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Rick Upchurch Broncos CBD
Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Rick Upchurch has been a huge advocate of CBD Oil in the NFL. Should the NFL consider it as a pain management tool?

For decades there has been so much controversy surrounding substances that people in the sports world can and can’t use to help enhance their overall performance. Among the many sports fields caught up in the controversy is American Football, with a lot of debate around the use of CBD products specifically. 

Many players have been very vocal about wanting the NFLPA to allow the use of CBD for pain management – CBD oil in the NFL has become a huge topic in recent years. Finally, in 2019 the association announced that it would study cannabis and its cannabinoids to determine if it was a possible pain management tool.

The first step towards that process was taken in January 2020, and it made many players hopeful that CBD oil could one day be allowed in the NFL. A pain management committee was created by the NFL to meet with the manufacturers of CBD to explore whether the two could mix.

The NFL set out to gather as much information and scientific research as possible. The aim was to learn about different CBD delivery methods and how products like tinctures, edibles, and vaporizers could help.

However, at the time of writing, the ban on CBD products is still in place. The league has said that there isn’t enough research to support claims regarding the efficacy of CBD. But all hope is not lost. Players are speaking out on CBD NFL topics, research is ongoing, and there have been a few positive policy changes.

Former NFL Players Speak out

Many former NFL players that are no longer held to the stringent policies of the NFL give CBD a try after their professional playing career ends. Quite a few of these players have discovered that CBD helped promote comfort and relaxation, among a host of other benefits – and they’re speaking out about it.

Former Denver Broncos player, Rick Upchurch, reported in March 2016 that he started using CBD during chemotherapy treatment to help alleviate nausea. Jack Plummer is another former player who turned to CBD about three years ago after undergoing several hip surgeries. He has since become a strong advocate for CBD research, and he founded Athletes for Care. This is a non-profit organization with a focus on alternative treatment options for athletes.

The New NFL Marijuana Policy 

In March 2020, the NFL approved an agreement with the players union that overhauled the long-standing policy towards marijuana usage. According to the new agreement, the THC level needed for a marijuana test to be confirmed as positive has been multiplied by four. Moreover, the testing period has been reduced to two weeks of training.

But most importantly, players who do test positive for THC will not be suspended from the NFL. Instead, the board will review the test and decide if the player needs treatment. In a time when recreational and medical marijuana is legal in more than 30 states, it’s a progressive move away from punishment. 

This is significant because it essentially means that NFL players can use CBD products as long as they don’t contain excessive amounts of THC. 

How Does CBD Help in Sports?

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

Pain-relieving medications like opioids come with a big risk for addiction, abuse, and dependency. CBD, on the other hand, is derived from a plant that has been used for thousands of years for its therapeutic properties. 

One of the things that CBD has become most known for is its ability to alleviate pain – with many predicting that it will be the next generation of painkillers. And these beliefs have been fueled through provisional studies. In addition, CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great option for those who suffer from inflammation due to certain health conditions or injuries. 

For NFL players, the risk of inflammation and painful injuries is very high. Even without suffering an actual injury, inflammation and pain are all part of the game for many due to the strenuous nature of the sport. Using CBD can help ease the pain and reduce inflammation, helping athletes to recover more quickly, thereby ensuring they can get back in the game sooner rather than later.

Final Thoughts

Although there is no longer a ban for NFL players who test positive for marijuana, we’ve still got a long way to go for CBD products to be fully approved by the NFL association. That said, there are several NFL players fighting for change, and we suspect that it’s only a matter of time before we see CBD oil NFL policies reshaped for the future. 


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