Many former NFL players have to cope with chronic pain as a result of years of getting smashed around on the field. According to one group, there’s a drug that helps ex-players cope with this issue: medical marijuana.
Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, founded by a former player, advocates for wider access to medical marijuana– in part to help players address pain issues, but also to make such treatment more widely available for everyone. The group’s advocacy seems particularly on point at the current moment, when other means of addressing for chronic pain–that is, intense painkillers–are increasingly facing scrutiny for their side effects and addictive potential. “My experience with cannabis has taught me that it is a far better option than the pills that get shoved at players,” former New Orleans Saints tight end Eddie Lee “Boo” Williams told the Daily Beast.
And now the Ravens’ own Eugene Monroe (no relation) has thrown his support behind the issue, donating $80,000 to medical marijuana research–specifically, a study examining whether cannabis can help former players, CSN reports. (The study will be done in partnership with Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania.) Monroe is the first current player to be so outspoken about the issue, even creating a website to share his views. “It’s time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players and set an example for our young athletes (high school athletes are more commonly using drugs than their peers and football players are most likely to use drugs),” he writes. “For too long, I’ve watched my teammates and good friends battle with opioid addiction and leave the game with a long road still ahead; it’s time to make a change.”
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