As detailed in the article linked here, the National Football League is in the process of changing its policies regarding cannabis… finally. Their recent decision now permits THC at a blood level as high as 150 mcg. This is a considerable amount of THC! To my estimation, the average recreational user rarely approaches that level of THC in the blood. If they did, most would find themselves very impaired. There will always be some chronic users who metabolize THC faster and can tolerate levels of 150 mcg, but here we are talking solely about the average recreational use of THC.
Due to the restrictions of this new agreement, the article states this is not a big win for the NFL, but I beg to differ. At least now, players are able to use cannabis legally at a substantial dose, if necessary. Of course, my first choice is just to legalize cannabis for any and all sports. After all, if athletes can drink alcohol freely and take their share of prescribed narcotics, then why not use cannabis responsibly, which ultimately is safer than both?
Cannabis is moving towards federal legalization, and in the near future, looking back at our cannabis policies will surely seem foolish. At this time however, there is a much more important issue regarding cannabis and the NFL that has nothing to do with very high THC levels. Cannabidiol (or CBD) as documented in the articles linked below, is not psychoactive. Furthermore, these references strongly suggest that CBD can help prevent concussive brain damage. Based on this knowledge, an NFL player could safely use a 20:1 CBD:THC cannabis formulation to treat their pain and inflammation, while at the same time reduce their risk of concussive damage. Even if these healing properties are just “likely,” these findings should be taken seriously and researched in depth for the preservation of brain cells and tissue.
Additionally, the use of CBD will greatly reduce the psycho-activity of THC. With that in mind, one might use a 1:1 CBD:THC formula in place of narcotics to address pain, which in all probability, would have a positive effect on any related anxiety and depression.
There is no reason why an NFL player, or any adult for that matter, should not use cannabis for recreational or medical benefit. When medical benefit is deemed necessary, or more specifically, issues such as pain and anxiety require treatment, in many cases cannabis could be used in place of narcotics. To best take advantage of properly dosed CBD, THC, or other cannabinoids for neuro-protection, pain, inflammation, anxiety and other mood disorders, it should be taken in a format such as sublingual tinctures or oral capsules.
With opiate use at epidemic proportions in our society today, why would anyone possibly be opposed to the use of cannabis while effectively decreasing narcotic use? I would think the potential to protect the brain while treating anxiety, pain, and inflammation would be reason enough to further explore this field of medicine.
Targeting the endocannabinod system to limit myocardial and cerebral ischemic and reperfusion injury
Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery in a neonatal rat model of arterial ischemic stroke
Cannabinoids as neuroprotective agents in traumatic brain injury
The therapeutic potential of the cannabinoids in neuroprotection
Endocannabinoids and traumatic brain injury
Cannabinoid agonist rescues learning and memory after a traumatic brain injury
Recent advances in the development of multifactorial therapies for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
Multifunctional drugs for head injury. Neurotherapeutics