NFL player, Seantrel Henderson, Buffalo Bills lineman, is facing his second suspension this season on the grounds of overstepping substance abuse rules because he uses cannabis for his Crohn’s disease.
Is there any chance NFL drug policy might be swayed by Seantrel Henderson’s case of using cannabis for Crohn’s?
Attitudes are changing, with marijuana being legalized around the world, but NFL players are expected to remain drug-dree, although Opioids are permitted. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) announced its investigation into the possibility of allowing players to use cannabis for pain management.
Although medical marijuana is legal in half of the US states, the NFL has a strict policy prohibiting players from using medicinal marijuana.
Henderson chose not to appeal after the first suspension he received in September. He underwent surgery in January when a big part of his colon was removed, and in April, his intestine had to be reattached.
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Will Henderson appeal this time?
The NFL player is expected to appeal on the second suspension of 10 games for his second offense using a banned substance. The NFL will decide his punishment shortly, but his agent, Brian Fettner, says there is no medical exception that the NFL will accept, compassionately or not.
Many NFL players are finding medical marijuana a natural alternative to opioids, not just to manage pain, but also to replace anti-inflammatory medicines. Players are starting to push the NFL and the NFLPA to reconsider rules on marijuana. Everything they are allowed to use, from opioids to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, has serious side effects.
Another major cause of concern for NFL players, apart from opioid addiction and pain management, is the neuro protective and even neuro-regenerative abilities of cannabis, considering the amount of times they suffer concussion.
Crohn’s is debilitating
24-year-old Henderson missed the last five games in the 2015 season because of the debilitating effects of Crohn’s disease, which ended in surgery.
Eugene Monroe, former NFL player, and an ardent advocate for medical marijuana as a painkiller, explains the dangers of opioids leading to addiction, damage of vital organs and overdose. It has not been proved that cannabis is dangerously addictive, and it most certainly won’t cause death. Cannabis treats pain as effectively as painkillers, and when opioids are really necessary, for example after players were operated on, cannabis will reduces the opioid dose and the possibility of becoming addicted.
CBD for pain and inflammation
THC, one of 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis is the compound causing the recreational “high” when it is heated. CBD, on the other hand, is an anti-inflammatory and provides relief from pain. It is extracted as oil, and is dispensed in drops, or pills that render no “high”.
Monroe says most of what he was told about cannabis is untrue: how harmful it is, was blown out of proportion, and the medical benefits it has were completely ignored.
Cannabis for Crohn’s disease
It seems unlikely that increased information and fast changing attitudes will come through to help Henderson this season. Cannabis for Crohn’s disease will though, as it is his best bet for living a normal life and to lessen his pain.
Independent trials suggest cannabis brings about remission in Crohn’s disease sufferers as most patients reported improvement in pain and abdominal cramps.