Why NFL Players Are Pushing For More Research On CBD
Photographer: Alexey Stiop
Professional sporting bodies have always been strict when it comes to what drugs can and can’t be used. This is no truer than in the case of the NFL – the major American football league of the USA. When it comes to cannabinoids, the league is quite clear on the matter; they cannot be used. Yet a growing number of NFL players are looking to have this ban reconsidered, especially when it comes to CBD.
CBD AND SPORTS RECOVERY
There are two main reasons athletes are banned from using certain substances. The first is to prevent them from taking anything that could unfairly enhance their performance. The second is to prevent them from taking something that would be considered illegal. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is legal in much of the US, yet due to its association with THC and cannabis, it is largely looked down upon by the NFL.
Some players are trying to change that. For example, ex-NFL player Jake Plummer swears by the use of CBD, and is actively campaigning for its furtherment. American football is a vigorous and violent sport, with players often gaining chronic injuries over their careers. As such, it is not uncommon for them to become reliant on potent painkillers – even after they have stopped playing professionally. Plummer is one such player, but instead of relying on heavy sedatives, he ingests CBD oil and rubs CBD gel on his back and arms. According to him, it offers relief, and even allows him to play 2-3 games with younger players before getting stiff. He is one of many, both active and retired, who believe CBD could be an effective alternative.
“There were guys in college that were taking Percocets all the time and drinking beers,” he said. “It was rampant. I had done that a few times, but the effects afterward, the day after, just the feeling I had, I hated it. It made me feel detached. In 10 years (in the NFL), I took maybe 20, where I could come out of a game and be like, ‘I need to make this flight home, because it hurts like hell just sitting here.’ But if I had had (CBD), I would much rather have done that.”
“Do we have the silver bullet? Do we have the remedy? I don’t know,” Plummer said. “I sure would like to find out.”
PUSHING FOR CBD RESEARCH
Plummer and the other players who realise the potential know the NFL are not going to take their word for it. As a result, they have banded together behind a cause known as “When Bright Lights Fade,” with the aim to raise money to further CBD research. The ultimate aim is to fund extensive clinical trials, and assess how CBD can be harnessed to help treat concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – conditions common in the sport.
With more research, CBD could take a place in the proper treatment of sporting injury. More investigation is needed, but things are looking brighter and brighter for CBD. Let’s hope these band of players is successful in funding the research they so dearly want to be conducted.