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Health

NFL Should Invest in Medical Pot Research for Brain Concussions

Maureen Meehan

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In addition to the many scandals and crises facing the NFL lately, another big one lies in wait if not addressed properly and soon—Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Brain concussions and head impacts cause rapid brain decay, the precursor to CTE, in which brain lobes blacken and lose density, resulting in depression, early on-set dementia, Parkinson’s disease and eventual death.

Just this year, Boston University found the existence of CTE in the brains of 96 percent of 91 tested subjects, all of whom played football at some organized level, according to a recent Forbes Magazine article.

NFL players themselves, with scientific backing, have been urging the league to conduct studies on the effect of marijuana in treating concussed brains and lowering the odds of developing CTE.

Last year, Lester Grinspoon a Harvard emeritus professor of psychiatry and MMJ advocate, wrote an open letter to the NFL, urging the league to support research into the neuro-protective potential of marijuana to alleviate CTE.

According to Grinspoon, as reported in a National Institute of Health study on rat brain cells, CBD and THC have neuro-protective qualities. In 2008, similar studies done in Spain, and later Brazil, showed CBD has the ability to regenerate brain cells in mice, specifically in the areas of the brain that deal with depression, anxiety and chronic stress—the main symptoms of CTE.

Clearly more research is needed to confirm and convince that marijuana is beneficial in treating neurological injuries.

Being that this research would surely benefit the future of pro football, isn’t it logical for the NFL, which made over $12 billion in revenue just last year, to be among the first to step up to the goal posts and lead the way?

The NFL could be in the forefront of curing a medical issue that plagues modern contact sports, while setting a precedent for other corporations—and even the government if it decides to reschedule pot—to undertake research into other illnesses.

How about it Commissioner Goodell? You know you want to.

Maureen Meehan is a New York-based writer, who has worked as a foreign correspondent for many years.

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