Cannabis Use and the NFL

  • A 2018 study by Boston University researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank found that 190 (or 94%) of 202 football players who played in college or the NFL sampled positively for CTE.
  • For at least three years, discussion about revising the NFL’s cannabis policy has been ongoing in negotiations for the league’s next collective bargaining agreement, due in 2021.
  • Several years after Major League Baseball (MLB) stopped testing its players for marijuana, last December it likewise ended its ban on marijuana for minor leaguers, deeming reform as “a step in the right direction.”
  • Both six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys (the NFL’s top-valued franchise) have called for policy reform.
  • “I think the stigma is being removed,” said Brady. “And hopefully they’re doing a lot of research into whatever benefits there may come from it.”
  • Previous research has indicated that cannabinoids may reduce the brain’s oxidative stress following a traumatic brain injury.


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