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Can CBD Score a Touchdown with the NFL?

Football season starts this week and during the offseason, CBD for athletes has been a hot topic.

Just last month, recently retired New Englands Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his plans to release a line of CBD products, saying “For the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free.”

Gronk isn’t the first NFL player to advocate for cannabis use. In fact, the list is long and goes back years. 

Back in 2016 Eugene Monroe became the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids. On his website, the former offensive tackle for the Jaguars and the Ravens states: 

“I’m calling for the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and stop overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids.”

Hall of Fame rusher Terrell Davis, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, says his body was beaten down and turned to CBD after nothing else worked to ease his chronic pain. He co-founded Defy, a CBD infused sports drink and advocates for the use of CBD in the NFL. 

With former big name NFL players advocating and sharing their own personal healing experiences, what has the NFL’s response been?

While cannabinoids are still prohibited for use in the NFL, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is researching the use of medical marijuana to help players manage pain, rather than prescription opioids.

Football players are highly susceptible to traumatic brain injury and CTE, a severe type of traumatic brain injury caused by numerous concussions and only detectable post-mortem (after death). According to researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found CTE in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined.

Additionally, opioids are passed out like candy to active players, resulting in additional damage to their bodies via a host of other side effects. 

So what is the potential for cannabinoids to help NFL players? 

The proof is in the pudding. The US government holds patent US6630507B1 on “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” Neuroprotectants protect and limit damage to the brain. Our ECS also regulates physiological processes relevant to traumatic brain injuries like cerebral blood flow, inflammation, and neuroplasticity. 

So what does the future hold for CBD and the NFL? Time will tell but when talented players are retiring before the age of 30 due to chronic pain and are finally getting relief with the use of cannabinoids, hopefully the NFL has a change of heart, fueled by the desire to protect their most valuable assets – the players who risk their livelihoods and their health out on the field every day.


FDA Disclaimer: the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. Keep out of reach of children.

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