Monday, April 3, 2017

Forum held Sunday on medical cannabis and pro athletes at Rackham in Ann Arbor.

A forum on cannabis and professional athletes was held at Rackham Amphitheatre Sunday, April 2. The forum was presented by Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The forum was facilitated by leading cannabis researcher Dr. Sue Sisley of Arizona. The panel included two former NFL players, Todd Herremans and Eugene Monroe. The discussion was fascinating, powerful, eye opening and heart-breaking. Herremans played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Monroe for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Former NFL stars Herremans and Monroe are strong advocates of legalizing cannabis as an alternative to opiods, and believe that no players should be punished for using cannabis. Dr. Sisley shares their views on  cannabis.

It has been well publicized in recent years that NFL players are extremely prone to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Further, NFL players, whether they are still playing or have retired, experience severe muscular pain and nerve pain. According to Monroe and Herremans, team physicians routinely prescribe opiods as a treatment for players experiencing pain caused by injuries on the football field. Herremans, who played for twelve seasons in the NFL believes that cannabis is misunderstood. During the forum Herremans also stated that he doesn't like how opiods make him feel. This is why he prefers cannabis as a pain reliever.

Ex Jacksonville Jaguar Eugene Monroe agrees, and stated that cannabis has been helping people for "Years and years."

Both players retired from football because they are fearful of the onset brain and neurological issues. The fear these ex players feel was palpable during the forum. They spoke of their own immediate families and how CTE and pain issues ripple out and effect the well-being of the entire family of the person experiencing chronic symptoms.

For Dr, Sue Sisley, and former NFL stars Monroe and Herremans the bottom line is simply that cannabis relieves pain, as well as, neurological issues including brain damage, and the effects of CTE. Further, Sisley, Monroe, and Herremans were clear that no player should be punished for using cannabis, whether for medicinal or personal use. And lastly, each panelist advocate for no more fines or suspensions for cannabis use in the NFL.

As Dr. Sisley explained in the forum, cannabis is a positive alternate to opiods for pain as, and I'm paraphrasing, the oil in THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, is intended to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

I'm no doctor but cannabis as an alternative to prescribing opiods certainly makes sense to me. Hopefully, the NFL will agree in the near future.

Jeff Brown
founder & editor
Purple Walrus Press
Medical cannabis forum Rackham Sunday, April 2 in Ann Arbor.

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