plant. And just like every other substance in existence it’s not for everyone. It’s up to each person to be intelligent enough to determine whether or not a drug works for them or refer to a doctor. Don’t blame a drug because you tried to play doctor but have no idea what you’re doing or how the drug works.

    Did your “mum” use it over an extended period of time or just once or twice and say “Bah it doesn’t work.” It’s common knowledge that it doesn’t always affect you the first couple times, and for some people with clear mental disorders like you couple friends, it can cause an already paranoid person to become more paranoid, yes. That means don’t use it. But for God’s sake, have some intelligence and accept responsibility for your own actions! Don’t blame the drug because you and your friends misused it!

  13. Not surprising that Monroe is turning to drugs after a miserable 5-11 season and no improvement in sight.

  14. People really need to get over the stereo typing.
    I`ve been smoking for 35 years and i`ve been a dependable worker for the same company for 32 years.I played sports until my 40`s with all kinds of aches and pains and havn`t had to go to a doctor in 36 years. It does help.Like anything else it depends on how and when you do things.There are a lot of good things that are bad when abused but if you have self control and use them correctly they can help.
    Acting like players will be high during games and dropping passes and stuff is stupid.Drinking is legal but that doesn`t mean they allow you to do it at work.

  15. crownofthehelmet says:
    Jun 6, 2016 9:38 AM
    Not surprising that Monroe is turning to drugs after a miserable 5-11 season and no improvement in sight.

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    At least he can take solace in those guaranteed couple of wins against the Steelers every year.

  16. The article didn’t mention it so just about ever comment so far has nothing to do with what these talks were about. They talked cannabinoids, the part of Marijuana that does not make you high. If they did approve it they still would not be allowed to smoke marijuana, the cannabinoids is delivered via CBD oil. CBD oil has been approved in many states for treatment of Epilepsy among other things and is not even considered medical marijuana, in fact it can and does (sometimes) get produced using the hemp plant (no THC).

  17. Gotta give Eugene credit for bringing this up legit. Our guys Bell and Bryant smoke their dopes behind the dumpster and then cry like babys when they gets caught. Big respect for Monroe. Just hope he don’t sweep us again this year cause it hurt bad to have Ravens laughing at us.

  18. Thanks, Summitmech for beating me to the punch on the moronic statements by streetyson. Zero toxins in cannabis.

    The Federal Gov’t (yes, the same gov’t that says cannabis has “no medical use”) has PATENTED Cannabidiol (CBD) for “neuroprotectant and anti-inflammatory properties”. So, if one is concerned about brain injury, CBD helps protect and regenerate brain cells.

    Only a brain-lock NFL could stand in lockstep with the feds and try to have it both ways. Players should be using CBD oil (which is made from hemp, not marijuana) along with all their other supplements.

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