It took a long time, but finally, CBD oil for NFL players is a reality. The most recent Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) allowed for a huge step forward for player welfare. For a long time, players were forced to consume enormous amounts of opioids. This led to issues such as addiction and severe depression.
What’s incredible is that it took the NFL so long to make the call. There is a ton of research that shows how harmful opioids are, especially on former players. Yet, the organisation cited a lack of evidence of CBD’s efficacy as the reason for maintaining the ban.
In this article, we look at the allowance of CBD in the NFL, but first, let’s check out the opioid problems faced by former players.
The NFL Opioid Epidemic
Most of us are probably familiar with the opioid epidemic at this stage. Approximately 130 people die from an issue related to opioids in the United States each day. As bad as the issue is amongst the general public, it is far worse when NFL players are involved.
The National Football League is one of the toughest places for a sports athlete to earn a living. Although the league has implemented various protocols for player safety, it allowed one massive issue to slip through the net.
It is far too easy for NFL players to get as many pain killing pills as they like. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2011 looked at prescription opioid use among ex-players. First of all, it clearly illustrates that this is a problem decades in the making.
Researchers interviewed over 600 retired NFL players on the telephone. An incredible 52% of them admitted using opioids during their career. Even worse, over 70% of painkiller users admitted misusing them. Overall, the prevalence of opioid use amongst these players was triple that of the general population.
Bear in mind that this was almost a decade ago. Opioid use in America, and the NFL, has spiralled out of control since. Players report receiving pills from doctors and trainers with remarkable ease.
These players become addicted long before their career ends. Once they finish playing, the stream of pills dries up, but they need dozens a day. It is an expensive habit and one that places many players in severe financial difficulty. The introduction of CBD in the NFL could change all of that.
CBD Gives NFL Players a Fighting Chance
The recent CBA is an enormous boost to football players. Proponents of CBD believe it helps them fight pain without the need for painkillers. Indeed, the CBA has gone even further by becoming more lenient on the use of cannabis. That being said, the vote was an extremely close call with 1019 votes in favour of CBD and cannabis and 959 votes against.
Previously, players that tested positive for THC would face a lengthy ban. Thanks to the terms of the CBA, a first-time fail won’t result in a suspension. It is also a lot easier to pass the drug test now as the threshold for a positive result has increased from 35 to 150 nanograms of THC.
This ruling is a boon for the growing use of CBD oil in the NFL. Products containing the cannabinoid are widely available in the vast majority of states. The main caveat is that the CBD must come from hemp, and the product must contain 0.3% THC at a maximum.
The new increase in the drug screening threshold means NFL players can safely take low-THC CBD products. As long as the THC level is minimal, the player should have no problems with any form of drug testing. At least, they won’t if they don’t take any other drugs! Drug screenings don’t look for CBD. Instead, they focus on finding THC metabolites.
CBD Is Big Business for Former NFL Players
Up until the CBA, CBD use amongst NFL players was an open secret. A huge percentage took either CBD or THC but couldn’t admit it openly. It was only when the players retired that they felt able to speak out.
Rob Gronkowski is one of the highest-profile CBD advocates from the NFL. He retired from the league in 2019 after spending just nine years as a player. He won three Super Bowls in that period. After retiring, he announced a partnership with a CBD company. Gronkowski is a big believer in CBD and thinks it can provide a service to people seeking pain relief.
Now that NFL players are free to use CBD oil, we expect to see a massive increase in its usage. If you are interested in trying it for yourself, focus on well-respected brands like Provacan. It is a UK company but is expanding internationally and ships to a variety of locations.