The good news is the NFL is showing genuine interest in medical marijuana and its potential to help current and former players deal with pain. The bad news is that marijuana use is still a violation of the league’s policy, which means that even casual pot use can land a player on the suspended list.
Currently, the DEA lists marijuana as a Schedule I substance. It needs to be reclassified as Schedule II. This would acknowledge the drug’s medical value and allow for more research, which in return, would help open up a dialogue between players and the league, but the FDA disagrees. In their latest review they concluded that marijuana should remain Schedule I “because of its high potential for abuse, the fact that it had no current accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and because it lacked accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”
The NFL and its supposed desire to do what’s best for its players needs to change its policy and allow marijuana use to combat pain. Right now the league is opiate based when it comes to pain management. Toradol, Vicodin and OxyContin are just some of the opioids commonly used in the NFL to treat pain. However, little thought seems to be given to what the long-term use of these drugs is doing to players once their careers are over. Addiction, depression, kidney and liver failure are just a few of the nasty side effects of extended use. Also, in a sport that’s reeling from (and continually denying) the effects of repeated head trauma, medical marijuana shows promise as a potential agent to re-start damaged brain cells and therefore should be researched as a possible combatant to CTE.
The NFL’s most outspoken proponent of medical marijuana use is former Baltimore Raven Eugene Monroe. Monroe made headlines earlier this year when he became the first active player in the NFL to publicly call for the league to change its policy. He has since retired stating that he wanted to quit before his body deteriorated further, which would require him to take more pills in order to continue playing.
In retirement, Monroe now feels free to advocate for medical marijuana use saying it’s healthier and safer than prescription painkillers. He, along with other players, feel it’s time for the NFL to do their research on the pain-relieving qualities of medical marijuana.
“I just take the NFL for their word: If they say that long-term health and player safety are top priorities of the league, then why aren’t you looking into all the options for health care that are out there?” ~ Tennessee Titan Derrick Morgan
Exactly! More research is needed and ultimately I think players should have a say in their own pain management. #ChemicalorNatural #PlayersRightToChoose