Since its legalization in Denver there have been many jokes about the Broncos and marijuana. The fact that the football team's home, Denver, is also known as "Mile High" just makes it easier.
Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is still banned in the NFL. Players are tested regularly for marijuana and punished if found to have any in their system.
With the Broncos in the Super Bowl the jokes were at an all-time high, but does marijuana have a place in the NFL and sports other than jokes and suspensions?
On Jan. 10, then New England Patriot, Chandler Jones had what the Boston Globe reported as a bad reaction to the substance K2. While the Patriots were on their playoff bye and had a day off, Jones found himself shirtless at a police station asking for help.
Could Jones have taken K2 because marijuana is banned? Note: The Patriots traded Jones on March 15 to the Arizona Cardinals.
K2 is not on the NFL's banned substance list and is not tested under the current rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
While Jones may have taken K2 for recreational use, he may have been looking for an alternative to opioids and non-inflammatory medications.
Marijuana is becoming more accepted for its medical uses and athletes know this. More ex-players are speaking about their positive experiences with weed.
The NFL is a violent and traumatic league. One look at any injury report during the season shows this. Similar to the medical community, the NFL, prescribes opioids and non-inflammatory pills for pain.
There are numerous stories from former players about the dangers of painkillers. In the past two years there have been two lawsuits filed against the NFL by former players involving painkillers.
One player who ignored team doctors and chose marijuana as his medicine is former Denver Broncos player Nate Jackson.
Jackson has spoken publicly about the NFL's need to change their stance on marijuana.
"I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury," said Jackson at the 2015 "Sports, Meds and Money" conference in Denver.
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe announced via Twitter on March 15 that he is donating $10,000 to the Realm of Caring Foundation—a nonprofit that supports people using marijuana to treat injuries.
The previous day the NFL acknowledged a link between football-related head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The Realm of Caring Foundation is working with researchers at John Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania to develop studies into the impact of cannabinoids on CTE and other football-related injuries.
Monroe asked for more players to donate also.
"Let's put our hard earned money towards our health and wellness futures," Monroe said on Twitter.
"If I'm a fan, I'm pissed at the time I wasted listening to Goodell lie to me at the Super Bowl. As a player I sure am"
The foundation needs $100,000 to start the initial studies. Monroe says he will give more if, "nobody steps up."
Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar talked with Monroe the day of his Twitter explosion.
"Marijuana is something that was made illegal without any scientific basis, so we now have tons of people who view it in a negative light, for no scientific reason," Monroe told Farrar.
"I am just saying that it's time to look into the research, and see about the benefits it can have for our athletes."
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