Medical marijuana is an important pain relief alternative that will help reduce opioid dependency among professional athletes.

Rodrigo Foggiatto

NFL Player Appeals Suspension for Using Cannabis to Treat Crohn’s Disease

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse police for the third time over his cannabis use, according to a report from the Sporting News. Henderson uses cannabis to manage the pain from Crohn’s disease and has already served a four-game suspension this season for a similar violation.

“He needs cannabis,” an unnamed source said in the report. “You can’t take pain killers with the way his intestines are.”

Henderson has used cannabis since his college days — which was known by NFL team owners, causing his draft stock to fall, according to the report. He has appealed the suspension and a decision is expected this week.

Following Henderson’s first suspension this year, his agent Brian Fettner said, “There is zero allowable medical exemption for this per the NFL; however, there clearly should be.” The tackle is considering suing the league if his 10-game suspension is upheld.

According to an ESPN survey of active NFL players earlier this month, 61 percent said they believed fewer players would take pain-killing shots if they were allowed to use medical cannabis; 41 percent said cannabis would be more effective at controlling pain than opioid-based drugs.

The Player’s Association has also convened a committee comprised of science and medical experts to explore the use of cannabis as an alternative pain management therapy to opioid drugs. According to NFL insider Ian Rappaport, at least 10 of the league’s 32 team owners indicated a “groundswell” of support by principals to ease cannabis-related punishments. However, the league remains officially against any cannabis policy changes.

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