Marijuana or PainKillers | Which is Best for Sports Players?

Cannabis could be an excellent alternative

With the increased use of marijuana in America today, many people are looking into ways in which they could also benefit from it. Recently, a group of former football players accompanied by medical professionals petitioned the NFL to assess the chance that cannabis could be used as an alternative medicine for pain relief.

With reasons known to most of us, marijuana is believed to be a great painkiller that works efficiently with no or little side effects compared to prescription drugs. This is happening amidst bans made in the past concerning the use of cannabis in professional sports. Furthermore, the federal government’s stand on the use of marijuana remains the same and users can only benefit from the use of marijuana if the substance is legal in their state.

One of the former players, Mr. Kyle Turley has been making calls to the league administration asking them to research on the benefits of using cannabis instead of conventional painkillers. Mr. Turley is a retired lineman who for 9 years was involved in the league. He is advocating for cannabis, particularly for his use and again for other athletes who are looking for reliable options to the conventional opioids in the market. 

Going for marijuana as an option has been fueled by the need to get non-addictive medical solutions. For Turley, he has been addicted to Morphine and Vicodin following his retirement and confesses that he almost committed suicide. He further reiterated that these prescription painkillers caused him to spiral deeper into depression. He was left without choice other than to transition off the pills and finally turned to marijuana to manage the pain in his body. The case was serious back in 2009. If it was not for his wife, Turley would have jumped off a third storey window.  Turley said that homicidal and suicidal thoughts became part of his day-to-day living. Every moment, he was preoccupied with a thought of laying a violent hand on someone and that included his wife and children.

Is Medical Marijuana a Viable Option in Professional Sports?

The NFL policy towards marijuana and painkillers has really frustrated people like Turley and maybe it is time to consider the use of cannabis. With the current ongoing reforms on marijuana, NFL could reconsider its stand and deal with the challenges of managing pain. We all know the federal position on marijuana and the legal position faced by NFL. However, advocates like Turley are concerned on the willingness of the NFL to accept the powerful conventional painkillers rather than going for less harmful options such as cannabis. Turley, now working with the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition has continued to petition the NFL about the advantages of medical cannabis. The players’ union is now coming up with a committee willing to explore issues of pain management for both retired and current athletes. 

It is no doubt that marijuana is one of the suitable substances being looked at as viable for the management of pain among NFL athletes. This is especially after looking at medical studies that have listed marijuana as having pain relieving characteristics. These were some of the sentiments shared by one of the NFL Player’s Association executives, Mr. George Atallah. This endeavor comes in a perfect time when cannabis is now more widely accessible across the United States.

Activists of marijuana earned tremendous success during the 2016 elections across the country. For instance, the use of medical marijuana in Florida passed with a 71% vote. There were also victories for medical marijuana in North Dakota and Arkansas. It was even better for marijuana advocates in Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California who registered wins for the use of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 years and over.

Marijuana has been Proved Effective for Chronic Pain Treatment

It is not the first time that prescription painkillers have been neglected. They have been considered an epidemic in the United States. There have been reported cases of overdose and the trend is on the increase throughout the country. Actually, there is a more extensive use of painkillers in the United States than it is for tobacco. National statistics shows that about 37.8% of the adults in America are using some type of painkiller compared to a 31.1% of the same population using tobacco products. Recent research has shown that patients who got treatment for chronic pain with both cannabis and opioids consequently pivot towards increased levels of consuming marijuana.

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According to Dr. Daniel Clauw who conducted the study, about two-thirds of these patients on average decreased their dose on opioids. It was also noted that patients responded more positively looking at the side-effect profile when their pain was managed through cannabinoids than with prescription drugs. Government policies are believed to be the biggest impediment to the advancement of marijuana uses, especially in professional sports. The only hope has been brought about by the pressure that the federal government is facing looking at what is happening in individual states that have been legalizing the use of marijuana.

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