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NFL Should Permit Players To Use Medical Marijuana

The benefits of medical marijuana are plenty, but there are still many people due to their profession that cannot receive these benefits. One group of professionals are National Football League players, who put their bodies through a real hardcore toll on Sundays. As more retired football players begin to suffer the real consequences of all the damage their body has taken over their career, there is now a rising plea among the public and ex-players pushing for the NFL to lift the ban on marijuana use.

Not only can marijuana be used by players for pain relief, but possibly for concussion prevention. With NFL players hitting each other as hard as possible every week, it is no surprise that players need something that will relieve all this pain on off days. The fact is that there is pain relief medication that players are allowed to take -- they’re opioids and non inflammatory medications. The problem is that these are susceptible to addiction and overdose, something that marijuana is known to be the opposite of.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Today, according to a study published by the American College of Medicine, about 50 percent of retired NFL players suffer from some sort of chronic pain. This chronic pain is not a cut or a bruise that can heal in a matter of days. It is inevitably a lifelong battle. Not only is the problem those suffering from pain in their joints and muscles, but sadly, also the brain. A study from the University of Texas found that 40 percent of retired players suffer from some sort of depression.

This topic was recently addressed in the film Concussion, starring Will Smith. It is based on a true story about a Nigerian-American doctor who discovered a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by performing an autopsy on a former NFL player. Since then, out of 79 football players’ brains that were examined, 76 have been diagnosed with CTE. The symptoms of CTE are dementia, depression, erratic and aggressive behavior, and seizures.

NFL Ban On Marijuana Should Be Lifted.

The treatments for CTE are very limited, and marijuana (on the NFL banned list) has shown effectiveness in treating pain and mood disorders. The other options are pain pills and muscle relaxers which a study from the University of St. Louis School of Medicine has shown that a majority of retired players have admitted in misusing. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said recently “It is an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy, for now, in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players.”

Ex-players are beginning to rally for a change due to the numerous benefits marijuana can offer players after getting beat up playing pro football. Medical marijuana has actual scientific research backing its stance on pain relief. After seeing the correlation between football players and CTE, it is now time for a change in allowing NFL players to use medical marijuana for pain relief.

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