NFL and cannabis: League, union offer $1 million for pain management research

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, listed cannabis and CBD as areas the league wants to better understand.

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The NFL and NFLPA are jointly offering up to $1 million in grants to researchers who can help the league move forward with alternatives to opioid-based pain management.

The NFL and NFLPA are jointly offering up to $1 million in grants to researchers who can help the league move forward with alternatives to opioid-based pain management.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The NFL and NFLPA are jointly offering up to $1 million in grants to researchers who can help the league move forward with alternatives to opioid-based pain management.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, on Tuesday listed cannabis and CBD as areas the league wants to better understand.

“Players are always looking to find treatments that are going to improve their quality of life,” Sills said. “But at the same time, players are significantly concerned about the impact on performance.”

At issue are two questions: is cannabis safe for pain management? And does it work? The league wants to see research, too, about how it interacts with other medications.

The league will issue anywhere from one to five grants in December, with $1 million being split among the winners.

The NFL is not changing its marijuana policy, which was agreed to in last year’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CBA loosened the league’s marijuana rules last year — players can’t be suspended for testing positive and can only be tested during a two-week period each year. The threshold to trigger a positive test increased four-fold.

Tuesday’s announcement was made by Sills, NFL executive vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller and Dr. Kevin Hill, the co-chair of the NFL-NFLPA Joint Pain Management Committee. He is the author of “Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth about the World’s Most Popular Weed.”

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