Last week, the NFL announced that it had issued grants worth $1 million for research studies. The studies would look into the effectiveness of using marijuana and its components in pain management and offering neuroprotection from concussions among NFL players. Out of 100 applicants, the commission selected the University of California San Diego and University of Regina, which is located in Canada.
This is the league’s attempt to provide its players with quality care that is up-to date with the medical standards of health and safety. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said this opportunity would provide its players with scientifically backed information on how the use of cannabinoids would impact their performance.
Researcher Kevin Hill told the Associated Press that the reason why there is a limited body of research on marijuana’s potential use for pain management is because it is a federally controlled substance. Hill said that industry stakeholders do not want to back similar research because of the wide availability and consumption of cannabis products.
Funding for the research was first previewed in June 2021 after a growing interest among stakeholders and players who were looking for an alternative to opioids as well as exploring the benefits of using cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Mark Wallace from UC San Diego Health was excited that his team would be working with the professional players to shed further light on how cannabis is useful in pain management.
This research initiative is expected to take three years with the key areas of focus being the effects of cannabinoids in pain management, the effects of nonpharmacologic treatments and the effects of cannabis on athletic performance.
Professor Patrick Neary from the University of Regina said that the core of his research will be on the prevention and treatment of concussions. He believes that formulations found in medical cannabis can be useful to athletes who have acute and long-term chronic effects of concussions.
In 2020 after a collective bargaining agreement, the league increased the threshold of what makes a positive THC test. Moreover, NFL players would get fined instead of facing suspensions after the drug tests came back positive. However, there is no guarantee that the findings from the research would help in revising the league’s policy on banning players who use the drugs.
Recently, other sport leagues have been revising their drug-testing policies. Last year, the NBA announced that it would not subject its players to THC tests. However, they would look out for cases where players have a history of substance use. The MLB removed marijuana from its list of banned substances in 2019. Despite this, baseball players are not allowed to work while under the influence or receive sponsorship contracts from cannabis businesses.
Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency will conduct a scientific review of marijuana this year in order to determine whether its athletes can remain internationally banned from using cannabis.
Such studies are likely to add to the existing body of knowledge regarding the potential health effects of the marijuana products made by various companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS).
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