Derrick Morgan: ‘NFL has a responsibility to look into’ cannabis

Aug 23, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan (91) during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans pass rusher Derrick Morgan has officially joined Eugene Monroe to plead with the NFL about investigating cannabis as a viable medicine.

Currently, cannabis is one of the banned substances in the NFL. Meanwhile, Toradol shots are commonplace, along with narcotic pills that can cause addiction, and ultimately depression.

Monroe has been an outspoken advocate for the NFL to change its view on medicinal cannabis this year, and he may well have lost his job with the Baltimore Ravens over his advocacy (more on that here).

Now Morgan has thrown his hat into the ring on this controversial topic, speaking with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric. He wants the league to legitimately research the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis.

“I think for the NFL to say that cannabis does not benefit the long-term health of its players without actually having gone and done the research — I don’t think that’s an accurate statement.”

Of particular interest to Monroe and Morgan is the compound cannabidiol (CBD), which the report notes “has been shown to be an effective treatment for certain epilepsy patients and has been classified by the U.S. government as a neuroprotectant.”

The prevalence of brain injuries to football players is well known at this point, with one study showing an astonishing percentage of former players tested for CTE coming out positive.

Morgan believes the NFL has “a responsibility” to investigate the merits of CBD.

“I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players,” Morgan said to Couric.

Like Monroe, who has donated $80,000 towards medicinal cannabis studies, Morgan is also funding a couple of his own. He has teamed up with Colorado’s Realm of Caring, a nonprofit medical marijuana advocacy group. His donation will study how cannabis effects the health of current and former players, per the report.

One wonders exactly how the current players in the study will protect themselves against the NFL, which would certainly suspend them if cannabis showed up in a league-mandated drug test.

The fact that we now have two current NFL players pushing the league to take a serious look at medicinal cannabis can only mean good things for the future. With more and more states around the nation legalizing medicinal cannabis and a few legalizing it outright, it’s clear that the old perceptions of the substance are falling by the wayside.

The NFL has already started doing some preliminary investigations into cannabis as a viable alternative to opiates (more on that here), but it remains to be seen how serious it is going forward.