NFL 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.

 


Michelle JanikianNovember 9, 2017
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Green Economics Part 5: Sports Preferences

In a new study recently conducted by Green Market Report in conjunction with Consumer Research Around Cannabis and their partner Local Sports Insights (LSI), the sports preferences of cannabis consumers around the country resulted in a win for the NFL and football overall.

Professional football beat out other sports by far with 55.1 percent of interviewees saying they regularly follow the NFL. It defeated professional baseball (MLB), which 36.2 percent of consumers confirmed watching, pro-basketball (NBA), which was chosen by 36.1 percent of consumers, and pro-hockey which raked in 27.8 percent of the vote.

According to the study, the most popular college sport among consumers was also football, which 31.6 percent of consumers watch, followed by college basketball, which 25.7 percent are fans.

“The NFL has been the most successful professional sports league over the past couple of decades – supplanting Major League Baseball. In many ways the league’s success mirrors our nation when it comes to income, age, and education,” said Vice President of Consumer Research Around Cannabis, Jeffrey Stein.

Some of the cannabis consumer averages were on par with national averages, according to a recent Gallup study. Gallup found 57 percent of the population to be professional football fans found that very close to the Green Economics average for cannabis users of 55.1 percent. The national average was also close for professional basketball (40 percent) and ice hockey (28 percent), but the rest had significant differences.

“I was surprised that football was number one,” said Co-Founder and CEO of the Green Market Report as well as recognized cannabis influencer, Debra Borchardt. “I really thought basketball would’ve been number one since it’s a sport followed by more young people and is growing in popularity, while ratings have been falling for football.”

According to Local Sports Insights, 26.4 percent of adults over 18 follow professional basketball. And 36.1 percent of cannabis users follow the NBA. So, technically LSI found that NBA popularity is indeed 37 percent higher among cannabis users than the average person.

The numbers shouldn’t be that surprising considering how much legal cannabis delivery sales increase before the Super Bowl. In 2016, Eaze reported there was a 47.5 percent increase in cannabis deliveries in California from 2-3PM, the hour before kick-off. When the Denver Broncos were in the Super Bowl in 2016, Sally Vanderveer, President of Denver’s largest dispensary, Medicine Man, told Forbes: “We saw a 30-40% uptick in sales from Thursday to Sunday [before the Super bowl]”. Interestingly, Local Sports Insights found 50.5% of Broncos fans have used marijuana in the past year.

What may be surprising is the profile of NFL fans who also consume cannabis. Green Economics found the average age is 37 with a median household income of $60,387. In addition, 33.2 percent of NFL fans are college graduates and 13.5 percent are business owners.

Local Sports Insights found that 48 percent of all surveyed women follow professional football. There were more men than women who follow the NFL that use cannabis: 65.5 percent were men and 34.5 percent were women.

This research not only kills the stereotype that “stoners” don’t like sports, but shows how Americans are choosing to relax in states where cannabis is legal. Considering the popularity of alcohol during sporting events, cannabis could be a safer alternative and help prevent drunk driving, domestic abuse, and hangovers associated with NFL games.

The NFL still doesn’t allow its players to consume cannabis, although many activists are fighting to change that, like former lineman for the Chicago Bears, Eben Britton.

“Cannabis can help NFL players on multiple levels,” said Britton. “First and foremost our federal government owns a patent on cannabinoids ‘as neuroprotectants and antioxidants’… cannabis should be at the top of the NFL’s list of substances to help combat concussions and CTE. The second way cannabis could directly benefit NFL players is as an alternative to opiates. In most cases, I believe pro football players would rather consume cannabis than opiates. Cannabis may also be used in conjunction with opiates to help mitigate negative side-effects and ease withdrawal symptoms.”

Using cannabis as an alternative to opioids for pain is becoming a popular idea. Plus, many believe cannabis can help opioid addicts wean off the powerful substance in the midst of an epidemic in the U.S.

“This study was encouraging because the most vocal advocates for allowing cannabis as an alternative to deadly pain medications are professional football players,” said Cynthia Salarizadeh, Co-Founder of the Green Market Report. “The NFL helps provide an appropriate platform for their fight with their massive visibility. Hopefully their owners will listen and allow their players the right to choose what medication they use for their pain management.”

The NFL is worth $9 billion annually, but they could still benefit from allowing cannabis brands to sponsor teams and events. Not to mention, the benefits the plant can have for its players. Considering cannabis’ popularity spreading into more mainstream communities, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a cannabis commercial during the SuperBowl this year.

 


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