Can Cannabis Help the NFL?

**Stoned Philosopher’s Thoughts**

Fall is here, that means cooler weather, pumpkin spiced lattés, Halloween and of course, football. The teams that I root for are doing fairly well, however we shall see how the rest of the season plays out. There is something that has been looming over football for a few years now, head trauma. This and other injuries are causing some to look at football as unsafe and have caused a waning interest in playing the sport at a young age in some areas of the country.

Research has begun to show that numerous players are getting disorders such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy and ALS. The suicide of Junior Seau has been linked by some to the CTE that turned up in a post mortem examination. Players are even retiring after two or three seasons because they don’t want to suffer from these ailments later in life.

To make matters worse for the NFL, a movie is being released this December starring Will Smith, about Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who first discovered CTE. Though some are reporting that the NFL has pressured Sony to soften the stance that the NFL is the bad guy and make the story a mere whistle blower story.

With all of the attention being directed toward the NFL and player safety, something else is coming out of all this. Studies have started to be published that show cannabis may help prevent and help treat brain trauma. This is problematic for players in the NFL, because even though player interviews have put the number of cannabis users in the NFL at around 50% and maybe even higher, the NFL still considers it to be a banned substance.

Even with the NFL raising the threshold at which a player would test positive for cannabis recently and having the tests in a three month period before the season, their stance is still that it is not allowed for players. More and more players are coming forward to say they would rather use cannabis than the prescription pills that are usually used to treat injuries. Some teams may even be more inclined to have their players use cannabis instead of alcohol because of the legal situations that always arise around booze.

The NFL is a long way from allowing cannabis use freely for players however a group of former players is campaigning for research in the use of medical cannabis, instead of the addictive substances that are being used today. With the recent suspension of Nick Diaz of the UFC, for testing positive for cannabis, the use of cannabis in sport is taking center stage. I for one, as a fan and cannabis enthusiast, would like to see sports organizations tackle this issue using research and facts rather than toeing the party line about cannabis that has been regurgitated over and over again.
As always, abide.

Stoned Philosopher


Photo: Parker Knight

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