The NFL Players Association should promote the use of CBD

By Jeff Nixon
May. 31, 2016


Did you know that the US Government holds a patent on Cannabinoids, which includes CBD, as neuroprotectants and antioxidants?

“Cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults such as stroke or trauma, or in the treatment of neuroprotectants such as Alzheimer’s Disease.” United States Patent – 6630507 

Let me write down the key phrase in that sentence one more time in a bold, italicized, underlined and capitalized format, so that it sinks deeply into the brains of those sitting in the decision making seats at the NFL Players Association. The U.S. Government says that Cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for “LIMITING NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE FOLLOWING ISHEMIC INSULTS SUCH AS TRAUMA.”

In plain English: Cannabinoids can help NFL players that have been banging their heads against one another!

Scientists and researchers have already shown that MTBI or “mild” traumatic brain injuries are doing the most damage to the brains of people playing contact sports. All of this information came out in our lawsuits against the NFL - and it’s the main reason the League and the owners decided to settle those lawsuits. We discovered that, in addition to the concussions players suffered, it was also the thousands of smaller sub-concussive blows we experienced over years of playing pee wee, Pop Warner, High School, College and the Pros that were causing the most damage. We still don’t know why some players develop serious cognitive impairments and others, like myself, haven’t - yet. (lots of emphasis on the yet). Nonetheless, we should continue to explore every avenue to find ways of treating, limiting and preventing these impairments from getting worse. I’m getting ready to go down one of those avenues and I hope you will join me.

There may be a preventative solution for neurological conditions like TBI and CTE that exist in Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, a compound found in abundance in the Hemp plant marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive (doesn’t get you high), non-toxic, non-addictive and has already been proven to stimulate the human endocannabinoid system, which regulates a variety of physiological processes including pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

So, now that the NFLPA has been armed with this information, they need to advocate for its immediate use – particularly right after football games where 1,600 players have just sustained numerous “ishemic insults” and traumatic injuries to the brain. If the NFLPA doesn’t jump on this bandwagon (one that former players have been riding for quite some time), then they are just adding insult to injury.

Although I believe the NFL also has the responsibility to do all they can to protect players from injury, it is the NFLPA that represents the players and therefore it is their duty to push the owners and the League to adopt policies and procedures that benefit the players. You would think the NFL owners would also want to hitch their wagon to something that has been given the Government's seal of approval - especially when it could reduce their liability.  

This past Friday, May 26th, the NFLPA’s Mackey-White Health and Safety Committee held its annual meeting. Their own website says that this committee was established to: “Advance important issues concerning the overall health and wellness of current, former, and future NFL players. Topics included ongoing research efforts, evidence-based improvements to player health care, and next steps for continuing their ongoing mission of progressing player wellness.” 

I don’t know if they talked about the use of CBD during their meeting, but if they didn’t, they need to get their ass in gear and start advocating for its use NOW, not after additional clinical trials, research, surveys and studies. They already have evidence-based research that was conducted by Uncle Sam which should, in and of itself, give them all the ammunition they need to take this to the NFL for approval. The NFLPA said they were going to let medical science point them in the direction in their fight to protect players' health and safety. The Federal government has already pointed them in the right direction. We don't need a Harvard Study to tell us what we already know.  What more does the NFLPA need?  

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that the NFLPA and the NFL owners are still watching the old movie “Reefer Madness” 

They are stuck in a time warp that doesn’t allow them to see past the word “Marijuana” or anything even remotely associated with their imaginary view of this supposedly evil weed. There are still many misconceptions about CBD - the "non-intoxicating" cannabis compound and THC “The High Causer,” which also has therapeutic properties. This article will focus on CBD, since I have already discussed the topic of THC and Cannabis use in a previous article.

As usual, former players are going to have to push the NFLPA to do the right thing for past, present and future players.

The push for protecting and treating players has already begun. The Realm of Caring Foundation has launched “When the Bright Lights Fade,” a campaign to raise funds for a series of studies exploring the use of one of the non-euphoric ingredients in Marijuana - cannabidiol (known as CBD). There is promising research showing that it can help treat and prevent the onset of symptoms associated with CTE.

The ROC (Realm of Caring) Foundation makes the following statement regarding their campaign and the studies they will be conducting: “This campaign is not about advocating for professional athletes to use cannabinoids recreationally, but rather to encourage the exploration of new options that could lead to solving the epidemic in the NFL that currently exists. This campaign will NOT be an attack on the NFL or its current cannabinoid policy, but rather a platform to identify this as a real problem that must be addressed NOW and an opportunity to explore a potential solution to the problem.

For the record, CBD’s are a “legal” substance and products that contain them are being sold right now at health food stores all across the United States. They can be purchased on-line and shipped directly to your home. Here’s a link to the products that are available through CW Botanicals: http://cwbotanicals.com/

I don’t normally endorse any products - and for the record, I’m not getting paid a single cent for promoting any CW Botanical products, or endorsing the ROC campaign. Like most former NFL players, I just want to do everything I can to help my Alumni brothers and in this case, present and future players too.

If you want to do something to help the campaign, then sign up at the “Realm of Caring” website at this link: https://www.theroc.us/bright-lights and they will keep you in the loop.