The growing trend towards CBD oil for NFL players is a potential game-changer for countless athletes. For decades, these individuals have used opioid painkillers. In general, they become addicted and fall into a terrible spiral. The players find that they need more of the drug to have the same effect as before.
With CBD, they can find relief without addiction. Former players such as Rob Gronkowski have spoken out in support of CBD in the NFL. For a long time, CBD oil for NFL players was illegal. The League was a staunch prohibitor of the cannabinoid. It finally acquiesced to the demands of players and has made significant changes to its rules.
In this article, we check out the new rules. First, however, let’s find out why we need CBD in the NFL.
NFL Players & Opioids – A Tragic Tale
A recent study found out something disturbing about NFL players and opioid use. University of Florida researchers found that NFL players who used opioid painkillers early in retirement still used them almost a decade later.
In the study, the researchers spoke with 90 former players who had participated in a 2010 study. It turns out that half of the players who used opioids in 2010 still used them in 2019. Approximately 60% of opioid users from 2010 reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms in the past week. They also had low scores on quality of life measures concerning mental health.
A 2011 study involved a telephone survey of over 600 retired NFL players. It found that 52% of players used opioids during their careers. Of these players, approximately 70% reported misuse. Overall, the prevalence of opioid misuse was triple the rate of the general population. The researchers also found that misuse was associated with more pain, heavy alcohol drinking levels, and undiagnosed concussions.
Dozens of NFL players have spoken openly about their battles with opioids. They outline how it begins with a few pills and escalates. Soon, they take 50+ a day to try and combat the pain. This level of painkiller use is extremely hazardous to their health. It is also expensive, and ex-pros suffer from high rates of depression.
It isn’t a surprise that CBD oil for NFL players is extremely popular. The cannabinoid is non-intoxicating and seems to cause no issues with addiction. More pertinently, CBD in the NFL could reduce pain and the need for opioids. What was shocking is the NFL’s obstinate anti-CBD stance, which it held for too long.
CBD in the NFL – A Hard Battle
With so much evidence that shows the harm of chronic opioid use, CBD in the NFL should be a no-brainer. However, the League fought against its use to the detriment of the players. As recently as March 2020, the NFL said that there wasn’t enough research into CBD to allow its use.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed during the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFLPA finally listened to the pleas of people who wanted CBD oil for NFL players. The NFL has agreed to no longer suspend players who test positive for THC after using CBD.
Before these recent changes, a positive THC test could result in a 10-game suspension. In some situations, a player could have his contract terminated if he failed more than one test.
Crucially, the THC threshold in drug tests has moved from 35 nanograms to 150. This means players who use CBD should comfortably pass a drug screening. At least, they will if they stick with brands that ensure there is a maximum of 0.3% THC in their products.
Proponents of CBD in the NFL say it could have a huge array of benefits. The risk of pain and inflammation is extremely high amongst football players. It takes time to recover, time that players often don’t have. They get a week’s rest between games but still have to practice.
CBD could help reduce inflammation and perhaps speed up recovery. This enables players to return to duty faster, without causing a build-up of injuries. A study published in Antioxidants in 2020 looked at the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. It found that cannabidiol did indeed possess both benefits, with no psychotropic effects.
Final Thoughts on CBD in the NFL
It took far too long, but at least the National Football League has finally seen sense. CBD in the NFL is legal, so players can use it without the risk of a ban. The league has also reduced penalties for testing positive for THC. While it is too late for countless ex-pros, it could change the current crop of players’ lives.
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