Former NFL Lineman
Another former NFL player has come forward saying that cannabis has helped relieve the aches and pains of gameplay, estimating that the number of current players who use the substance “could be as high as 75 percent.”
Former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Eben Britton sang the praises of cannabis use in an interview published Sunday, saying that marijuana was effective in treating the often debilitating pain that he regularly suffered from his injuries on the field.
“I could not breathe real deeply without pain,” Britton says of the aftermath of an, especially painful game. “But I stayed in bed, smoked marijuana, and healed in just a couple of days.”
According to Britton, who left the League following the 2014 season, cannabis use also allowed players to solidify their relationships both off the field.
“Right after practice, me and one to three other would go to somebody’s house ,” he continued. “Smoking helped me to socialize with teammates. We let our guards down… It brought us closer together as teammates.”
Britton is not the only former NFL star to be outspoken in his defense of players’ cannabis use. In June he joined a cadre of other former NFL stars — including former Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon and former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson — to speak about the pain relief consistently felt by NFL players who consume cannabis. Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe also revealed that he regularly uses the substance for its effects in relieving pain.
In addition to using cannabis for its short-term effects on health, NFL players have also been known to use the substance to avoid using — and potentially becoming addicted to — more dangerous pain relief substances, such as opiates. And while research is lagging on the issue, researchers have become increasingly optimistic about cannabis’ potential for pain relief and avoidance of addiction.
“Many players have been able to get off opioids completely by using cannabis as monotherapy,” says Dr. Sue Sisley, a researcher with the Scottsdale Research Institute in Phoenix who is leading a study into the effects of cannabis on PTSD.
Britton has been unequivocal in his thinking that cannabis is effective in ways that opioids and other pharmaceuticals are not.
“Juxtaposing my experiences with pharmaceutical drugs like Vicodin and Percocet, that made me angry and irritable, frustrated, didn’t get rid of any of the pain, made it difficult to sleep, increased my heart rate and made me feel crazy,” he said in June. “On the other side of that, there’s cannabis that helped me sleep, put me into a healing state of being where I was relieved from stress and anxiety as well as feeling the pain relief.”
The NFL maintains a strict policy against the use of cannabis among players, who are regularly tested for the substance through invasive and often times embarrassing methods. While the NFL in the past has shown openness to the possibility of easing its restrictions around cannabis, there is little hope that the League will alter its position anytime soon.