The NFL pledges $1 million toward cannabis research

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The National Football League and its players’ association announced they’re putting $1 million behind medical cannabis for pain research, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

No pain, big gain

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said they want to better-understand if cannabis can effectively manage pain and do so safely on its own or combined with other medications.

“Players are always looking to find treatments that are going to improve their quality of life,” he said. “But at the same time, players are significantly concerned about the impact on performance.”

Slow but steady progress

In March of last year, the league finally loosened the rules around players consuming cannabis in its labour agreement, and players can no longer be suspended if they test positive. 

Players join the green rush

A long list of former NFL players have entered the cannabis space post-retirement, like Tiki Barber, Rob Gronkowski, Eugene Monroe and even Joe Montana. Former running back Ricky Williams estimates he lost between $5 and $10 million during his career because of failed drug tests and lost endorsements due to unapologetic cannabis use. Now he’s the founder of Real Wellness Herbal, a medical cannabis company.

“The story was ‘football player retires to go smoke pot,’” he told CNBC. “And, part of that was true, but it was much bigger than that . I was really redefining myself and figuring out what I want to do with my life.”

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