Chris Long Urges NFL to Reconsider Its Drug Policy - Does He Have a Point?

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In a recent TV appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Chris Long, the former Rams, Patriots, and Eagles defensive end Chris Long advocated for the league to allow the use of cannabis as pain medication or a stress reliever.

Although Long opened up in public about marijuana usage during his active sporting career, he refused to admit whether some of his fellow team players did the same. 

The former elite athlete also doubted whether some other product different than cannabis would have been so efficient in helping him overcome the stress. In his view, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. 

The two Super Bowls winner also revealed that the NFL still performs marijuana testing and suspends players who failed them every year. Long said those tests are easy to manipulate as they happen once a year and the date is known in advance.

As Long explained, at some point before the NFL tests, players stop using marijuana and turn to sleeping pills, pain-killers, or even worse, to alcohol, to be able to cope with stress and pain. 

In his opinion, if the NFL wants to be serious about players not using marijuana, it should test more often. Long confirmed he was never caught or suspended. He gave up the professional sport after 11 years, competing in 162 games and recording 70 career sacks.

Marijuana use in professional sports remains a controversial topic despite the recent developments in the area. According to many, it may be even tolerated or at least preferable to the alternative of pills, tobacco, and alcohol. 

For instance, in June 2018, the BIG3 basketball league became the first U.S. professional sports league to allow usage of cannabidiol (CBD). That is a chemical in cannabis widely used for the treatment of pain and inflammation.

The NFL also signaled it might be open to discussions on the topic earlier this week. In collaboration with the players' associations, the NFL appointed a joint pain management committee to conduct a research supporting marijuana and products containing THC as a healing aid.

Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, confirmed the committee would look into all the possible treatments. Reflecting on the possible official use of marijuana as a pain/stress reliever among the elite players, Sills pointed out that cannabis is still pending legalization in numerous states with NFL franchises.

In case the NFL decides to change its drug policy and allows marijuana usage, it should also establish a policy applicable to all 32 teams without exception, Sills said.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement that the NFL should remove cannabis from the list with forbidden substances?