Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Cookie Gilchrist, John Grimsley, Chris Henry, Tom McHale, Wally Hilgenberg, Mike Webster, Terry Long, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk, Ray Easterling, Lou Creekmur, John Mackey.
All of these men were world-class football players – Physical gods amongst men.
All of these men are gone.
These larger-than-life lives ended tragically early by Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, commonly called CTE.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a condition caused by repeated physical head and brain injury. If you have ever watched a college or NFL football game, it should not surprise you that CTE affects football players at disproportionately higher rates than other people. Football is a rough and violent. NFL players are big, strong, fast and they hit. They hit HARD.
The objective of this article is not to debate whether or not repeated head injuries cause brain damage. That is proven.
The objective is not to blame or vilify the NFL or football culture. The past is history and we can’t change it. The NFL has begun head injuries seriously by implementing procedures to better protect its players.
The objective of this article is to inform the NFL, its players, and it fans that cannabis has the potential to prevent another NFL star from committing suicide with a note saying, “Please donate my brain for research.” This is how Dave Duerson ended his life.
The NFL’s current drug policy lists marijuana, medical or otherwise, as a banned substance. A positive test results in disciplinary action. Repeated violations result in longer suspensions and possible ejection from the league. This obsolete policy may have derailed the careers of superstar players, Josh Gordon, Ricky Williams, Brandon Browner.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about medical marijuana in his “State of the NFL” address.
Goodell said of the League’s stance on medical marijuana, “I’m not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine, and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”
While the commissioner’s position on medical cannabis appears open-minded, the NFL policy on cannabis hasn’t changed as heaps of medical data flows in. I also question which ‘medical experts’ he means.
Are these the same ‘medical experts’ who vehemently argued that there is no scientific evidence that proves repeated concussions and head trauma causes brain damage that leads to dementia?
Rather than waiting for the ‘medical experts’ who are on Goodell’s payroll to script their ‘ideal’ medical cannabis narrative, let’s, as Roger Goodell stated, follow the medicine.
Scientists have been studying the medicinal value of cannabis for decades. They have learned that the cannabis plant has a complex combination of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. Of the hundreds of medically beneficial compounds, only one, tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), has any psychoactive properties. Even more interesting is that in THC’s natural state, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), it too, is non-psychoactive.
This means that in its natural plant state, cannabis has only medicinal benefits with no risk of addiction or abuse. Even when cannabis’ psychoactive properties are activated (via heating), only the THC causes the ‘high.’
As mentioned above, cannabis is more than THC and cannabidiol (CBD). There are hundreds more compounds that work in synergy with one another to create powerful medicinal benefits.
The reason that the NFL should immediately allow medical cannabis therapy to its players is due to cannabis’ powerful neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Study after study proves that CBD, THCA and other non-psychoactive compounds found in marijuana protect the brain from sustaining permanent damage after physical trauma (like CTE). Some studies even show that cannabinoids heal brain damage and increase healthy brain function. Cannabinoids prevent CTE in two ways. One is due to some cannabinoids being neurotransmitters. These stimulate brain activity and promotes healthy brain function.
The second way cannabis heals the brain is from powerful anti-oxidants. When the brain gets injured via physical trauma, it attempts to heal the wounds by producing proteins and enzymes. It’s similar to a cut getting a scab and leaving scar tissue. When the brain is repeatedly injured, these proteins build up on the brain and block the neurons from firing properly. This leads to depression and dementia. The antioxidants found in marijuana break down this protein build up and ‘clean’ off the brain’s receptors. This allows the brain to function as it did before its injury.
Scientists stumbled across this data while researching cannabis’ efficacy as treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. This was another one of those ‘good accidents’ like the discovery of penicillin or Viagra.
Regardless, of how scientists figured it out, the important fact is that cannabis is one of the most effective neuroprotectants known to man!
When this information is combined with our ability to unlock cannabis’ medicinal properties via non-smokable, non-psychoactive forms, it puts the ball back into the NFL’s hands.
Don’t fumble it, NFL. Your employees’ lives are in your hands.
We hope that this article encourages the NFL to expedite their examination of medical cannabis. Halcyon Organics will gladly provide any guidance and advice if the NFL wishes to speak with experts.
We are football fans, too. We don’t want to see anymore of our heroes’ lives end in such tragic ways.
By: Daniel Macris, founder and ceo of Halcyon Organics.
© 2017 Halcyon Organics
Originally published Feb 1, 2014 @ 11:01