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Cannabis Thoughts & Opinions
Marijuana: The New Medicine of the NFL
February 5, 2017 | by Staff
During Nate Jackson’s football career with the Cincinnati Bengals, he suffered painful injuries such as broken tibia, fingers, ribs, dislocated shoulders, and experienced a concussion (just to name a few). Jackson wanted to stay clear of prescribed painkillers to avoid addiction and began self-medicating himself with marijuana.
It isn’t uncommon to hear about a football player getting a concussion or a seriously painful injury during their football career. That is why former players such as Jackson are calling for a change in the NFL, and the way they handle their marijuana policy.
In an opinion article Jackson wrote for The New York Times, he described marijuana a better approach than the pill and needle injections that the NFL pushes.
“VIRTUALLY every single player in the N.F.L. has a certifiable need for medical marijuana,” Jackson said.
In writing this article, Jackson brought to light the negatives of painkillers in the NFL, and the effects it has had on the players. He called for the NFL and the NFL Players Association to “rethink” their approach to the marijuana policy, and to some extent they did.
Jackson’s article led to the DEA investigating doctors who prescribed professional players these restricted drugs. In addition to the DEA investigation, the NFL changed their marijuana tolerance policy from 15 nanograms per liter of blood- which was so low that being around someone smoking marijuana would cause positive test results- to 35 nanograms per liter of blood.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Harvard Medical professor, and author wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking to fund research to into finding out if cannabis can provide treatment to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a progressive disease that can be found in athletes with a history of brain trauma, including concussions.
So far Goodell and the NFL have not started supporting the research.
Obviously, marijuana can and has been used for medicinal purposes, so when are companies like the NFL going to do what’s best for its players and allow proper medicinal use? Hopefully, it’s sometime soon.
-- Ontaria Woods is a multimedia journalism student at Georgia Southern University. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and works as a volunteer for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). With her expected graduation in May 2017, she looks forward to continuing her Journalism career as a writer and photojournalist. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.