SAN DIEGO, May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- BudTrader.com, the nation's largest medical marijuana online marketplace, has released the findings of a survey conducted to ascertain the extent of opiate and painkiller use among current and former NFL players.
The 38-page survey analyzed the frequency with which NFL players are prescribed opiates and chemical painkillers as treatment. It also explores players' concerns about the addictive quality of chemical painkillers and their long-term effects.
BudTrader.com CEO Brad McLaughlin says he was inspired to do this survey after speaking with a current NFL player about the problems with chemical painkillers currently plaguing his teammates, and the league at large. "These guys are national heroes, yet they are being given harmful and addictive substances by league doctors so that they can have a good day on the field. The saddest thing is that there's a better alternative — but the league is senselessly dragging their feet on allowing medical marijuana for therapeutic use for players. It's causing a lot of harm, and a lot of players are really unhappy with the state of things. Our survey shows that."
Use of chemical painkillers in the league is extremely common. 91% of current and former NFL players surveyed said they had taken opiate-based painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and propoxyphene for pain. NFL Doctors often inject painkillers directly to the affected area for quick relief, allowing the player to return to the field more quickly. 45% of players surveyed said they have felt pressured into using chemical painkillers by team doctors, staff, and teammates.
Currently, the NFL league has a staunch policy against the use of cannabis, even medically. Positive or missed drug tests can result in suspensions and fines for players. This rule applies to all NFL franchises, even in states like California, Colorado, and Washington, where marijuana is medically legal.
The survey shows that 89% of players believe that medical marijuana could be used effectively to treat pain, with 87% stating that they believe the NFL should allow safe access to medical marijuana as a treatment option for players in states where it is already legal.
Former NFL player and Super Bowl champion Marvin Washington was quoted as saying, "If there's one sport that should legalize medical cannabis, it's professional football. The unique compounds found in marijuana (CBD especially) can protect the brain as well as treat inflammation, insomnia and pain. CBD/Medical cannabis is a terrific alternative to prescription opiates."
McLaughlin, who has become a de facto spokesman for medical marijuana's acceptance and legalization, says he hopes the survey will get the league's attention and effect change in their drug policy. "Our survey shows that without a doubt, NFL players want and need to be able to use medical marijuana to manage pain. At this point, any doctor you ask will tell you that marijuana is extremely effective for pain management, and that there is literally zero risk of physical dependency. These guys are playing at the highest levels of physical expertise, and right now the league is disrespecting them by limiting their treatment options so severely, and pointlessly compromising their health."
A high-ranking source from the NFLPA said, "The NFL and the NFLPA are well aware of the challenges and side effects that come with treating pain with opiate-based pain killers. The NFLPA plans to make medical cannabis a priority in collective bargaining negotiations."
To develop the questionnaire, BudTrader.com worked with a panel of experts, including doctors specializing in pain management and drug counseling. The questions were much like those normally used in a clinical setting for drug rehabilitation intake patients.
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