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NFL, Players Union Agree To Study Cannabis As Pain Treatment

Dave Royse

National Football League players may be a small step closer to being able to legally use cannabis to treat their pain.

What Happened

The NFL Players Association and the league have agreed to study the possible use of cannabis by players to treat pain, The Washington Post reported.

Why It's Important

The move signals a potentially huge shift for the league, which doesn’t allow players to use marijuana for pain. Several former players, and a few current ones, have been outspoken about the possible pain-relief benefits of cannabis, especially in contrast to league-sanctioned opioids. Several players have said they fear the addiction potential of opioid medications, which have been heavily prescribed to some players, and worry that they leave players in a fog.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said previously the league might consider a change if medical science clearly established that cannabis was effective for treating pain, and safe.

Earlier this year, the NHL Alumni Association partnered with Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) to research the efficacy of cannabinoids in treatment of post-concussion neurological diseases.

What's Next

The league and the players union will form two committees to provide medical recommendations. The committees will also review league and team policies and practice surrounding prescription painkillers.

Any major policy changes would need to be negotiated through the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players union. The league and the union negotiate the terms of the current drug policy, which is administered by the league and the union jointly. The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2020 season.

Related Links:

Former Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson, Rob Sims Discuss Cannabis, Ending The Stigma And The NFL's Stance

Where Do The Major North American Sports Leagues Stand On Cannabis?

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