A confidential survey was conducted by ESPN asking 226 AFC and NFL players about their true take on cannabis use in the league. The players were promised that no names would be mentioned, and answers were anonymous.
Cannabis for pain gets a “yes”
ABC News published the results of the ESPN survey that was conducted to determine if NFL players would rather use medical cannabis than opioids for pain if they could.
The survey results showed a mostly positive view of cannabis. The answer to the first question: should medical marijuana be legal in all states, got an overwhelming “yes” from 79% of players.
Most players said they didn’t know of any teammates using marijuana before games even though they didn’t consider it difficult to beat the NFL’s testing system for recreational drugs. Only 17% of players said they have used medical marijuana to help them recover from concussion symptoms, and 48% said they thought a teammate were addicted to painkillers.
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If medical cannabis were allowed, fewer players would use painkillers
When they were asked what would they rather use, medical marijuana or Toradol, 57% said Toradol and 43% said marijuana. But 59% of players do worry about long-term effects of painkillers, and 61% of players were convinced that if medical marijuana were allowed, fewer players would take painkillers.
The players were asked which is better for recovery and pain control: marijuana or painkillers? 41% said marijuana, 32% said painkillers and 27% said neither. The average answer to the question of how many players take painkillers on a regular basis was that 46% use painkillers regularly.
The conclusion drawn form the survey was that NLF players are pro medicinal cannabis, and that if they were allowed, and educated on the use of medical marijuana for pain and recovery after concussion, they would probably rather use it than painkillers.
CBD shows neuro-protective effects
Non-psychoactive CBD, or cannabidiol, shows neuro-protective neurogenic effects, which suggests that cannabis could be used to counteract the effects of brain injury. A study by Tel Aviv University showed that cannabis can protect brain cells and preserve cognitive functions post-head-injury because of these neuro-protective qualities.
NLF players suffer the effects of brain injuries long after they have retired. Each year more players are added to the long list of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) sufferers. CTE can show up within months, years, or decades after the last brain trauma. It can result in memory loss, impaired judgment, confusion, aggression, impulse control problems, depression, and progressive dementia.
Cannabis for pain: a safer option?
CBD provides relief from pain caused by inflammation, which is what causes most joint aches and pain. Yet federal medical marijuana policies and NFL drug rules forbid players to use cannabis for pain relief and therapeutic purposes. Instead, they are allowed to use opioids.