by Ed Coghlan
ESPN has released a survey of football players that chronic pain patients should note. The players said that if marijuana is legal, they use fewer painkillers.
Marijuana is legal in 23 states for medicinal purposes but remains one of eight drugs banned under the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse.
The ESPN survey is consistent with other data being gathered regarding marijuana use. The National Pain Report reported on a study from the University of Georgia showed that if your state has approved the use of medicinal cannabis, there is a quantifiable decline in the use of traditional prescription drugs.
“Generally, we found that when a medical marijuana law went into effect, prescribing for FDA-approved prescription drugs under Medicare Part D fell substantially,” investigators reported. “Ultimately, we estimated that nationally the Medicare program and its enrollers spent around $165.2 million less in 2013 as a result of changed prescribing behaviors induced by jurisdictions that had legalized medical marijuana.”
ESPN writes: Sixty-one percent of players in the survey said they believed fewer players would take pain-killing shots such as Toradol if marijuana were a legal option. Toradol is the most common anti-inflammatory taken by NFL players, and 64 percent of the survey’s respondents said they had taken an injection of it or another pain killer.
Still, 71 percent of the NFL players said they believe marijuana use should be legal. Four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — allow recreational use and voters in five more states, including California, will vote on the issue Nov. 8. Four additional states are considering initiatives involving marijuana for medical reasons. One of them—Montana—is voting to repeal its use.
NFL may be moving on finally allowing the use of marijuana. It appears the potential for relaxation is being driven by the public’s change in its (our) attitude toward the use of marijuana.
As Divya Ramesh of the University of Connecticut wrote recently, marijuana appears to work but we don’t know because it isn’t studied enough:
” Research in people suggest that certain conditions, such as chronic pain caused by nerve injury, may respond to smoked or vaporized cannabis, as well as an FDA-approved THC drug. But, most of these studies rely on subjective self-reported pain ratings, a significant limitation. Only a few controlled clinical trials have been run, so we can’t yet conclude whether cannabis is an effective pain treatment.”