Many of us take cannabidiol (CBD) daily without any kind of repercussion, since the cannabinoid has been fully legal in the United States since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, thus offering an accessible and highly effective, while all-natural way to address everything from stress to physical discomfort. But, we may be taking our lenient CBD laws for granted, because certain industries have been more restricted when it comes to allowing their members to use cannabidiol, with the National Football League (NFL) being one of the most notorious examples. But, CBD is permitted by the NFL at last, which has proven to be a gamechanger for the sporting industry.
How the NFL’s Allowance of CBD Has Been a Blessing
Up until recently, cannabidiol was completely forbidden throughout the NFL, along with many major sports industries and leagues throughout the country. Because of its close relationship to marijuana, despite being 100% non-intoxicating and fully hemp-derived, it had been seen as an illegal substance, even after becoming federally legal in 2018.
Critics were quick to point out the fact that cannabidiol is considered a far gentler and safer option than many drugs administered to athletes, like opioids and heavy psychiatric drugs, both of which can be highly addictive and come with significant side effects. Finally, the NFL got the picture, and made it legal for players to take CBD, while also changing their drug-testing protocol to not penalize players who test positive for marijuana. The NFL even awarded $1M to study the overall impact of cannabis and CBD as it pertains to pain management.
What Can CBD Do For Professional Athletes?
Essentially, cannabidiol has a tremendous part in addressing the unique needs of professional football players, whose jobs come with significant risks such as injury, mental health issues, and neurological issues caused by head trauma. Now that CBD is legal throughout the NFL, players can use the cannabinoid for its noted benefits, including the ones below.
Benefit #1: Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One of the key factors in legalizing CBD in the NFL was its preference over opioids for treating chronic pain that comes with the practically inevitable injuries that players experience throughout their careers. Many NFL players have found that they can manage their chronic pain better thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, both of which play a direct role in offering relief by both minimizing inflammation and improving pain tolerance through the nervous system.
Benefit #2: Mood Support
CBD plays a unique role in balancing neurotransmitters that directly influence our mood, which is why so many people use the cannabinoid daily for stress, depression, and anxiety. We tend to forget that even the highest-paid professional athletes are prone to bouts of mental health struggles, and NFL players often report dealing with these problems due to the pressures of pro sports, the sacrifices made for the sake of their careers and the emotional impacts of serious injuries.
One area in which CBD may be enormously useful for NFL players is addressing neurological imbalances. CBD offers neuroprotective properties, which have an impact in terms of protecting the neurological system by improving the integrity of neurons and neural pathways, and even stimulating neurogenesis.
The reason why this matters is because traumatic brain injury is disproportionately common throughout the NFL, as the movie Concussion illustrated that. You see, the nature of the high-impact sport makes it all too common to injure the head, which can lead to concussions that may cause severe symptoms like personality changes, chronic migraines, chronic nausea and other signs of brain damage. CBD might be able to challenge these symptoms through strengthening overall neurological function.