As the plant compound Cannabidiol (CBD) continues to revolutionize lives, professional athletes are looking to incorporate its numerous health benefits. NFL athletes who's bodies are ravaged by physical pain from constant impact are pushing for more research in the benefits of CBD to counter the wear and tear of their physically devastating careers.
CBD is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD offers a multitude of benefits according to research without the psychoactive reactions that are experienced while using THC-rich marijuana products. Research suggests CBD promotes healthy heart, joint and brain function, along with supporting immune system health. All of these issues plague National Football League (NFL) players.
Playing Through The Pain
NFL players are three times more likely to die of neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). In addition, brain trauma effects one in three NFL players, and concussions have become a major factor for neurodegenerative diseases, most specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In 2016, a $900 million settlement was reached after 5,000 players filed a lawsuit against the NFL to resolve concerns that the league withheld information linking concussions to brain trauma.
For NFL players, pain becomes a constant—off and on the field–and continues after retirement. On the field, players often choose to play through their games despite injuries, and sometimes throughout their entire career. According to The Washington Post, nine in 10 players reported playing while hurt during their career.
With more players starting the league in their early 20’s and the average career lasting 3.3 years, NFL players who live to the average life expectancy of 55, suffer a long life of discomfort and pain even after hanging up their jerseys.
A Lifetime of Pain: CBD Can Help
Some injuries can be life changing, and the constant demand to give 100 percent while injured, reduces athlete’s ability to properly heal. Sports culture’s "no pain, no gain" mindset creates a screwed up system where players have to fight through pain, neuro-inflammation, muscle spasms, and broken bones.
Retired NFL players have shared stories about “hurting like hell every morning” and being unable to “walk for any extended distance.” Jake Plummer, who spent 10 years as a quarterback in the NFL, says CBD is responsible for giving him what so many players aren’t able to experience—a full life after football.
Plummer who is currently 41, has been using CBD for more than a year, and has become confident enough in his body that the idea of returning to football has crossed his mind—even after 10 years away from the field.
“My old injured joints now feel inflammation free. I’m more mentally alert & feel like my whole system operates more efficiently,” Plummer once tweeted.
Natural Comfort With CBD
Research supports Plummer’s claim that CBD has the ability to help support healthy heart, muscle, and joints. Active NFL Offensive Tackle, Eugene Monroe, believes opening the door to CBD research will help current and former NFL players deal with the impact that numerous hits to their bodies and brains endure.
Dr. Rachna Patel, has supported Medical Marijuana since 2012, and has helped many athletes who have found health support through therapy.
Plummer and Monroe have asked the NFL and the NFL Players Association to re-think their substance ban on marijuana for non-recreational use. Through sponsorship via the non-profit Realm of Caring, both hope that the benefits of CBD will bolster the health of fellow athletes.
As an all-natural compound, Plummer believes CBD is safer than the endless supply of medications that players are fed. Medications such as Vicodin, injected local anesthesia, and Toradol, can commonly lead to addiction.
Reducing The Cannabis Stigma
In 2014 a group of retired players sued the NFL, claiming the were illegally supplied narcotics to numb their injuries. J.D. Hill, who played for seven years in the 1970s, said in a statement. "I became addicted and turned to the streets after my career and was homeless. Never took a drug in my life, and I became a junkie in the NFL."
Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games and SnowBomb has worked with athletes for over 20 years. His 420 Games are a series of athletic events that show the world a non-prejudice side of marijuana enthusiasts. "Via athleticism we are showing the world that cannabis can be a healthy part of an active and responsible lifestyle," says McAlpine.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, owner and director of Canna-Centers has also found success using CBD to support healthy organs in athletes. Kyle Turley a 10-year NFL offensive tackle “turned to medical cannabis ... to improve quality of life without pills.” The success of medical cannabis, has turned Turley into an advocate and spokesperson for CBD research in treating NFL players.
More Research For More Understanding
It seems that CBD offers multiple health benefits that would normally require a player to take a cocktail of pills, while enduring negative side effects and possibly addiction.
The NFL offers expensive and unique recovery methods for players. However once players retire, the medical resources become limited. Allowing the research of marijuana in providing relief, will open the door to support.
*The FDA has not evaluated the validity or truthfulness of these claims; therefore, I encourage you to review published researches relating to the benefits and properties of CBD hemp oils and other CBD products..