Baltimore Ravens’ Eugene Monroe has donated $80,000 to researchers studying the potential medical benefits of “cannabinoid products” for NFL players, CSN reports. The money backs a “When the Bright Lights Fade” fundraising campaign for University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins University School of Medicine research into whether cannabinoids like CBD can help treat sports-related injuries including pain, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
“What we are looking at is a first stab at documenting cannabis use among current and former players, including the types of cannabis being used,” said University of Pennsylvania’s Marcel Bonn-Miller, co-lead investigator on the studies told the International Business Times. “We are also going to document the impacts of cannabis use on players’ recovery from injury. We know NFL players get banged up a bit, from concussions to chronic pain to inflammation. There is mounting evidence that certain cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, might have some beneficial effects for these conditions.”
Monroe, who has advocated for the NFL to loosen its policies banning marijuana for medical use, says he is the first active NFL player to speak publicly on the topic. On his website, Monroe calls for the NFL to change its policy banning marijuana, even for medical use, writing “It’s time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players and set an example for our young athletes (high school athletes are more commonly using drugs than their peers and football players are most likely to use drugs). 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.”
“Due to the NFL’s strict anti-cannabis policies, it’s difficult for current players to speak in support of the plant and its potential therapeutic uses,” a press release form The Realm of Caring (a non-profit that advocates for medical marijuana therapy and research) and CW Botanicals (the group behind the famous CBD-rich “Charlotte’s Web” strain) reportedly said. “[Monroe] recognizes the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and fully supports this research that could help professional and amateur athletes as well as anyone suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Eugene hopes that his actions will influence the NFL in changing their policy on cannabis and recognize it as a viable treatment option.”
In March, Monroe tweeted that he would be making a donation to the When Bright Lights Fade initiative, writing that, “if 100 players gave 1,000 for research. Or 200 gave 500, We can get Realm of Carings initiative in conjunction with John Hopkins U started.”
Monroe’s support comes amid heightened awareness of the adverse health risks of professional football and the potential benefits of medical marijuana in treating symptoms related to injuries. In April, 30 former NFL players joined an effort to study medical marijuana’s effect on the physical and mental stress of retired athletes.
photo via USA TODAY Sports/Mitch Stringer