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SportWill the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy

16:35  08 september  2019
16:35  08 september  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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At present, drug tests are random in the league . This means players have no clue when a tester is coming The NFL is contemplating changes to its existing marijuana policy which most ex- players believe makes Therefore, it seems incredible that the NFL continues allowing its players to suffer.

Jones " wants the league to drop its prohibition on marijuana use ," Florio reported. "Jones was reminded that the issue falls under the umbrella of collective bargaining, which would require the players to make one or more Players that fail drug tests in the NFL get punished more harshly too.

Will the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy © AP Photo/Brynn Anderson FILE - In this May 22, 2019 file photo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during the NFL football owners meeting in Key Biscayne, Fla. A Louisiana judge has ordered that Goodell and three officials from January’s NFC title game be questioned under oath in September about an infamous “no-call” that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints in January’s NFC title game, an attorney said Monday, July 29, 2019.

The question is simple enough: Should the NFL soften its hard-line stance on marijuana ?

No one with the Chargers cares to answer, a team spokesman says. Same goes for the Rams where, at a summertime practice, one player after another declines to comment.

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Talk to players privately, and they’ll scoff at the fact that the league conducts marijuana tests; as a pain-management tool, plenty believe it’s far more preferable to some than the bevy of opioids and The truth is this: historically, when the NFL concedes something, it wants something in return.

Why the NFL CBA's new marijuana policy isn't a big win for players . This is a win for NFL players , many of whom would clearly prefer to treat their aches and pains with Nowhere in Tretter’s statement did he mention the amended marijuana rules, which players definitely wanted but did not get without

As veteran Rams safety Eric Weddle says: "It's kind of tricky."

Will the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy © Getty Images LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 24: Los Angeles Rams free safety Eric Weddle #32 talks on the sideline during the preseason football game between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams on August 24, 2019 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This reticence might seem unusual given that league executives recently agreed to include cannabis in a study of alternative pain therapies.

But pro football has a history of keeping marijuana on the banned substance list, even as public opinion has gravitated toward its legalisation and available research has identified its potential to alleviate a range of ailments.

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Around the League . Presented By. Marijuana legalization won't change NFL drug policy . The states of Colorado and Washington voted to make recreational marijuana use legal Tuesday. " Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program."

But the league can’t simply abandon the ban on marijuana and the testing program that goes along with Which raises an inherently practical consideration: What would the NFLPA give up to get rid of the rule that prohibits marijuana use ? So basically NFL will allow players come play the game high.

Players wanting to use cannabis or related products, such as Cannabidiol extract, have needed to do so quietly, sidestepping periodic tests. When Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new NFL initiative last spring, he chose his words carefully.

"There are a lot of alternative pain medications and treatments, " he said.

Any suggestion of an impending policy shift might be premature. With the start of another season, the loudest call for change has come from former stars who claim the league has, for too long, overlooked a therapy for not only aching knees and shoulders but also, perhaps, brain trauma.

Will the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy © Getty Images MINNEAPOLIS, UNITED STATES: Quarterback Aaron Brooks (L) of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by John Burroughs (bottom) of the Minnesota Vikings as Saints lineman Kyle Turley (R) looks on 06 January, 2001 during the first half of their NFC Divisional Playoff game at the Metrodome, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The winner of this game will play in the NFC championship game on 14 January. AFP PHOTO/Craig LASSIG (Photo credit should read CRAIG LASSIG/AFP/Getty Images)

"Everyone knows this game is brutal, " said Kyle Turley, who spent eight years on the offensive line. "Cannabis saved my life, period, and it could help a lot of other players."

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the NFL Players Association vote in favor of the proposed CBA, no player will be suspended during the next decade for testing positive for marijuana or We cover everything from the NFL , NBA, MLB, MMA, NHL and every random sporting story in between. We tell you about the history-making plays

The league would never punish a player simply for having a beer or cocktail, so why does it levy Sign our petition today calling on the NFL to stop driving players to drink with severe penalties for using marijuana , especially in states where marijuana has been made legal for adult or medical use .

It was last May that NFL executives joined with the players union to announce a series of initiatives aimed at athletes' well-being.

Each team must now retain a behavioural health clinician to be available for players at the training facility at least eight hours a week. Goodell said: "We've long been focused on mental health but this, I think, takes it to another level."

League and union leaders also created a joint committee to study issues involving therapy for injuries. Teams have been told to designate a pain management specialist and monitor all drugs--including opioids--prescribed to players.

The decision to include cannabis in a study of medical alternatives generated the biggest headlines.

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Will the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy

A Gallup poll last fall found that 66 % of respondents supported legalisation. Eleven states already allow for recreational marijuana, with 33 permitting medical use. But the NFL's chief medical officer made it clear the league will not be swayed by public sentiment.

"I think that the science, unfortunately, has lagged behind a lot of the popular opinion and press on this, " Allen Sills said. "We have a lot more opinion than we do science on the use of marijuana for pain."

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Cannabis remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level, defined as a substance with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

This designation places significant restrictions on researchers, who are limited to studying a relatively narrow range of cannabis products supplied by government-approved growers.

A 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine stated that "conclusive evidence regarding the short-and long-term health effects--both harms and benefits--of cannabis use remains elusive." The same goes for Cannabidiol, or CBD, which has no psychoactive effects.

"It's complicated, " said Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor at UC San Francisco. "But if players are thinking that cannabis would be useful for pain, there is some evidence to support that."

Initial studies aren't the only reason that Abrams and others in the medical community are optimistic about the medicinal value of cannabis.

At UC San Diego, Dr. Mark Wallace has seen positive results in treating his patients. He believes that athletes using cannabis directly after an injury might avoid chronic pain later in life. He adds, "It's an alternative to opioids, and we know what opioids have done to this country."

In 2016, ESPN the Magazine conducted a poll of 226 NFL players to gauge their opinion on the matter. Nearly 60 % said they worried about the long-term effects of painkillers. Not surprisingly, 61 % said fewer players would take such drugs if marijuana were an allowed substance.

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But the greatest potential for football extends beyond pain management. In Israel, a global leader in cannabis research, tests on laboratory animals have shown cannabinoids might act as a neuroprotectant, decreasing brain inflammation in response to injury.

If so, it could be used to treat concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which have plagued the game.

"Here you have a drug that affects a system of receptors that is spread throughout the nervous system, " Wallace said. "We don't have many drugs like that."

As the science continues to advance, albeit at a restricted pace, former players are voicing their support.

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana has invested in a cannabis firm. Chris Long, who played defensive end for the Rams, has spoken openly about using marijuana during his 11-year career. Other past stars, such as Terrell Davis and Rob Gronkowski, have become involved with companies that sell CBD-based products.

"It would have made a huge difference in my pain management during my career, " Gronkowski said on a company web site after retiring from the New England Patriots in March.

Turley's advocacy arose from a struggle he faced after leaving the game in 2007. Reduced to walking with a cane, facing bouts of depression and rage, he tried cannabis and saw rapid improvement. He eventually became involved in selling CBD supplements.

"It's not like some magic potion that hippies in Northern California conjured up, " he said. "The NFL could run one study in training camp and change everything."

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Announcing his surprise retirement last month, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck talked about the game's physical toll.

"For the last four years or so, I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, and it's been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it, " the 29-year-old Pro Bowler said. "The only way I see out is to no longer play football."

Luck wasn't the first standout player to end his career early. The list stretches from Jim Brown and Gale Sayers to Gronkowski and receiver Calvin Johnson.

Though Weddle says he does not use cannabis--"I've always played through injury ... it's something I can deal with "--he appreciates the need to address pain management.

"There have been studies that say marijuana helps, " he said. "If it helps a guy, fine."

But the 12-year veteran worries about the effort to change NFL policy ; his concerns have nothing to do with medicine or research data.

The issue could factor into negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union. Under the current protocol--which mandates only a preseason test for anyone with no prior positive results--Weddle suspects that players who want to use cannabis can do so without getting caught if they are careful.

"The union shouldn't make concessions on other things to make this legal, " he said. "It's basically already legal."

For now, the NFL has convened sessions with team physicians, athletic trainers and medical experts to discuss all aspects of the player-health initiative. The four members of the pain management committee have met once already and are scheduled to reconvene later this month.

"I think it's really important that we go where the science takes us here, " Sills said last spring. "Not based on personal anecdote or opinion, but what is the medical science."

Given the league's history with marijuana policy, advocates have reason to be skeptical. But Turley senses momentum building.

"They only needed to crack the door open on this, " he said. "I think massive things are going to come."

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Will the NFL allow players to use marijuana? League wants science to determine drug policy

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