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The NFL is splashing out $1 million into cannabis research- here’s why

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This might come off as something completely unbelievable or bizarre to the public, but the National Football League (NFL), the biggest sports league in the world, is all set to fund research on marijuana.

Now, the league has always had their no-compromise stance regarding substance abuse. In the last two decades, around 1000 cases of substance related match suspension have been recorded, along with $70 million in total fines paid by the offenders.

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However, the league is now delving into researching marijuana and is ready to shell out a million dollars on the psychoactive drug with a purpose, but for a propitious goal- to find its use for pain management.

NFL to shell out a million to research marijuana and its pain relieving properties to treat injuries

Football is a body contact sport. On the turf, men weighing around over 150 lbs, running around with the intention to collide or tackle down one another, and often results in serious, grave injuries.

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While the NFL‘s astronomical success made them the biggest sports league in the world, with an astounding $16 billion made in revenue in a season, its ultimately the players, who drive the popularity of the league, are bearing the pain resulting during games.

Last season, according to a study done by Sportico, a total of 801 in game injuries had taken place, the highest ever in the league’s history, as well as an alarming 35% increment compared to the previous decade.

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And while the NFL has been implementing a number of modification to its rules and regulations to reduce the chances of injuries, such as a shorter kickoff, making blindside and chop blocks a banned gesture, as well as increasing the protection for defenseless players, it has not really reflected in the numbers.

Meanwhile, more than half of NFL players have admitted to have subjected themselves to opioids, which has become a more common method of pain relief compared to the traditional methods of using over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen or amoxicillin.

With the alarming increase of injuries last year, the league had softened its stance of cannabis use, and brought forward a new policy, under which marijuana use would no longer be resulting in a suspension.

The drug policy reveals:

  • The new CBA reduces the testing period from four months to two weeks at the start of training camp.
  • A new threshold for positive tests was also put in place, raising the allowed amount of THC from 35 nanograms to 150.
  • Rather than automatic suspensions after multiple failed tests, if a player tests positive during that two-week period, his test will be reviewed by a board of medical professionals to determine if he needs treatment.

While this will come off as a welcoming news for many, a complete implementation of marijuana use among the NFL players was not a quick process.

The first step, the reduction of the punishment for cannabis use is already in place. Step two, the league is investing $1 million into its research. And the third step- to fully allow players to use marijuana as a pain reliever after injuries and surgeries.

What do you think of the NFL’s decision to fund cannabis research for pain management? Let us know in the comments below.

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Saikat Banerjee
Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.


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