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NFL Paying $1 Million to Fund Research Into Using Cannabis for Pain Relief

After putting out a formal request for information about pain management alternatives to opioids in February, the NFL and NFL Players Association are providing $1 million to fund research on cannabinoids and pain relief, according to Front Office Sports.

“While this represents a different stance by the league, it’s still conservative compared to players who use cannabis or cannabis products – particularly CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has gained mainstream acceptance,” per FOS.

The NFL did shorten the window during which it tests players for THC and raise the threshold to trigger a positive test last season, but players can still be fined several weeks’ salary and be forced to join a treatment program for testing positive for the inhibiting chemical in marijuana. Though it shouldn’t be the case, that currently makes the use of CBD – which both past and current players swear by – somewhat of a grey area in the NFL.

In the February information request, the NFL-NFLPA’s pain management committee said it was looking for information including:

  1. The potential therapeutic role of medications and non-pharmacological interventions that are considered to be alternatives to opioids in routine pain management of NFL players. Medications may include, but are not limited to, cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (“CBD”).
  2. The impact of cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance in NFL players.
  3. The potential therapeutic role of medications and non-pharmacological interventions that are considered adjunctive to routine post-surgical orthopedic pain management in NFL football players.

Nothing is for certain, but it seems like a good assumption the new funding will be used to delve into some of the areas mentioned above.

“This isn’t an NFL or a sports issue; this is a societal issue,” the NFL’s chief medical officer Allen Sills told Bloomberg.

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