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Cannabis Pain Relief For Athletes

February 13, 2017 | By | In: athletes, cannabis, chronic pain, medical marijuana, NFL, opioids, pain

Should cannabis be legal among athletes?

If you haven’t heard the news medical marijuana in New York is now legal to treat chronic pain but not for pro athletes. Many people swear by marijuana, or cannabis, as an herb that relieves pain, and physicians like Matthew Kalter in Long island see it helping those who have no other options to relieve their pain.  While the NFL is standing firm on the ban of cannabis for treating pain.

There are even pro athletes like Eugene Monroe, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens, who has campaigned for the NFL to stop testing players for marijuana use, when treating chronic pain. McCaffrey believes as many others that opiods for pain management are not as safe, causing higher rates of addiction, even death. Cannabis, now approved as a pain treatment for chronic pain in New York is healthier, less addictive and, better in managing pain.

*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

*Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain, and by people addicted to opioids. Wikipedia

Inside NFL’s Backwards Marijuana Policy. Given America’s growing acceptance of cannabis, the bad press the NFL gets when it punishes marijuana use more harshly than domestic abuse, and the personal tragedies and lawsuits that have stemmed from team doctors overprescribing opioids, it seems a little peculiar that the NFL continues to retain an authoritarian stance on marijuana use while team doctors simultaneously dole out powerful and addictive painkillers. Especially considering that the league is mired in concussion suits and there’s a possibility that cannabis could reduce the impact of head trauma. Rolling Stone September 21, 2016

The NFL believes there is not enough evidence to effect a change in the league’s position. Players continue to be tested for marijuana, violations resulting in fines or suspension, while the use of damaging and addictive opioids is encouraged.

Eugene Monroe has become an advocate medical marijuana as an alternative to pain addicting medications. He highlights the benefits of medical marijuana for pain management on his website. Monroe has stated on his site “I’m calling for the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and stop over-prescribing addictive and harmful opioids.”

Dr. Kalter in Smithtown, NY, a top Long Island pain management physician is way ahead of the game. As a medical marijuana certification provider in New York, Dr. Kalter understands that cannabis is an effective alternative, healthier choice pain medicine that eliminates the threat of harmful opiods . Cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory, but it can also protect the brain after traumatic injury (concussions).

“Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is a product of the Cannabis sativa plant and the active compounds from this plant are collectively referred to as cannabinoids. For several centuries, marijuana has been used as an alternative medicine in many cultures and, recently, its beneficial effects have been shown in: the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy; anorexia and cachexia seen in HIV/AIDS patients; and in neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.” Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.

Groups like the NFLPA, The Players’ Association is looking to get the league to change its ways regarding the disciplining of players for the use of marijuana, which is legal in some form or another by now in most of the United States as the state level. Union president DeMaurice Smith recently spoke with the Washington Post about their intention to present a proposal during the course of the offseason that favors a less punitive approach to handling the use of the drug by its union members. It’s only a matter of time where the NFL starts flexing in its stance and adapts to the theory that cannabis is a better alternative to players being prescribed opioids in order to manage the pain that comes with the profession. Steelers Depot

“We were given opioids like candy on planes coming home from games,” reveals former Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts safety Gerome Sapp, recounting the rampant misuse of prescription drugs during his time within the NFL. Former Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts safety Gerome Sapp

Former pro players have made it their mission to educate the sports community on Cannabis in Professional Sports,”with research, products and events. These athletes include former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Kyle Turley, former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson and former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton.


Unlike the NFL, the National Wrestling Alliance supports use of medical marijuana for pain. The NHL doesn’t punish players for using marijuana. How long will the NFL continue to ban the use of cannabis? They may need to take a second look at the dangers of opioid usage. For pro athletes, the search continues for better and safer ways to ease the pain.




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