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Gridiron Ganja

By Ryan Hackland

The NFL is one of the most respected American sporting organizations. In 2012 Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. The 2014 Super Bowl game between the two cannabis-tolerant states has come to be known as the first “Stoner Bowl.” Despite NFL’s strict anti-drug policy regarding marijuana, people shifting their opinions on pot usage may be the first step to legalization among players. In truth, cannabis is not as frowned upon today as it was a few years ago.

According to Shawn Stuckey, a former Patriots quarterback, the NFL is considering marijuana reform on the basis of a paradigm shift taking place among the general public. Although Stuckey believes that public sentiment will lead to change, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell insists that the league will only allow players to smoke for medical use; and that the NFL will change its current stance only after health care professionals work together with Washington D.C. to legalize marijuana usage as a legitimate solution to treat concussions and other head injuries.

The nation may well be on its way to answering some of the scientific questions related to marijuana use. The federal government greatly increased the yearly quota of medical marijuana it uses in research. It went from 21 kilograms last year to 650 kg in 2014. 650 kilograms amounts to a stockpiling 1,400 pounds of pot, something that would result in a felony for the average American.

In the late 90’s, medical marijuana was legal in 5 states; Alaska, California, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. 15 years later that number has grown from 5 to 22 with Maryland being the latest; added to the list only 5 weeks ago.

Many NFL players use marijuana both legally and illegally to wean themselves off of painkilling opiates such as Vicodin and Percocet. In 2008 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported almost 15,000 deaths as a result of opiate, or narcotic, overdosing. So far, there have been no recorded cases of anyone overdosing on marijuana; However, there have been a series of overdoses recorded by people using hash oil in a process called “dabbing.”

Dabbing is a lot like smoking out of a bong, but rather than smoking the actual plant, weed enthusiasts (including NFL players), smoke the THC vapor from hash oil. The plant secretes this oil when the more scientifically apt stoner drenches the plant with butane. The oil is then heated with a miniature blowtorch and inhaled through a small glass pipe. Despite the torch and oil being expensive, the process of inhaling the vapor hits you with 70-90 percent more THC than even the most potent strains; getting you stoned much quicker than conventional methods. The difference between dabbing and smoking from a bong is in the design.  NFL players can do it anonymously as there is no lingering smell and the cylindrical casing that houses the oil is small enough to fit in your pocket.  Though the NFL is unlikely to lift its ban on marijuana any time soon it remains a potential prospect for the distant future. Marijuana is already legal in 22 states for medical use and 2 states for recreational use, with 15 more states likely to follow.


Extra Facts:

  • Medical marijuana helps with chronic pain, M.S., glaucoma and cancer patients in chemotherapy.
  • Israel developed a strain of marijuana for medical use that is low in THC so that patients can use it without getting high.
  • Marijuana can be smoked, taken as a liquid, or eaten (in cookies or cakes)
  • Dronabinol, a pill containing the active ingredient of marijuana, may provide greater pain relief than smoking weed.
  • Medical experts are trying to determine if marijuana could help with head injuries or concussions and shorten recovery time.

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