NFL & NFLPA Pledge $1M To Pain Management Research Including Medical Marijuana

In early June 2021, the NFL and NFLPA (NFL Players Association) announced a plan to provide up to $1 million in funding and research grants for researchers investigating the pain-relieving effects of THC, CBD, and other cannabis-derived products.

These grants will be provided to researchers who will focus on both pain management in elite football players, as well as the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on athletic performance – including psychomotor skills, reaction time, and the effects on the cardiovascular system.

This Change Is A Big Departure From Previous NFL Attitudes Toward Cannabis

The recent announcement that the NFL will invest in medical marijuana is a big change from the NFL’s previous policy about marijuana use. In the past, the NFL has handed out fines, penalties, and even suspensions for players who test positive for marijuana multiple times.

While it recently eliminated suspensions for positive cannabis tests, fines still apply for players who exceed a certain threshold, up to three weeks’ pay. This announcement by the NFL could indicate that these restrictions may also be altered or eliminated.

The goal of the $1M pledge by the NFL and the NFLPA is, according to the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, to obtain “better information, [and] better science” on how non-addictive treatments like cannabis compare to other highly addictive prescription painkillers, such as opioids.

This represents a growing movement to explore alternatives to traditional painkillers. Attitudes toward marijuana use are changing as more states legalize it for recreational and medical use, and this joint pledge from the NFL and NFLPA is the latest step in this direction.

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