NFL and Players Union Grant Funding for CBD Concussion Research, Paving the Way for Safer Pain Treatment in Football

CBD Concussion Research Receives Funding Boost from NFL and Players Union

In a significant move, the National Football League (NFL) and its players union have jointly announced a new round of to support independent research on the therapeutic benefits of as a pain treatment alternative to opioids for players with concussions. The organizations will be granting a total of $526,525 for two studies, including a pioneering research project led by the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN). This study aims to explore the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) and non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation (nVNS) as alternative treatments for post- headache pain.

ASPN, describing the research project, highlights that “new treatment avenues such as cannabinoids and non-drug options such as [nVNS] have shown promise as a potential alternative to opioid-based treatments in their effects on the inflammatory responses to concussion.” The randomized study, a first-of-its-kind, will compare nVNS and CBD in contact sport athletes experiencing post-traumatic headache (PTH) to the current standard of care treatment. The collected in this pilot study will pave the way for future investigations into the treatment of patients with post-traumatic headache.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association have been actively promoting research into the benefits and risks of cannabinoids, including CBD, for several years. In 2022, the league authorized $1 million in grants for two studies that examine the efficacy of marijuana and its components in managing pain and providing neuroprotection from concussions among football players.

Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer, expressed his enthusiasm for seeking new knowledge and techniques to ensure the best possible care for NFL athletes. He stated, “We are proud to lead the way on investigating how the use of CBD and other alternative measures could positively impact pain management for players.” The NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee co-chair, Kevin Hill, also shared his hope that these studies would aid players in managing pain associated with professional football.

In June 2022, NFL Commissioner and the league’s players union first unveiled their plan to provide funding for CBD concussion research, highlighting the widespread interest among players and stakeholders in exploring the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids as an alternative to opioid painkillers. To further support this initiative, the joint NFL-NFLPA committee organized two informational forums on CBD in 2020.

Beyond the realm of research, the NFL’s drug testing policy underwent notable changes in 2020 as part of a agreement. The revised policy ensures that players will no longer face potential game suspensions due to positive tests for any drug, including marijuana.

This evolving approach to drug policies extends beyond the NFL. Other sports leagues have also adopted revised policies as the movement for state-level cannabis legalization continues to gain momentum. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) committee dedicated to promoting health and wellness among student athletes is proposing the removal of marijuana from its banned substances list. Similarly, the National Basketball Association (NBA) eliminated testing requirements while permitting passive investments in the . However, the NBA clarified that players would not be allowed to promote marijuana companies under the latest collective bargaining agreement.

In 2021, made an announcement that they would no longer penalize fighters for positive marijuana tests, signaling a shift in their approach. Moreover, the Kansas City Royals recently formed a partnership with a cannabis to educate about the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD, making them the second Major League Baseball (MLB) team to do so after the Chicago Cubs. MLB itself forged a league-wide partnership with a popular CBD brand last year. Charlotte’s Web Holdings, one of the country’s most recognizable hemp-derived CBD companies, became the “Official CBD of MLB.”

The collaborative efforts of the NFL and its players union in funding CBD concussion research not only demonstrate a commitment to player but also pave the way for safer and more effective pain treatment in football. This progressive approach could have far-reaching implications for the broader sports community and beyond.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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