The Marijuana Bowl between Denver and Seattle has come and gone, but the irony of having the two "green" cities meet in the last Super Bowl has remained a topic of conversation. To many who tout the benefits of smoking pot, the "Stoner Bowl" was more than a mere coincidence and offered a platform to dispel any resistance to legalizing pot.
Society is not about to give in, but lost in the legalization movement is the fact that the drug could potentially benefit NFL players the most. The violence on and off the field, the body blows that routinely injure players and the concussions that occur even without a player's knowledge are all grave concerns in the NFL. The benefits of marijuana happen to address all these concerns that have been damaging the lives of current and former players through the years.
As radical as it may seem, the gladiators of the NFL could use a little THC. Marijuana could help players in more than ten ways, but these ten ways could go a long way to help prove the drug's worth.
10 Keeping Players from Going Out in Public
Using marijuana can keep many players from participating in late night clubbing that only leads to trouble and negative newsworthy events. Marijuana can cause agoraphobia which can be a good thing in this case. Imagine party animals who are kept at bay during the course of the Super Bowl or Rob Gronkowski or Johnny Manziel deciding to stay away from parties that they shouldn't attend. Anything that can help tone down the outlandish behavior of so many NFL players could be worth considering.
Rest and relaxation can come more easily when players don't feel the urge to hit the streets. Players could use more time to recover and relax without poisoning their bodies further with more drinking and less sleep. The player who decides to cocoon can likely bounce back faster than the player who decides to go out on the town. Marijuana can help keep players from looking for trouble on long road trips or even help them maintain their edge by staying away from partying.
9 Helping Players with Rest and Recovery
Many people who have anxiety disorders use marijuana to get to sleep, especially in states that allow its medicinal use. Once the high of smoking or consuming marijuana wears off, the tranquilizing effects of marijuana will often coax a user to sleep. This can be a terrific sleep aid when any little aches and pains make it hard for many players to not only recover but to also get a good night's sleep.
Football is a brutal sport and for players who play on Monday or Thursday night, there is less time to recover between games. This is when getting the proper amount of rest and sleep is essential to allow the body to recover from all the physical abuse in these short work weeks. Marijuana can also be a useful tool for getting more sleep on the long flight home from a coast to coast road trip or during any delays that might be encountered in winter weather or at any airport. Recovery starts with good rest and marijuana could help players get much needed rest at times when they typically wouldn't be able to sneak it in.
8 More Crazy Plays
Many of today's football players are well aware of what opponents can do thanks in large part to playing Madden video games. Given marijuana to use as therapy, one can only imagine all the video games that could be played. This might be considered a stretch, but at some point the artistic flair that is used to make an ankle breaking spin move in Madden Football will likely be duplicated on the field of play. The creativity that can arise from using pot could eventually translate into some sick moves on the field of play.
Marijuana has been used by creative people for many years to design Hollywood sets, choreograph dance routines and to paint colorful murals or works of art. More players will start to see the possibilities of using Madden to improve their own games. Even players who don't play video games will seize more opportunities to reverse direction or juke defenders in order to gain more yards. The north-south style of running that is coached today might revert back to the time when Crazy Legs Hirsch, Fran Tarkenton and even Barry Sanders improvised to the delight of football fans.
We're aware that this might be a bit of a stretch, but anything is possible.
7 Hungry Anyone?
The therapeutic benefits of marijuana as an appetite stimulant have been well documented. During the course of a season or even training camp, the steady exercise can cause many linemen to have trouble consuming enough food to maintain their playing weight. Without getting enough calories a player can easily lose a significant amount of weight. During the warmer early season games, it can also be tough to eat when the body demands more fluid intake, making the stomach full.
Marijuana helps stimulate the appetite by acting on the CB1 receptor that affects the areas of the hypothalamus that regulate food intake, enhances the reward center of the brain that makes us feel better when eating food, affects the tissue in the stomach and intestine that gives us hunger pings and the affects the limbic forebrain that makes our food more palatable. Marijuana has been proven to make it easier for users to eat, but accomplishes this without adding to society's growing number of the obese.
6 More Productive Film Room Sessions
Sometimes the mental preparation that is necessary for getting ready to take on opponents each week can be difficult to accomplish when the physical demands of preparing for a new opponent start to take their toll. Marijuana, used in moderation, can provide an extra boost to the mind when the body needs a rest. This can be a valuable tool to help players turn their attention from their aching bodies or difficult practices to gaining a better understanding of the opponent's tendencies in the film room.
Many marijuana users like to experience the high marijuana provides before watching a movie at home or in the theater. To most users, the drug gives them a more complete visual experience with a heightened awareness of any of the conflicts or twists in the plot. The same experience that captivates the marijuana user with the silver screen could add more awareness during film study and even more of an impetus to get their fannies in the film room. Watching what an opponent can do will quickly turn into watching the how, when and why the opponent does what they do, making film study much more productive.
5 An Alternative to Drinking Alcohol
Many players look for ways to cut lose following the regimen of playing with soldier-like precision in each NFL game. The easiest way to drown any sorrows or celebrate any wins is the oldest and most accepted way. In order to take the edge off and relax after a hard day, many players drink alcohol in an effort to revert back to the caring husband, friend or father, following games. Alcohol can surely make it easy for players to unwind, but it comes with consequences that make it harmful for any well conditioned athlete to regularly use.
Alcohol is also a depressant that will do very little to minimize the negativity of having a bad game. Drinking can enhance these negative feelings and lead to the lashing out at members of the public who might even be members of a player's support group. Family and friends can be the recipient of verbal and physical abuse brought on by alcohol that does little to help make a player forget about a bad game. In addition to doing very little good helping players get past performances with bad results, alcohol also breaks down the body with dehydration, cellular death, and damage to the vital organs. Marijuana can actually do more psychologically with less damage physically than alcohol, making it less toxic for fine tuned athletes to use.
4 Better Stress Management
While drugs like cocaine create paranoia and alcohol has a tendency to make all stress worse, marijuana helps lower levels of stress. While it seems like stress should not play such a big role in a sport that is just a game, the NFL is full of its share of stress. Failing to do a job right can get another player injured, lead to the loss of a starting job or lower pay and even become the reason a player's team ends up with a loss. Despite the physical nature of the game, the stress to perform at a high level is simply part of the game.
Marijuana can help with stress management, especially to remind players of their good fortune or the fact that football is still just a game. Lots of stress comes from turnovers, the loss of a starting role, or untimely penalties that often let the whole team and 70,000 fans in the stadium down. Using marijuana following a game can remind players that turnovers and injuries happen and are simply part of the game. It is hard enough to perform at a high level and remain healthy in the NFL. According to a Fox News Study, even many teens use marijuana to get through stress disorders, depression or grief. Matt Schaub could have used this kind of therapy last year.
3 Keeping the Violence on the Field of Play
Almost everyone can agree that football is a violent sport. Players are gladiators, battling through pain and fighting for survival in a sport that can be played no other way. It is hard for many players to keep their cool off the field of play when they are conditioned to be consumed by their violent tendencies every time a football is hiked to signal a new play. Whether on offense or defense, this switch has to be tripped over 60 times each game.
The majority of players go through great lengths to ensure that the violence of the game remains between the white lines on the field of play, but for some players the ability to be nasty and violent is a part of them and what helped them make it in the NFL. Why shouldn't these players be allowed to smoke marijuana in order to chill out and keep their violent tendencies at bay. The sedating effect of marijuana can certainly keep many of these gladiators from dishing out punishment at home or in the streets. With so many domestic violence cases and now even child abuse, marijuana can help suppress these violent tendencies. Marijuana can act as a permanent switch to allow for happiness at home and help more players turn a cheek towards violence when they normally would go toe to toe.
2 Treating Pain without Opioids
Much has already been discussed about the ability of marijuana to treat pain. At the same time, painkiller abuse has been going on in the NFL for many years as players in the past would do whatever it takes to play, even with broken bones. Many older players, especially those wily veterans who have lost a step or two, rely on painkillers to keep themselves on the field and their position on the depth chart more secure. Painkillers, however, are killers that lead to addiction, build up tolerance to their effects and make it easier for worse injuries to occur.
Marijuana has been found to help alleviate the symptoms of pain without subjecting the body to the harsh side effects that accompany painkillers. Marijuana is a more natural drug that does less damage to the body and brain, allowing the user to feel distracted and better about the pain without actually eliminating its source. The difference is that using marijuana has been shown to reduce opioid overdose deaths and help reduce the need for opioids in cases of chronic pain. It might not work for severe trauma and extreme injuries, but using marijuana to treat milder or chronic pain can ensure that the stronger painkillers will work properly when severe injuries come into play.
1 Treating and Preventing Concussions or Head Trauma
Pain is one thing, but the league is also trying hard to cut down on the multiple occurrences of concussions and the recovery time associated with them. There have been many advocates in the medical community that have made suggestions to the NFL about using marijuana to combat concussions, but the league has yet to accept the challenge to change with its own study. Recently a Harvard professor emeritus, Lester Grinspoon, has publicly let his views, lending support to marijuana for treating concussions in the NFL, be well known.
According to Grinspoon, many researchers have observed and documented the incredible neuroprotective properties that marijuana has been observed to have, based on findings from both laboratory and clinical data. Grinspoon has gone as far as publicly urging the NFL to fund the extensive research that would be required to prove marijuana's worth. With a settlement between the league and former NFL players making news and many rules being instituted to protect the players, the NFL might want to consider the potential benefits of marijuana for reducing head trauma.