The NFL is teaming up with Canadian researchers to delve into the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and neuroprotection from concussions, both significant concerns for its players. This Phase 1 trial marks a first step in exploring the non-intoxicating cannabinoid’s therapeutic potential.
35 participants will test the safety and efficacy of CBD by receiving either a placebo or a cannabis extract enriched with the CBD compound, reported Cannabis Wire. Starting with a low dose of 5mg per kilogram of body weight, researchers from the University of Regina will gradually increase the amount to gauge optimal daily intake.
The study specifically aims to determine whether CBD, with its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, can be safely incorporated into players’ off-season training routines, where intensive resistance exercises often lead to injuries, notes the University of Regina. Researchers will closely monitor the physiological and psychological effects of the varying doses, seeking to ensure the CBD’s non-intoxicating nature and absence of adverse side effects.
How Common Are Concussions Among Football Players?
Brain injuries in football account for 65% to 95% of all fatalities, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute. Football injuries associated with the brain occur at the rate of one in every five-and-a-half games.
This venture represents another step in the NFL’s growing commitment to CBD research. In 2022, the league pledged $1 million to fund this Canadian trial alongside another at the University of California San Diego, both focusing on CBD’s potential as a pain management alternative to opioids for players suffering from concussions.
First Steps To Solving Serious Problem
While the Phase 1 trial is a small-scale initial step, its findings could pave the way for further research and, ultimately, wider acceptance of cannabis and CBD as a valuable tool in tackling the physical and mental challenges faced by professional athletes.
“I’ve long been an advocate of cannabis as a holistic way to help my body recover from the trauma it faced each day on the gridiron and knew there were many other ways to unleash the power of this plant into our daily lives,” said Calvin Johnson Jr., former Detroit Lions wide receiver and 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Photo: El Planteo