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  • Writer's pictureNick Richter

Opiate Use in the NFL and How CBD Can Help

By Savannah Cotten

It’s no surprise that football is one of America’s most beloved and dangerous sports.

According to the 2018 NFL injury report, 291 concussions were reported during the full season, which included both practice and games. As the number of reported concussions continues to rise each year, so does the concern for players’ health.

Concussions are just one of the countless injuries NFL players experience during their time in the league. Players equate the impact of play on the field to getting into multiple car accidents in one afternoon. It’s also important to note the long-term impacts, both mentally and physically, that these injuries can have on players long after their careers are over.

With the severity of these injuries, NFL players are often prescribed painkillers, a majority being extremely addictive opiates. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. As the opiate epidemic continues to run rampant through the country, athletes are seeking alternative methods to aid their chronic pain.

Advocacy for CBD to relieve chronic pain

Many athletes support the use of CBD for chronic pain relief considering its medicinal, non-addictive benefits. Former NFL Linebacker, Reggie Williams, has been a vocal advocate for the use of CBD after struggling to find a resource that could treat his chronic pain.

However, while many athletes, especially those in the NFL, support the use of CBD in pain management, CBD is currently banned under the NFL’s Substances of Abuse policy. Any player that tests positive for CBD on two or more occasions is subject to suspension.

The current NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is the agreement between the players’ union and management council that represents the owners, expires in 2020. This stands as an opportunity to revise the current policies and regulations regarding CBD use among athletes.

With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and the increasing interest in CBD research, 2019 is lining up to be a promising year for the CBD industry and for the future healthcare policies of the NFL.

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