football Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtFebruary 2, 2022
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The National Football League announced the award of $1 million in research funding to two teams of medical researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Regina. The announcement said that the studies will investigate the effects of cannabinoids on pain management and neuroprotection from concussion in elite football players, respectively. The research hopes to find better alternatives to pain management as professional athletes have struggled over the years with opioids being prescribed as the solution. The opioids have proven to be addictive and caused many other problems.

“As with the league’s broader approach to health and safety, we want to ensure that our players are receiving care that reflects the most up-to-date medical consensus,” said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer. “While the burden of proof is high for NFL players who want to understand the impact of any medical decision on their performance, we are grateful that we have the opportunity to fund these scientifically-sound studies on the use of cannabinoids that may lead to the discovery of data-based evidence that could impact the pain management of our players.”

The NFL-NFLPA Joint Pain Management Committee (PMC) began the process in June of 2021 when it called for proposals for the study that yielded 106 submissions. That group was whittled down to ten finalists that gave oral presentations and written materials to the committee.

A non-profit group that focuses on cannabis as a treatment alternative, Athletes For Care released a statement saying, “Athletes for CARE is happy to see this announcement from the NFL today about research on cannabinoids. It is especially promising that the research is focused on pain management and as a neuroprotection . These are two issues athletes from many high-impact sports face for the rest of their lives. We hope this is only the beginning of the investment in finding a solution for athletes as well as anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury or has long-term pain to manage.”

Award Recipients

The NFL has awarded a total of $1 million to:

(1) “Effects of Cannabinoids on Pain and Recovery from Sports-Related Injuries in Elite Athletes: A Randomized Clinical Trial” led by Drs. Thomas Marcotte and Mark Wallace, with colleagues at the University of California San Diego.

The primary aim of this clinical trial is to assess the therapeutic efficacy and adverse effects of ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and combined THC/CBD, compared to placebo, for relief of post-competition soft-tissue injury pain in elite athletes. Elite athletes will vaporize treatments following game-related injuries, with outcomes monitored via remote phone apps. Bringing together a research team with decades of clinical cannabis research experience and an infrastructure provided by the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (cmcr.ucsd.edu), the findings from this study will provide key, preliminary data regarding the possible effectiveness of cannabinoids for sports-related injuries and inform future larger studies regarding study design and implementation challenges. (Description provided by: University of California San Diego)

(2) “Naturally Produced Cannabinoids for Pain Management and Neuroprotection from Concussion and Participation in Contact Sports” led by Dr. J. Patrick Neary and researchers at the University of Regina.

The specific goal of this project is to determine whether cannabis/hemp based cannabinoids, i.e., cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can be used safely and effectively for pain management and to reduce the use of prescription medications including opioids in post-concussion syndrome athletes. An additional goal is to assess the neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids to reduce the incidence or severity of acute and chronic concussion in professional football players. Our research team of cerebrovascular and neuro-physiologists, clinical psychologists, pharmacokineticists, and physicians from the Universities of Regina, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia in Canada have extensive experience in concussion pathology and medical cannabis research. Our project will provide a foundation to explore alternative medical care related to brain trauma and chronic musculoskeletal pain for professional football players (Description provided by: University of Regina)

A former professional football player for the New York Jets Marvin Washington said, “When I first entered this space, the NFL was the Great White Whale in the sports world and it was always “IF”, then they changed their policy and the question became “When?”. I am glad the “when” has arrived with them funding research for Cannabinoids on pain management and as a nueroprotectant. Is one million enough? Probably not, but it’s a step in the right direction. We are not there yet, but there is a way forward, which is…Progress.”

While the results of the studies funded under this program may inform alternative pain management strategies, they will have no impact on the jointly administered Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse in place under the current NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Elite professional athletes outside of the NFL will be participating in the studies funded under this award. NFL players are not permitted to participate.

“Our team is excited to receive this funding to conduct a systematic, ‘real-world, real-time’ study with professional athletes, and which should shed further light upon the many anecdotal reports that cannabis is helpful in reducing post-competition pain,” said Dr. Mark Wallace, co-principal investigator and director of the Center for Pain Medicine at UC San Diego Health.

“The prevention and treatment of concussions is at the core of my research. That’s why I am excited to have the support of the NFL on this project. Our interdisciplinary research team believes that different cannabinoid formulations found in medical cannabis have the potential to benefit athletes suffering from the acute and long-term chronic effects of concussions. Our research will also work to show that cannabinoids can be used as an alternative to opioids for pain management. Ultimately, this study has the potential to change not only the lives of current and former NFL players but also the lives of anyone who may suffer from a concussion,” said Dr. Patrick Neary, an exercise physiologist and professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina.

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 31, 2019
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The Super Bowl would probably prefer to not have anything to do with cannabis, but the cannabis industry and football are destined to work together. Whether it’s the rejected Super Bowl ad from Acreage Holdings Inc. (ACRG.U) or dispensaries running super bowl promotions the two keep crossing paths. Plus, there is the issue of cannabis being used to treat former players who suffer from head injuries.

The NFL even found itself mentioned in the Pennsylvania Auditor General report saying, “ In 2018, the NFL rejected an unprecedented therapeutic-use exemption request from running back Mike James, a free agent who sought medical marijuana treatment to break a dependence on opioids. If players’ access to medical marijuana is going to be compromised, legalizing marijuana altogether would make it unnecessary to threaten Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers players with suspension, fines, and banishment from the league over its use.”

The report went on to note that its cherished Philadelphia Eagles could be hurt by if players sought to live in states where cannabis is legal in order to treat themselves.  “As marijuana is legalized in other states, it could incentivize athletes — who literally injure themselves for our entertainment — to seek to be traded to states where they can legally access pain management and do not have to wait for exemptions to stay off opioids.

Brady Cobb is a medical cannabis pioneer and the CEO of SOL Global– which is currently in the middle of a five-year study at the University of Miami on how CBD can help treat concussions. He said, “The NFL is holding onto this long-held association between cannabis and Reefer Madness. It’s been only recently, with newly enacted legislation, that the public and companies are recognizing the difference between the non-psychoactive medical properties of CBD and the mind-altering effects of THC. With the farm bill’s passage, I think it’s only a matter of time that the NFL catches up to the NHL and other sports leagues that realize the real potential of the healing benefits of CBD.

He noted that the players and the players’ association all support looking into and researching the effects of using cannabis and CBD in treatment. When asked about CBS rejecting the proposed ad which only showed patients discussing how medical marijuana helped them he said, “CBS’s position is clearly completely at odds with the public’s position. A recent Gallup poll shows that the public supports cannabis upwards of 66% to 67%. So six out of ten people watching the super bowl – if not more, considering the demographic – could ultimately be a consumer of the products.”

The issue of cannabis advertising during football only looks to be getting more attention versus dwindling away. “With the increasing efforts to legalize cannabis products for both medical and recreational use, advertising standards and practices are coming rapidly into focus,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing. “While CBS snubbed an ad for medical marijuana during the Superbowl — they did consider it. The mere fact that the network considered an ad for cannabis shows that we’ve turned a corner, and we’re going to see advertising and branding for these products come rapidly into the mainstream.” Gabor is the author of the new book, releasing nationwide March 2019 titled, Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times.

Gabor noted that the cannabis industry has been working hard to overcome stereotypes and change perceptions of the culture of marijuana usage. “Advertising to large audiences like those watching the Super Bowl — and getting in on the PR value of Super Bowl advertising — is one tactic in kickstarting a perceptual change,” she said.

Even though CBS has refused the ad, the stadium doesn’t seem to have as big of a problem. A CBD-infused coffee and will be allowed during the game at the stadium in Atlanta. “While this is not technically a Super Bowl commercial, this is a sponsorship activation, which is designed to engage audiences in a more experiential fashion. While it’s unclear to me what CBS’ advertising policy says, and whether this would constitute a violation of that, I’m sure that CBS is concerned about this from the perspective of wanting to manage their OWN brand as a media company,” added Gabor.

While the experts debate the ability to run a medical marijuana ad, dispensaries have no problem capitalizing on the event for sales. Some companies are suggesting added their CBD tinctures to recipes like salsa and others suggest drinking cannabis-infused beverages instead of alcohol. “Cannabis sales leaped 40% last year on the Saturday before the big game and this year could rise even higher thanks to California’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana,” said cannabis software company Green Bits.

In Washington, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company will deliver a free cheese or pepperoni pizza with the purchase and delivery of any half-ounce of pot Feb 1st, 2nd, and 3rd over the big Game Day weekend.

“We were enjoying a joint and a slice of Mogul Mountain pizza while brainstorming marketing opportunities for our dispensary when it hit us. Let’s announce our new weed delivery with free pizza, and what better way to kick it off than over Super Bowl weekend. Our shop works really hard to engage the local business community and since their pizza was so inspirational, partnering with Mogul Mountain Pizza was a no brainer,” said Devin Houston, Director of Marketing, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company.

 

 

 


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