A Dutch researcher has announced plans to study 30 former NFL players to discover if cannabis could be a suitable medical treatment for sports injuries.
Dr. Arno Hazekamp said that the 30 former players will help him find out if whole-plant cannabis works as an effective pain reliever without intoxicating the user. The study will take place in California where cannabis is legal for medicinal use, according to the Denver Post.
In the experiment, funded by donors and Constance Therapeutics, Hazekamp will administer cannabis to the players via vapor or tincture and then follow their symptoms of pain relief from concussions.
Long-time marijuana user and former Minnesota Viking punter Chris Kluwe has joined the study saying that he hopes the effort will lead to the NFL lowering penalties on players found using pot.
“The way the NFL has it now is really not a bad system because what it does is it touches guys who really do have a problem and probably should get some sort of counseling,” Kluwe told the paper. “What I’d like to see them do is be much more lenient in terms of the penalties that are assessed on guys. So instead of having someone like Josh Gordon — who gets suspended for an entire year — go, ‘OK, we’re going make resources available to you,’ but also look at it like maybe this guy really does need this to help him play this game. ‘How can we make it so that he’s still active and functional in his everyday life and able to play in the NFL as well?’”
Hazekamp’s study is far from the only study of pot and sports.
The Post also noted that a program entitled “When the Bright Lights Fade” was recently started by several former Broncos players who teamed with Colorado’s CW Hemp and its partnering nonprofit, Realm of Caring. The group raised almost $100,000 to fund two studies on former players’ use of cannabis to treat pain.
The main difference between these and other studies is the actual marijuana ingredients used for pain relief. Some contain higher levels of the intoxicating element tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than others, the goals being to find what amount of the cannabis plant is most useful for the end goal.
In the end, though, Kluwe said he understands why the NFL is not keen on lowering penalties for pot use. “Until marijuana is legal on the federal level, then the NFL just isn’t going to touch it because then you run into trafficking issues,” the former player noted.
Still, Kluwe hoped that the study he joined and the several others currently being conducted can eventually lead to a decriminalization of pot.