Football may be entertaining to watch, but for NFL players it is a violent sport that often results in brutal injuries to the body and head. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition that many ex-NFL players suffer from due to constant blows to the head and it’s just one aspect of the pain suffered from athletes in this sport. Unfortunately, the cure for players has been just as harmful as the cause with many ex-players experiencing addiction and detrimental side effects from pain pills or simply not receiving any relief at all. This has sparked a group of 30 former NFL players, led by Kyle Turley, to unite with Constance Therapeutics, a California-based company that makes marijuana extracts, in order to conduct an official study on the effects of medical weed on injuries and pain suffered by NFL players.
The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition
The group, known as the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, are determined to make a change in players’ quality of life and possibly revolutionize the system that cares for players. Turley is quoted as saying, “My mission is to help people and these NFL players so desperately need help treating the lasting ramifications from the high-impact sport because, as we have seen in the media, all too often the prescription medications they are taking are either leading to addiction or just plain not working for them. We want to embark on scientific research that will clearly show that medicinal cannabis actually can be an option for the issues that NFL players or any athlete deal with.”
Turley’s Medical Marijuana Experience
Turley has been vocal about the impact that medical weed has had on his life, talking about how the treatment has allowed him to feel mentally clearer and how he has started to feel like himself again. Before taking marijuana he had great fear regarding his health and brain issues and even called the league’s 24 hour hotline with suicidal thoughts. His current state is vastly different from where he was before the treatment, perhaps proof in and of itself that marijuana is a viable medical treatment. The success he has experienced on a personal level with medical marijuana inspired him to take further action.
The NFL Ban on Medical Weed
Right now NFL regulations prohibit the use of marijuana. The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition are trying to change this so that the league recognizes medical marijuana as the safer and more effective medical option. It may take some time but the study could help sway the league to see reason. Other retired players have also been outspoken about their positive experiences with medical marijuana. Ex-Saints tight end and member of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, Boo Williams said, “My experience with cannabis has taught me that it is a far better option than the pills that get shoved at players. If I can save one life or improve one life with this study that GCC and Constance Therapeutics are doing, I will have accomplished my mission.”
Medical marijuana is legal in half the country and the number of states decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana is growing every year. It can only be a matter of time before the league starts to recognize the overwhelming benefits of medical weed as scientific research continues to grow. It is simply impossible to deny the medical benefits of marijuana. For the sake of the athletes who suffer for their sport, we hope the league opens to their logic and allows their players to get safe and healthy medical care, sooner rather than later.