In an industry practically defined by injury and long-term staying power throughout a season, the National Football League’s players deserve the opportunity for relief. While they’re given this chance in some certain capacities, many players in the NFL feel as though the league is missing an opportunity with the personal use of CBD.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is often a gray area for a lot of organizations, with it being a chemical compound derived from cannabis plant varieties. Though it does not cause psychoactive effects, just the mere fact that it comes from a controlled substance is enough for the NFL to refuse their players the consumption of CBD.
In May of 2019, the NFL announced their decision to form a Joint Pain Management Committee that would help craft more uniform standards of pain management techniques, including considering the idea of CBD use for their players.
This idea was exciting not only for the players, but for all of us within the CBD community. An acceptance of consumption of CBD by such a major organization would’ve had huge, positive impacts for the cannabidiol industry and the name its creating for itself. Unfortunately, this simply didn’t happen.
We can probably agree, the NFL held back on their decision to allow CBD consumption largely due to a lack of scientific evidence. This is reasonable, as not enough research has been done for anyone to definitively say that CBD helps with anything, as the players are trying to claim. In general, the medical claims surrounding the cannabinoid are unsupported, and the NFL recognized that.
However, the refusal of the use of CBD stems further than just for relief. As a whole, the cannabis plant is banned from the organization, with the NFL citing impairment, psychiatric disorders, and addiction being associated with the plant. These generalizations aren’t much better than the generalizations made about CBD, and it further hinders players from seeking alternatives. Again, the compound itself is non-intoxicating and cannot cause impairment; rather, it is meant to work with our body’s endocannabinoid system. The differentiation here is important, though it seems like it’s being largely overlooked by the NFL.
Recently, players are once again asking for cannabis reform in the organization, addressing the issues that come with drug testing and cannabinoids. Although there may be disagreement within the NFL about the ethics surrounding CBD and cannabis as a whole, it is obvious that the conversation won’t end anytime soon. This is good news for everyone in the community, as we see the world slowly working towards the acceptance we’ve been hoping for. So, what can athletes expect in the near future for CBD consumption?
CBD will continue to be up in the air in regards to the NFL. That is, until researchers are able to provide them with the evidence they need. Until then, battles will be fought, both won and lost, until we can find middle ground surrounding the complicated cannabinoid of CBD.
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