Marijuana might be legal in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean players for the Denver Broncos are allowed to smoke it. Due to restrictions put forth by the NFL Players Association, marijuana is still listed as a banned substance with no exceptions for medicinal use.
When recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2014, it became available to everyone over the age of 21. Well, everyone but members of the Denver Broncos or any other NFL team. Regardless of state or federal law, the NFL still chooses to ban the use of marijuana in the sport.
Many sports fans wonder why NFL players should be allowed to smoke weed, often citing concerns about drug use (as if they’re not already taking 100 opiate painkillers a month). Football has the highest injury rate of any sport, as well as the highest risk of traumatic brain injury. Not only is marijuana commonly used for pain relief after an injury or surgery, but CBD, one of the two chemicals found in the plant, has anti-inflammatory properties that protect the brain from concussions or other trauma. Traumatic brain injuries are one of the biggest controversies with the NFL at the moment, and the Denver Broncos know a thing or two about it.
Back in May of 2015, Former Broncos lineman Adrian Robinson Jr. committed suicide at the age of 25. The autopsy revealed that Robinson had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease prominent in NFL players who suffered from repeated concussions during their time in the league. Robinson had only played six games for the NFL in 2013, but still endured several concussions during that time. The disease is known to cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, aggressive mood swings, and suicide, and can only be detected in an autopsy. In 2015, 87 of 91 deceased former NFL players were found to have the disease.
The neuroprotective qualities of CBD are not lost on former NFL players, several of whom are pushing the NFL to look into its use. Former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is one retired player who has appeared in campaigns encouraging the NFL to research CBD.
“I’ve had friends, guys I played alongside, whose mood changed from night to day. I know others who’ve replaced hellacious amounts of painkillers with CBD… and I hope this gets even more guys involved,” Plummer said. “The bigger the number, the better chance we have to get in front of (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell and say, ‘You need to fund this.’ Not just for football players, but for the millions of others it could help.”CBD remains a gray area under federal law. It was thought to believe that hemp-derived CBD was legal, since it was below the THC thresholds required by the federal government. However, recently the DEA declared that their intention was to treat CBD as a Schedule One drug. Regardless, the sooner the federal government, and subsequent NFL teams, modernize their policy on CBD and marijuana as medicine, the sooner we can start protecting and treating people like Adrian Robinson Jr. After all, Denver does play at Mile High Stadium.