NFL Pitches In $1 Million For Cannabis And CBD Research On Pain

Grant comes as sports leagues around the U.S. and world have slowly opened up to athletes using cannabis as medicine
Written by 
Chris Kudialis, CBD and Cannabis Reporter.
|Last Updated:

The National Football League on Wednesday awarded a combined $1 million to a pair of medical research teams tasked with investigating the effects of cannabinoids on pain management and neuron protection from concussions in elite football players.

The pair of studies, conducted by teams at the University of California San Diego and the Saskatchewan, Canada-based University of Regina, beat out 104 other research groups that applied to the NFL for the grant money. For their prize, the UCSD and UR teams will receive the first-ever cannabis research grant from the NFL’s Pain and Management Committee, which the football league formed in 2019 to find alternatives to opioids in the pain management of its players.

The grant aims to help researchers decide whether cannabinoids like CBD and THC can be used safely and effectively to reduce players’ need for prescription medications in post-concussion syndrome treatment including opioids, the NFL said in a statement. Additionally, the studies aim to find out if cannabinoids can reduce the severity of concussions or protect at all against them.

The league has paid out over $957 million to nearly 1,400 former players suffering from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and concussions. In April 2016, the NFL settled a class action lawsuit against the league by former players who alleged game-related head trauma caused them to develop CTE.

The comprehensive settlement agreement avoided an official court ruling. Without admitting wrongdoing, the NFL agreed to an uncapped compensation fund that would potentially cover over 20,000 retired players in exchange for a release of all concussion-related claims against the league.

This week’s $1 million marijuana research grant, an NFL doctor claimed, is a step in the right direction to help avoid such problems in the future.

“As with the league’s broader approach to health and safety, we want to ensure that our players are receiving care that reflects the most up-to-date medical consensus,” said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. “While the burden of proof is high for NFL players who want to understand the impact of any medical decision on their performance, we are grateful that we have the opportunity to fund these scientifically-sound studies on the use of cannabinoids that may lead to the discovery of data-based evidence that could impact the pain management of our players.”


Chris Kudialis
Chris Kudialis
CBD and Cannabis Reporter
Chris Kudialis is the mainstream media’s authority on marijuana and CBD news coverage in Las Vegas. Chris began covering the beat as a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015, when cannabis had been medical-only for almost two years and the first dispensaries were just opening.

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