REPORT: NFL to study marijuana usage more for player pain treatment

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Marijuana usage is one of the major topics of discussion that the National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell are at opponent ends of the spectrum with the NFL Players’ Association.

The NFLPA has been on the forefront, for some time now, for having it legal for players to use as means for dealing the onslaught of chronic pain their endure through any given season. They firmly believe that there is a route out there somewhere where every can agree on a therapeutic use of cannabis for players, versus using standard over-the-counter pain killers.

And while Goodell has been openly skeptical of the “addictive and unhealthy” adverse effects that marijuana can have on people, he also understands there is a clear contingent that use it for medicinal purposes. And that’s reason precisely that he and the league are open to negotiating with the Players’ Association on it.

A report from The Washington Post late on Monday said that the NFL sent a letter to the NFLPA saying it offering to work jointly with the players’ union in an effort to further study the use of marijuana.

“We look forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players,” said Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications.

The NFLPA has been researching it themselves for some time now, and they have to decide whether or not they are willing to work with the NFL now on it. Executive direct DeMaurice Smith said during the winter that uncovering the medicinal side of cannabis is “appropriate,” emphasizing that it is important to “not simply assume” that players are primarily using it for recreational use.

The players’ union has been “actively looking” into marijuana as a pain management outlet going back to last fall. The cry for marijuana usage in the NFL has seemingly been getting louder in recent years. Former offensive lineman Eugene Monroe has been the captain of that ship in promoting player usage of cannabis.

Former Lions linebacker and current free agent DeAndry Levy has been very vocal over the years about treatment for pain in the league. The 30-year-old veteran of eight seasons has been openly against opioid pain killers and other pills typically prescribed by doctors, saying it is “something that needs to be addressed.”

While there still appears to be a long road ahead to finding an answer that both the league and players can agree on, the openness to study, perhaps together, is a big step forward to say the least.