Last year, the National Football League changed its longtime policy of suspending players who tested positive for marijuana multiple times. The collective bargaining agreement was only the first step, with the League announcing it will now provide $1 million in funding for pain management research.
The research will look into cannabinoids being a better option to treat pain than prescription pills, a proposal that many players have heavily advocated for years now.
Funded by the pain management committee of the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the research will give players a better understanding of the safety of using cannabis and CBD as an alternative to opioids.
This research will also benefit the general public with information about pain management using cannabis and the risks of using prescription medication.
Players have always needed options for pain treatment that doesn't affect their performance.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL chief medical officer, said that the question we need to ask is how medical marijuana and CBD affect performance in athletes.
Dr. Kevin Hill, director of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and co-chair of the pain management committee said that the current level of interest in the consumption of medical marijuana exceeds the amount of available evidence.
"There is a need for better information, better science," said Hill, via Forbes.
"When we talk about having elite athletes use CBD to treat pain, we want to make sure it's, number one, safe, and number two, efficacious. I don't think we're at that point yet."
Hill also said that players have mixed results when it comes to using cannabis for pain treatment. He indicated that using CBD or THC to treat pain can end up in liver toxicity.
The $1 million in funding will finally give us the answers to these important questions.