Media Abuzz about NFL/Marijuana Relationship

Is there a change in the works for the NFL’s marijuana policy?

Is the NFL’s long-standing zero-tolerance attitude towards marijuana about to change? The media have been buzzing about the possibility for years, but even more so in recent months, since a series of insider reports in May hinted that a big policy shift was in the works.

If so, it would be historic: The league has traditionally come down hard on players who don’t pass strict drug tests, and that stance hasn’t softened in recent years. For instance, Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham is suspended from this year’s opening game for a drug possession where the charges were dropped.

Recently, KannaLife Sciences was licensed by the National Institutes of Health to develop a marijuana-derived treatment for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). A degenerative disease that’s connected with head trauma, CTE has been a focal point for the ongoing NFL player health controversy. Watch KannaLife’s Dean Petkanas explain the situation to Fox Business

The news has helped revive speculation over the still-stalled negotiations to change the NFL drug policy. If approved by the FDA, could the benefits of such a treatment convince NFL leaders to finally tone down their policy? 

Many players already use cannabis “to cope with the pain” and “the anxiety of the game,” longtime defensive lineman Marcellus Wiley told the Associated Press. Wiley estimates that half of all players “in the average NFL locker room” were using marijuana in 2006.

“It’s not, let’s go smoke a joint,” retired defensive lineman Marvin Washington added. “It’s, what if you could take something that helps you heal faster from a concussion, that prevents your equilibrium from being off for two weeks and your eyesight for being off for four weeks?”

The NFL has been negotiating changes to its drug policy since 2011; its official stance is currently an openness to “explore possible changes,” according to the AP report. Read the full report here

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