NFL Gives UC San Diego $500K To Study Cannabis For Pain Management

The NFL is giving UC San Diego $500,000 to study if cannabis can be used to help athletes manage pain from injuries and recover more quickly, reported local media.The NFL awarded the contract to UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, to conduct a study on professional Rugby players partly because cannabis is a banned substance in the NFL. Rugby is the sport that has some of the highest injury rates in the world. The study will involve administering THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD), the second most-active ingredient.

The study will be led by Dr. Mark Wallace, director of the Center for Pain Medicine at UCSD, and Thomas Marcotte, co-director of the cannabis research center. The San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to Dr. Wallace, who explained that in spite of the lack of scientific evidence, “the NFL knows that players and many elite athletes are using cannabis for sports-related injuries and recovery."

Wallace said he believes that the NFL might be looking for alternatives to opioids, “because a very high percentage of players are exposed to them and many of them remain on opioids after they retire.”

The researchers behind the study plan to enroll between 50 and 60 people in a “first-of-its-kind randomized test with placebo control.”

The Study: Each rugby player will get four bottles that will contain a placebo and different concentrations of THC and CBD. The players will be requested to consume vaporized cannabis the evening after a competition in which they resulted injured or met a threshold of pain intensity.

Participants will continue to dose themselves over a 48-hour period and wait for the next competition-related injury or pain to consume the next bottle. The study will be monitored and evaluated via a cellphone app that they will use to record their pain levels.

“We will also monitor physical functioning, mood, and sleep through validated questionnaires and assess any side effects,” Wallace said. “Blood samples of the players will be taken to measure inflammation, to see if it goes up or down. We also want to measure the cannabinoid levels in their blood.”

In related news, last week, University of Regina‘s Dr. Patrick Neary received more than $500,000 from the NFL, along with $400,000 of in-kind support from My Next Health Inc. to investigate the use of cannabinoids to treat concussions and alleviate and manage pain.

Photo By Adrian Curiel on Unsplash.

Posted In: CannabisNewsSports BettingTopicsMarketsInterviewGeneralcannabis for pain managementCenter for Medicinal Cannabis ResearchCenter for Pain Medicine at UCSDnfl

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