Cannabis could be used as treatment
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On Jan. 23, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview that he would consider letting NFL players use legal medical cannabis to treat concussions.
Concussions have been a huge issue over the past three football seasons, but the league started to take notice when former San Diego Charger Junior Seau committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest, in May 2012.
When his autopsy came back it was determined that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive degenerative disease to the brain caused by repetitive trauma to the head. CTE disease was also found in the brains of other football players in subsequent autopsies.
Coincidentally, Goodell made this announcement after both Super Bowl teams' states had legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Goodell's intent, however, was to start a discussion about whether cannabis can help in the treatment of concussions.
Two related questions might be will its use help prevent retired football players from committing suicide, or even help current players have longer professional football careers?
According to concussionpolicyandthelaw.com, post-concussion treatments such as the ingesting of cannabis, can activate the body's cannabinoid receptors, which leads to the creation of neuroprotective assistances that can help heal the brain after a head trauma injury like concussions. Cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, and the receptors tell the brain when it is hungry. Cannabis can also help players with a lot of things other than just concussions.
Cannabis has been shown to have pain killing effects.It can be a better option than using pain medication, which can lead to addiction or cause more damage. There have been numerous professional athletes who have used cannabis and made an impact on the sport that they played.
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps smoked cannabis during his free time, and shattered records. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning 22 Olympic medals total, with 18 gold.
San Francisco Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and a two-time World Series Champion. He managed to do so while using cannabis.
After his first World Series title he announced that he stopped using cannabis. Since then his effectiveness on the mound has declined.
Cannabis gets a bad rap because it is illegal in most states. However alcohol has been the cause of crime, health problems and deaths, and is completely legal for those over the age of 21.
As more of the reality of what happens when one sustains a concussion becomes clear, the game has to change. The NFL should adopt anything with the promise of helping its athletes have a life filled with health and dignity.
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