League, union should embrace marijuana study for pain management

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In recent weeks, plenty of chatter has emerged regarding the potential benefits of marijuana use for pain management in football players. Ultimately, any action in this regard will require the NFL and NFL Players Association to do something that doesn’t happen very often: Reach an agreement.

Years ago, the two sides agreed to make marijuana a banned substance. Unless and until that changes, any player who uses marijuana for any purpose runs the risk of a positive test and, after a sufficient number of positive tests, a suspension and, after a sufficient number of suspensions, a permanent banishment with the ability to apply for reinstatement after a year.

Subbing for Peter King of TheMMQB.com, former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer outlines the current plan for studying the potential benefits of a specific type of compound derived from marijuana. It’s called Charlotte’s Web, an extract of hemp that is high in CBD. Known technically as cannabidiol, Plummer explains that CBD is a “non-toxic, non-addictive, non-psychoactive naturally occurring in cannabis.”

Plummer claims that CBD alleviated his joint pain and headaches. He also outlines the desired approach for determining whether CBD will help current players.

The NFL’s position is that, under the labor laws, the union not the league has the power to provide access to players. The NFLPA, according to Plummer, seems to be inclined to consider giving access to the players.

If/when that happens (and due to the efforts of current players Eugene Monroe and Derrick Morgan), doctors at Johns Hopkins and Penn will be prepared to first to assess the compounds specific players are using for pain management and then administering CBD in order to “track and analyze their recovery time from concussions and injuries, how they heal after an injury and how they’re mentally coping with the demands and rigors of an NFL season.”

It’s a great plan, but it still will violate the substance-abuse policy if players use cannabis products. The fact that CBD contains only “trace amounts” (per Plummer) of THC, the specific compound that drug testing detects, could make it easier for players to use CBD and not test positive.

Then there’s the largely unspoken reality of substance-abuse testing. Unlike the PED policy, which subjects players to random tests at any point on the calendar, players have a clearly-defined window from late April to early August of when their annual substance-abuse test will be imposed. For players not in the program (where testing is more frequent), providing a clean sample in that once-per-year test amounts to a green light to use as much marijuana as they want. Unless they get arrested for marijuana possession or have a bag of it fall out of their letterman jackets during a visit to the league office, there will be no consequences.

The better approach would be for the league and the union to come to an agreement regarding the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Given the push-and-pull of labor negotiations, however, this could prompt the owners to sit back, fold their arms, and wait to see what the union will offer in order to make that happen. If the owners truly care about the health, safety, and welfare of players, they won’t.

This would potentially be the ultimate win-win for management and labor, freeing players from the problems associated with traditional pain-killers (problems that currently are the league’s problem, too) and giving players a way to deal with pain and recover from injury safely, effectively, and without risk of addiction.

39 responses to “League, union should embrace marijuana study for pain management

  1. I have nothing against smoking pot, I don’t really get why it’s a big deal and it should be legal for adults, it’s really fun to get high. However stop pretending pot is about anything more than getting high. The pot evangelicals are some of the most annoying people on earth.

  2. “The Enforcer” will never go for this he is a science and Mother Nature denier, he believes it is better to be driving 143 miles per hour with a gun and a 12 year old in the car (1 game) or dragging your unconscious wife out of an elevator (2 games) than smoking a harmless herb that will help with pain relief and concussions but get you a year long suspension….better to go to the team doctor and get your percocets or oxycodone.

  3. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that CBD does help. What they don’t know is if there’s any long term consequences to using it.

  4. My girlfriend is suffering horribly for over a year now tapering off of a benzodiazepine she’s been prescribed her entire adult life. She’s never abused it, only took it as directed, and I’ll skip the science, but some science-y stuff happens and it begins to CAUSE severe depression and amplifying the anxiety it’s supposed to stop. You can’t just quit, you have to wean yourself off, it’s worse than heroin withdrawal. It wreaks havoc on your central nervous system and cause all kinds of wild symptoms. If she so much as drinks water or tried to eat small amounts of bland foods, her stomach can distend and bloat out like she was pregnant. I’m telling you, I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own two eyes, but it’s real. She has no appetite and of course is scared to eat with the possible painful side effects. Most doctors and psychiatrists no nothing about this, she’s had to educate them from her own research. She gets misdiagnosed with lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc, depending on her symptoms that day of her doctor’s appointments, and the majority are too arrogant to be convinced to the contrary. I’d implore anyone who reads this who takes benzos or knows someone who does, to take the measures to stop ASAP. Anyway, the point is that my girlfriend got a medical marijuana prescription and it’s done wonders for her. She’s no stoner, and the active cannabinoid CBD is what helps her, which produces no “high”, you just get the symptom relief. The stuff works, plain and simple. The NFL would be wise to look into this for pain management. It’s much better than painkillers. Remember, just because it comes in a bottle from your doctor doesn’t mean it’s good for you!

  5. I’ve been using it to manage arthritic pain for almost 30 years. Not as effective as the opium based products, but its not addictive and reduces the pain to bearable levels.

  6. However stop pretending pot is about anything more than getting high.
    ——–
    Here’s the thing….cbd doesn’t get you high, thc does. So your theory goes out the window. Good quality cbd oil from hemp contains no thc. I have some in an e cig next to me. Great for joint pain and headaches. Does not give you any kind of high though.

  7. Reefer Madness is more dangerous than the reefer itself. If a beat up professional football player says he feels better by smoking marijuana, why in the world would anyone say he’s wrong to have that opinion? It is Independence Day after all, live and let live.

  8. pkrlvr – This debate, no matter how it’s framed, is about nothing more than smoking pot. Just plain old pot like you buy from your friend that knows a guy. It gets you high. It’s fun. It shouldn’t be illegal. I don’t care if players want to get high. However it’s not a magic elixir.

  9. Masking pain is not curing or healing. Medical Marijuana laws are a joke in practice, just a legal way to get drugs.

    I would have more respect for a state if it would legalize marijuana for all uses than masking a legalizing law as for medicinal purposes.

    What is faked more, the ailments supposedly being treated by marijuana or the ailments supposedly treated by “service dogs”.

    So tell me. If I break down after years of opposition and say “just legalize it already” what do I say to the next group that wants the same for heroin, LSD or Meth?

    I suppose the fear is that there are drugs that grab people so hard and don’t release them that they rob stores etc. to get some money for some more drugs.

  10. Cbd’s are non-psychoactive. You don’t get them in large amounts by smoking.
    Look for a documentary on the “tube ” called leaf, and educate others around you.

  11. Juicing the leaves of a plant doesn’t require stereotypes, or pot jokes, or getting “high” for that matter. Read the open letter from a Harvard professor to Roger “fidel” goodell, as popi would say…..

  12. What a crock! There are dozens of meds that work better than marijuana for pain management. Junkies are always looking for reasons to use it legally. Keep in mind that it’s a gateway drug that leads to cocaine and heroin addiction. Since OTC meds don’t lead to addiction, why not just use them?

  13. Nope, bad idea. it will become the new adderall amongst NFL players. Going to be hard to test for the legit stuff from the non legit stuff.

  14. davewr58, Please give me the names of the “better” drugs.
    Only ignorant people still think it is a gateway drug. Educate yourself please.

  15. Cbd’s attach to brain transmitters and communicate with cells in a human body.
    Then , they go to work wherever the brain sends them. They don’t mask pain, they heal cells.

  16. Lester Grinspoon M.D.
    Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry
    Harvard Medical School

    I’ll take his word over Bayer asprin.

  17. bigredgoog says:
    Jul 4, 2016 1:30 PM
    Masking pain is not curing or healing. Medical Marijuana laws are a joke in practice, just a legal way to get drugs.

    So tell me. If I break down after years of opposition and say “just legalize it already” what do I say to the next group that wants the same for heroin, LSD or Meth?
    __________________________________

    Mmm, in case you didn’t know the facts; marijuana is the ONLY drugs in the world, that you can’t ever overdose, EVER. you can smoke it 24/7 and you won’t ever die. It is 1 of the safest drug, and yet they made alcohol legal which you can get alcohol poisoning if drink too much.

    In my honest opinion, weed and alcohol has almost similar effect, but being stoned has way better control of yourself than being drunk. you can’t drink drunk but can drive while stoned. I really don’t understand why not many people realizing the benfits of the marijuana, since we live in the best technology years.

  18. davewr58……that post has to be a joke. Cigarettes, alcohol and prescription drugs are the gateway drugs…you probably think “Reefer Madness” was a documentary.

  19. Alright, seriously. There’s no such thing as a wonder drug that’s perfect for everyone, not even medical marijuana. It’s a mild hallucinogenic, so anyone with a personal or family history of being schizophrenic (who already have hallucinogenic tendencies to begin with) shouldn’t use it. Neither should people with high blood pressure, because it can make that worse. I’m sure there are others.

    That said, there are some medical areas where cannabinoids help and some of them are listed in the qualifying conditions. In my state they are glaucoma, anyone who’s ever had cancer, hepatitis c, some back conditions, etc etc. Pain management has already been mentioned. Appetite is part of the reason with cancer. I’ve also seen where researchers think cannabinoids can help with slowing the spread of brain cancer. At any rate, that’s quite a list.

    To be against further research is ethicly and arrogantly stupid.

  20. Oh yeah, I just found out this, which will be the biggest breakthrough in weed history;

    5 days ago – The researchers found that high levels of amyloid beta were … They demonstrated that exposing the cells to THC reduced amyloid beta … Brain cells have switches known as receptors that can be activated by … Alzheimer’s drug candidate may be first to prevent disease progression.

  21. They wouldn’t be good owners if they let their players do what they wanted in their spare time.

  22. rodvmunchiii says:
    Jul 4, 2016 1:20 PM

    pkrlvr – This debate, no matter how it’s framed, is about nothing more than smoking pot. Just plain old pot like you buy from your friend that knows a guy. It gets you high. It’s fun. It shouldn’t be illegal. I don’t care if players want to get high. However it’s not a magic elixir.

    ************************************************
    This is the kind of thinking that refer madness produced, but slowly that generation is dying off (not trying to he a hater just the facts) and the majority will be much more acceptance to “real” study’s about its potential benefits.

  23. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.

    Evolution says cannabis is better than any opiod.

  24. Right or wrong, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level and, as we’ve seen in the past, the NFL is reactionary on all major issues (eg domestic violence) , not proactive. The NFL will do nothing except continue to collect billions in revenue. End of story.

  25. Since marijuana is so completely harmless are you OK with your pilot smoking a joint before he takes off or surgeon lighting up before he performs a surgery? You are lying if you say anything other than No. The “medicinal” argument is such a joke. What medicine do you know of that you have absolutely no clue how much you are intaking? If cannaboids essential action can be made into a specific dosage and delivered in a pill then we can actually get somewhere.

  26. Standards are slowly eroding in this country and now we have the (most likely unhealthy, unmotivated and unemployed) libs screaming it should be ok to smoke pot.

    What is happening to this country? Seriously?

    Sigh.

  27. Sorry to burst the collective dope smoking bubble here but the NFL will not be able to change its designation for pot until every state makes it legal for medicinal use or otherwise the NFL will be guilty of a RICO statute violation for promoting felony drug use. Until the federal government makes it legal for medical use across the whole country the NFL can not do anything. And the chances of the federal government doing that anytime in the near future is not happening so the NFL and NFLPA can go off on a tangent on smoking pot but until the federal government clears it for use in the country, there will be little to nothing the league or union can do about it.

  28. The government is still trying to convince everyone that marijuana is an evil, evil thing, but almost every day I see a new TV commercial about some new drug that is supposed to improve your quality of life, but has a long list of side effects. Painkillers have killed a lot of people, yet I’ve never heard of anyone dying from ingesting marijuana.

  29. davewr58 says:
    Jul 4, 2016 2:07 PM

    Keep in mind that it’s a gateway drug that leads to cocaine and heroin addiction…?

    Hey Dave,

    the 60ies are calling and want their propaganda back…SMH

  30. icallitlikeiseeit67 says:
    This is the kind of thinking that refer madness produced, but slowly that generation is dying off (not trying to he a hater just the facts) and the majority will be much more acceptance to “real” study’s about its potential benefits.

    ************************************************

    Actually it comes from using it and knowing plenty of people that do as well. Did you miss the entire part about I’m fine with it being legal, the NFL shouldn’t test for, I don’t care if people do it or not. How exactly does that jive with refer madness, something which I’ve never even seen?

    The “real” benefits of pot might be real, I’m not even saying it isn’t. However this discussion isn’t about any high level stuff (no pun intended). It’s about smoking pot because you want to smoke pot, which is something any adult should have the right to do. But it’s not a cause, it’s no miracle drug – people smoke pot because life is at times more fun when you’re high. Hey when I’ve taken LSD I’m a much better artist, when I drink a ton and sit down to do creative work I get a lot more done in a short period of time, when I take ambien I’ll often just clean my kitchen and wake up and be like wow, my kitchen is clean, awesome. That doesn’t mean they’re miracle drugs no matter how much I like them or want them to be.

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