Injuries are part of the job for players in the National Football League. Many players are injured every season. Often, those injuries result in severe pain, and for some it becomes chronic, life long suffering. The NFL is famous for prescribing pharmaceutical pain pills for such injuries, but many players would prefer a more natural form of pain relief. Should NFL players be permitted to use marijuana to treat injuries now that the plant is legal for medical use in over half of the United States?
The NFL told CBS News that it’s not changing the policy to include the use of medical marijuana because neither the league nor the union have been instructed to do so by medical staff, but it would be considered if it was recommended.
The NFL did loosen the rules for marijuana use a bit in the revised Policy and Program on Substances for Abuse. The allowable level of THC was raised from fifteen nanograms to thirty-five nanograms. One nanogram is one billionth of a gram. A player used to risk being suspended for an entire year if he tested positive for marijuana during the yearly drug test. Under the revised policy, the suspension time is reduced significantly. Now, players risk being suspended for up to ten games. Policy changed to reflect what the players are asking for, and the movement that is quickly sweeping across the nation.
A revised set of rules allowing NFL players to treat pain and many other conditions with marijuana may be a possibility in the not so far future. Elections this November will be a glimpse into the future of marijuana in the United States. If retail marijuana sales are legal in multiple states by 2016, it will be difficult for the NFL to reprimand players for using it.
photo credit: Doug Pensinger