The NFL’s War on Cannabis


In Week 16 of the 2012 NFL season, Calvin Johnson, improved identified by his Transformers-inspired nickname “Megatron,” broke the all-time single season getting yards record. It was one particular of a quantity of otherworldly statistics that the future hall of famer place up in his illustrious 9 year profession. Johnson retired following the 2016 season, a year in which he had more than 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. He cited the mounting quantity of serious injuries brought on by a life of football as his explanation for retirement. Johnson told ESPN in 2016, “Look, man. I got stuff that is going to hurt for the rest of my life. I got a finger that is actually bone-on-bone.”

The NFL’s Personal Opioid Crisis

Calvin Johnson’s skills on the football field had been unmatched amongst NFL players. His discomfort and quantity of injuries had been not. The typical length of an NFL profession is a measly three.three years and the players who are “lucky” sufficient to have a extended and statistically thriving profession have scars that will final a lifetime. No matter how numerous injuries a player sustains, it is their job to keep on the field at all fees. To do so, numerous players are forced to play by means of excruciating discomfort. Usually, the only way players are capable to fight by means of the discomfort and get back on the field is to use higher-strength painkillers.

The use of painkillers is the NFL’s dirty not-so-secret. According to a survey performed by the Washington State University College of Medicine in St. Louis, “51% of retired NFL players say they had utilised opioids through their playing profession.” The survey also located, “71% of these players met the criteria for misuse of opioids.”

Even in a nation that is in the midst of an opioid crisis, NFL players are four instances much more most likely to use opioids than the basic population. The quantity of players who have abused opioids is frightening but what is even much more regarding is the NFL’s inaction on the concern. The NFL has not taken any important actions toward combating the overprescription and overuse of opioids by its players. The greatest explanation players use cannabis is to treat the physical discomfort they endure on the field. When the severity of bodily injuries can’t be denied, it is the hidden injuries that are the most regarding and need to have to be addressed.

Hidden Trauma

Brain injuries are as considerably a aspect of football as scoring touchdowns. In truth, all through their careers most experienced football players will endure much more diagnosed concussions than they will score touchdowns. The previously outlined Washington State University College of Medicine in St. Louis survey located that the typical quantity of concussions suffered by retired NFL players was nine. The survey revealed that some players mentioned that they had up to 200. Of the survey’s respondents, 49% had been diagnosed with concussions by a healthcare experienced and a different 81% think they had suffered concussions that went undiagnosed. The concussion crisis has currently expense the NFL more than $680,000,000 in monetary settlements and the lawsuits will most likely continue to add up.

Cannabis, and especially cannabidiol (CBD) has neuroprotective qualities that make it a promising substance for NFL players. In one particular study, CBD was located to minimize brain harm in mice who had suffered strokes. When the distinction in harm completed by a football-associated concussion and stroke is vast, the study does establish a benchmark for applying CBD as a neuroprotectant. The NFL should really be undertaking every little thing in its energy to study and fully grasp the neuroprotective qualities of cannabis. If cannabis has even the slightest prospective to avoid brain trauma in NFL players then it is worth studying. Rather, the NFL allocates copious sources towards disciplining players who self-medicate with cannabis.

Their Way or The Highway

When the NFL is notoriously mum on its reasoning for suspending a player, there had been at least 9 players suspended for marijuana-associated incidents in 2019 alone. A quantity of other players had been suspended for “substance abuse” but no distinct explanation was offered for their suspensions. At the similar time players are misusing opioids and retiring early, the NFL is suspending players for applying cannabis.

There are a myriad of examples of the NFL’s suspension hypocrisy. Raiders Guard Richie Incognito was suspended only two games just after “threatening to shoot staff at a funeral home” when they wouldn’t let him get rid of and maintain the head of his deceased father. Meanwhile, Cowboys defensive-finish Randy Gregory is suspended indefinitely for failing numerous drug tests for cannabis. Gregory has in no way been in problems with the law and will have to appeal his suspension to have any shot at playing once again though Incognito is now beginning for the Oakland Raiders. Comparing the suspensions of Incognito and Gregory clearly outlines the NFL’s blatant hypocrisy when it comes to disciplining its players. Numerous players use cannabis, however only some are unlucky and get caught.

NFL Cannabis Use Is Not Uncommon

The explanation numerous players really feel the need to have to threat their careers and use cannabis is the similar explanation why numerous of them are prescribed opioids. It is the similar explanation future hall of famers like Calvin Johnson are retiring in the prime of their profession. The severity and frequency of injuries in the NFL tends to make the consumption of painkillers a necessity for nearly each player. Some players would just rather use cannabis than unsafe opioids. Calvin Johnson not too long ago revealed that in order to maintain himself on the field and to prevent unsafe opioids, he smoked cannabis just after each NFL game. In an interview with Sports Illustrated he mentioned, “You actually could go in the education area and get what you wanted. I can get Vicodin, I can get Oxy. It was also accessible. And I did not like the way that created me really feel. I had my preferred selection of medicine. Cannabis.”

The NFL continues to make billions of dollars though it is players are retiring early and with serious injuries that will transform the way they reside their lives. When these players come across a safer plant-primarily based option to opioids, the NFL suspends them with no spend. When the War on Drugs in the United States might be subsiding, the NFL’s war on cannabis has not. For its players sake, the league requires to appear itself in the mirror and reevaluate. It requires to do what ever doable to shield the wellness and security of its players.


Health-related Marijuana 411 values supplying our readers with facts about the most up-to-date cannabis associated subjects for educational purposes and not for the intention of advocacy. This is not an advocacy-primarily based organization. For ailment distinct concerns, please seek advice from your major care doctor.


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