nfl football

Should National Football League (NFL) players be allowed to use medical cannabis?

Polling shows that an overwhelming majority of fans think that the league should reform its cannabis rules.

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective medicine at treating pain and also helping people that have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The cannabis plant has also shown a lot of promise in helping people overcome opioid addiction.

All of those issues are ones that the NFL has been struggling with for many years.

Given cannabis' ability to directly help address those issues, shouldn't the NFL embrace cannabis instead of prohibiting it?

What does the league have to lose by reforming its cannabis policies?

What is the current NFL's cannabis policy?

As it stands right now, the NFL does not allow cannabis use under any circumstances. If a player is found to have THC metabolites above a certain level in their system, they are subjected to escalating discipline.

The current THC metabolite threshold for the NFL is 35 ng/mL, up from a few years ago when it was just 15 ng/mL.

To put the current threshold into perspective, Major League Baseball has a THC metabolite threshold of 50 ng/mL, and Olympic athletes are held to a standard of 150 ng/mL.

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was suspended for 10 games for violating the league's cannabis policy despite Henderson needing to use medical cannabis after having sections of his intestine removed from his ongoing battle with Crohn's disease.

Running back Mike James applied for a medical exemption to be able to use medical cannabis to avoid using more harmful painkillers but his request was recently denied.

Those are just two of many examples of players being harmed by the NFL's current cannabis policy.

Polling shows that fans want players to be able to make the safer choice

This week poll results were released for a poll that asked NFL fans if they support cannabis reform in the league. Below were the results of the poll:

  • Do you think the NFL should allow current players to use marijuana? 66% answered 'yes' and 9% were 'not sure'
  • Do you think the NFL should allow current players to use marijuana when prescribed by a doctor for pain management? 82% answered 'yes' and 8% were 'not sure'

Only 10% of the 1,355 NFL fans surveyed were directly opposed to letting players use medical cannabis, and only 25% of respondents fully supported the continued prohibition of non-medical cannabis use by players.

This week's poll builds on previous poll results

A poll conducted by Marist College found that 71% of sports fans would have equal or more respect for an athlete that chose to consume cannabis (medical or otherwise).

ESPN conducted a poll of NFL players which found that 71% of current players think that medical cannabis should be legal nationwide.

A poll conducted by The Big Lead asked members of sports media if they supported cannabis reform. An astounding 76.5% of respondents stated that cannabis prohibition should end.

With such an overwhelming level of support from NFL players, fans, and even members of sports media, why is the NFL still clinging to prohibition?

The NFL needs to have compassion for its players and allow them to make the safer choice. The NFL's cannabis policy should be based on science and not on outdated political views.


How much research do we actually have on cannabis? You'll be surprised! 

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