New Evidence Calls NFL Marijuana Ban into Question
New Frontier Analysts
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By New Frontier Analysts
New research from the Salk Institute in San Diego suggests that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, helps to remove the toxic proteins known to accumulate in the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients. THC also helps to reduce cellular inflammation, according to the study, which is known to be an underlying factor in the disease’s progression. The researchers believe this is likely because the THC activates the same receptors as the brain’s natural endocannabinoids which serve a protective function in the brain.
This is only a preliminary study, and clinical trials are just getting underway. However, it is suggestive of a larger trend of pre-clinical trials which point heavily towards potential medicinal properties of cannabis, which has only recently become the subject of serious scientific inquiry. This research, on top of countless others, calls even further into question the NFL’s ban on medical marijuana.
It has been shown that 30% of NFL players get Alzheimer’s or dementia, and with cannabis showing striking results in preliminary trials, an outright ban seems excessive and even negligent. The NFL’s stance on marijuana seems even more anachronistic in light of the traumatic brain injuries and diseases like CTE that plague the league’s former athletes--conditions which cannabis has been shown to help alleviate.
NFL players are also at an extreme risk for chronic pain, and with chronic pain sufferers making up the majority of medical marijuana users, it’s unfortunate that those in the NFL can’t use cannabis. Kyle Turley, a former offensive tackle, said in an interview with Katie Couric, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for cannabis, period. Cannabis has saved my life. I don’t think of suicide anymore. That’s a big thing. You would think the NFL would want to address that a little bit more.” Jake Plummer has also issued a heartfelt entreaty to the NFL to lift its ban on cannabis, citing his own personal success using it as a pain-reliever, especially the high-CBD extract, “Charlotte’s Web.”
It does, however, appear that the NFL is taking baby steps towards softening its attitude on cannabis. In January, the league’s senior vice president for player health and safety had a call with researchers studying the effects of medical marijuana, in an effort to learn more about its potential medical benefits. It would be prudent for the NFL to listen to these and other researchers, and embrace the use of cannabis for the health and well-being of its players.