NFL players are the latest to huddle up to promote—and fund—research for CBD, the nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and has been attracting attention for its use with children with epilepsy. A group of retired NFL players, led by former Broncos Nate Jackson and Jake Plummer, as well as current Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe, have teamed with CW Botanicals, and its non-profit partner, the Realm of Caring, in an effort to raise at least $100,000 to fund initial studies of CBD. The campaign is called When the Bright Lights Fade.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University shows 96 percent of former NFL players suffer from the neurodegenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia. The players hope to raise funds for a series of studies with Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania to explore how the use of cannabinoids, specifically (known as CBD), can help treat and prevent the onset of symptoms associated with CTE and traumatic brain injury as well as chronic pain.
“CTE and concussions are the big thing right now. That’s what everyone is talking about in the media and the real focus in terms of player health. But from my perspective, I want to know about everything,” Ryan Vandrey, PhD., a professor of behavioral pharmacology at Johns Hopkins and one of the lead researchers for the studies told the Denver Post. “I want to know about pain, I want to know about post-surgery issues, I want to know about concussions and post-concussion symptoms. I want to know about former players and the behavioral health-related things that have been associated with CTE.”
Former Broncos’ quarterback Jake Plummer hopes he and his fellow players will soon be armed with enough clinical proof of CBD’s benefits to initiate a conversation with NFL officials, with hopes the league will allow the use of the compound to fight the pain that comes with a career on the field.
“We’re hoping (NFL officials) talk to us about it if they really, truly care about the players a to us about it if they really, truly care about the players and their health and well-being — not just while they’re making millions of dollars from the NFL, but when they’re done and when they’ve moved on,” Plummer told the Post. “Joe Montana can’t live an active lifestyle, Jim McMahon has headaches all the time and is in pain. These are the legends who prance out at halftime during the 50th Super Bowl, and they’re suffering.