CBD and the NFL: Can NFL Players Use CBD?

Leather football positioned on green turf

Football is a brutal, bone-crunching sport. There are few, if any, NFL players who have not sustained a major injury throughout their careers. It’s no surprise, then, that players turn to every sort of drug and medication available to help relieve their pain and maintain their performance level.

Unfortunately, players needing constant pain medication can often slide into prescription opioid abuse. In recent years, the opioid crisis in America has become such an issue that the NFL has begun to reevaluate other natural, non-additive measures for pain relief, including non-psychoactive, high-quality CBD oil.

Here at EndoCoast, we get questions all the time about CBD for professional athletes. To help you better understand how the NCAA and other sports organizations, like the NFL, approach CBD use, our team has taken a deep dive into the world of sports. First up: the NFL.

Two teams of football players on a green field.

CBD and the NFL’s Drug Policies

CBD and the NFL have not had a great history together. Like many other major sporting organizations, the NFL takes a hard stance on any drug usage. Effectively, CBD is banned by the NFL because of its association with THC, also derived from cannabis. THC is the compound that causes a “high,” and is completely prohibited for NFL players.

In 2016, former NFL player Eugene Monroe became the first active NFL player to advocate for the use of cannabis and its derivatives for sports injuries and pain management. Openly advocating for the use of marijuana was unheard of at the time, but Monroe didn’t stop there: He called for the NFL to stop testing for marijuana altogether.

On his website, he says, “It’s time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players. For too long, I’ve watched my teammates and good friends battle with opioid addiction and leave the game with a long road still ahead; it’s time to make a change.”

This started a chain reaction of public support within the league. It is an open secret that the majority of NFL players use CBD and marijuana—an estimated 50% or more of all players, according to the NFL itself, and even more than that, according to some.

Furthermore, the 2018 Farm Bill cleared the path for industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD to skyrocket in popularity in recent history. Only three states—Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota—are opposed to CBD products, but hemp-derived CBD is effectively legal across the country (with certain restrictions).

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2020: CBD and the NFL’s Changing Relationship

In January 2020, the NFL Players Association and the Pain Management Committee of the NFL held a fact-finding forum with sport supplement manufacturers that use CBD in their products. The forum was meant to inform medical experts on the committee about the scientific benefits of CBD and how CBD can be used by athletes to manage pain.

In a statement released after the forum, the committees remained skeptical but showed interest in changes in the future. “CBD is a promising compound, but the level of its use in the United States outpaces the level of research at this point,” the document reads. “Most of the hype about CBD is based upon results from animal studies. Clinical trials in large numbers of people are usually needed before millions of Americans use a medication for serious medical problems.”

That was far from the end of it, though. In response to mounting support among players and coaches, the NFL started to create major policy changes.

The New NFL Marijuana Policy

On March 15, 2020, the NFL ratified an agreement with the players union that overhauled its policy towards marijuana usage.

Under the new agreement, the amount of THC needed for a test to be considered positive was multiplied by four, and the testing period was reduced to two weeks of training.

More importantly, players who do test positive for THC will no longer be suspended from the NFL. Instead, their tests will be reviewed and the board will decide if the player needs treatment. In an age where medical and recreational marijuana is legal across 33 states and counting, this is a progressive move away from punishment.

This means that, effectively, NFL players can use pure CBD products so long as they don’t contain an excessive amount of THC. For NFL players suffering from chronic pain without a natural method for relief, this was a game-changer!

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How EndoCoast CBD Can Help Safely and Effectively Manage Pain For Athletes

More and more professional athletes, like former NFL players Ricky Williams and Rob Gronkowski, are pushing for more NFL players to use CBD, and it’s not hard to see why.

Pain-relieving medications like opioids come with an incredible risk for abuse, addiction, and dependency. CBD, however, is derived from a plant that has been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years, and studies have shown that there are very little side-effects involved.

Not all CBD is created equal, though. Many over-the-counter CBD supplements claim to have the complete range of full-spectrum CBD oil benefits, but they are untested or derived using harsh chemicals. When you purchase a CBD product, you should opt for a product that you can trust.

EndoCoast sells only lab-tested, non-GMO, high-quality CBD oil products. We derive our CBD from organically grown hemp and a pure CO2 extraction process, meaning that no harsh chemical solvents, herbicides, or pesticides are used to create our product.

Our team is passionate about improved natural health and wellness for everyone, including athletes. We know you work hard on your body, so we create a product that matches those high standards. If you have more questions about our products, want to learn more about CBD and the NFL, or how they can benefit your training, check out more CBD information on our Learning Center or contact us at support@endocoast.com.

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