NFL players are subject to random drug tests. One of the reasons they are subjected to these test are to ensure that they are not using performance enhancing drugs. However, for whatever reason, they are tested for cannabis. Even football players who are play in states who have legalized cannabis are still subject to these tests. Players who are found to be using the herb are penalized and scrutinized. Ricky Williams tested positive for cannabis and was scrutinized so much he had to leave the league.
But that’s not the worst of it. The NFL’s ban on marijuana might actually be killing these players.
Let’s ignore the fact that they are prescribed dangerous and addictive opiates to deal with the pain they endure by putting their bodies on the line for our enjoyment.
But it has become increasingly clear over the past decade that NFL players are at a very high risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy. As a matter of fact there isn’t much doubt that NFL players who spend any time in the game are likely to develop brain damage.
A study published last year in the New York TImes found that of 111 brains of former football players examined, a total of 110 had brain damage. Of those examined, those who played pro had a worse pathology then those who played semi pro, high school, or college football. These result speak for themself, and even suggest that the more a player is exposed to football the worse the condition their brain will be.
And it just so happens that story you heard about cannabis rotting your brain is false. As a matter of fact cannabis is able to preserve the brain and prevent it from deterioration. One study in 2015, found that cannabinoids can prevent the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study, found that CBD reduced the size of strokes in mice, suggesting that CBD is a neuroprotectant.
Well… turns out the federal government patented cannabinoids for their neuroprotective qualities.
With the extremely high risk that football players have of suffering brain damage, medical marijuana just might be their best solution. Football players deserve the right to live long and healthy lives. However, the NFL has been reluctant to lift its ban on the herb.