The joint efforts of the National Football League (NFL) and its players’ union have resulted in the announcement of a new round of funding for independent research on the therapeutic advantages of CBD as an alternative treatment for pain in concussed players instead of relying on opioids. The amount of $526,525 has been allocated to support two studies, with one led by the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN) investigating cannabidiol and noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation (nVNS) as potential remedies for post-concussion headaches.
The study, which will be randomized and is the first of its kind, aims to compare the effects of CBD and nVNS on athletes involved in contact sports who are experiencing post-traumatic headaches. This data will serve as a foundation for future investigations into post-traumatic headache treatment.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have been actively promoting research on the benefits and risks of cannabinoids, including CBD, for the past few years. In a previous initiative, the league provided $1 million in grants for two studies that explored the efficacy of cannabis and its components in managing pain and offering neuroprotection to football players with concussions.
NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee cochair Kevin Hill expressed hope that these studies would contribute to improved pain management for professional football players.
The funding plan was initially outlined by an NFL commissioner in June 2022, highlighting the widespread interest among players and stakeholders in exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids as an alternative to opioid pain relievers.
The NFL-NFLPA committee organized two informational forums on CBD in 2020. In addition, the NFL’s drug-testing policy underwent significant changes in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement. The revised policy stipulates that players will no longer face suspensions for positive drug tests — not just for cannabis but for any drug.
Similar revisions to drug policies have been adopted by other sports leagues as the movement for cannabis legalization gains momentum at the state level. The NCAA, for example, has a committee dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of student-athletes, which has proposed removing cannabis from its list of banned substances.
The NBA has also eliminated THC from its drug-testing requirements while also allowing players to make passive investments in the cannabis industry. However, under the latest collective bargaining agreement, NBA players are prohibited from endorsing cannabis companies.
Nevada sports regulators recently voted to propose a regulatory amendment that would protect athletes from penalties for possessing or using cannabis per state law.
In 2021, the UFC announced that fighters would no longer face punishment for positive cannabis tests.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals, following the example of the Chicago Cubs, have formed a partnership with a marijuana brand to raise awareness about the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD.
It isn’t surprising that the NFL is injecting research dollars into exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Many companies, such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), have already registered significant progress in their attempts to develop medicinal formulations from THC and other cannabinoids. The NFL is therefore not misguided in exploring this aspect of marijuana.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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