Many people have turned to CBD for help in pain management, in an attempt to avoid opiods and their horrific side affects. CBD is legal in all 50 states and comes in many forms from flower to vape juice to edibles.
The PGA and pro-tennis both allow CBD use in it's athletes, however, the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL still prohibit it.
In May, the NFL decided to designate a mental health provider to each team and to form a joint committee to study and assess pain management alternatives to opiods. This is a big move for the NFL as they usually like to sit on the side lines waiting for another league to change its rules before they change theirs.
Many current and retired NFL players have talked about their marijuana and CBD usage. NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis told CNBC that he uses hemp extracts to help with pain he has from his pro-football days.
“I feel about as good as I did when I played. My knees, I have more flexibility in my joints right now,” said Davis, who played in the league for seven years. “For a year and a half now I’ve had one migraine, and I didn’t have a full-blown migraine, so it’s helped me in that respect.”
Former Eagles defensive end Chris Long also spoke about his cannabis use, stating, "I'm a good person and I smoke weed."
I don't think the NFL sees it's players (who failed THC drug tests) as bad people but rather they are afraid of backlash from their fans and supporters.
Rob Gronkowski, another retired NFL player, has partnered with a Rhode Island-based CBD company to help promote CBD for athletes.
"I'm advocating for CBD to be acceptable for all players for recovery," Gronkowski said. "I was in near constant pain and needed to make a change. These products have helped me safely manage pain better than anything else I've tried."
Something interesting is the NFL only drug tests its players during their 4 month off-season period from April 20 (kind of funny) to August 9.
“You only get tested in a window for it. It’s kind of arbitrary,” Long said. “At the end of the day, I know countless young players who go out after games, get banged up, dehydrated. They’re already trying to recover from a football game. You’re just throwing gas on a fire. You’re probably more likely to get into trouble.
“You’re tarnishing the brand and popularity of some guys who could be great stars in the league, but you’re making them these poster children for the devil’s lettuce when you pop them with a test."
Marijuana drug tests analyze the amount of THC in a person system measured in nano-grams. The MLB uses a threshold of 50 nano-grams while the Anti-Doping Agency uses a threshold of 150 nano-grams.
However, the NFL recently raised their threshold from only 15 nano-grams to now 35. Raising of the threshold has lessened some players fears of popping on a drug test solely from second hand smoke.
Davis launched the first ever CBD-infused sports drink called Defy and hopes current research will lead to the NFL allowing CBD use in it's players.
“In a few years, hopefully sooner rather than later, ... CBD will be something that players who are currently playing will be able to use as a measure of taking care of the pain management, the inflammation,” Davis said. “So I think the benefits of this [will] be tremendous, and we have yet to see [any] known side effects, so I’m encouraged by what we see.”
CBD use is becoming more acceptable in our nation with everyday people. Hopefully some time soon the NFL and other professional leagues will be just as accepting.
“[Marijuana’s] just much less dangerous," Long explained. "It’s helped me in my career and my personal life. Also, I just enjoy it. Why isn’t that enough?”