(The following piece was originally published in CBD Journal and looks back at the NFL's history with CBD. It is republished here with permission.)
Former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Turley attended this year’s Super Bowl hoping to deliver a message to the league about the benefits of cannabidiol. Turley, a Pro-Bowler who spent part of eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs, suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease resulting from years of hard hits on the field. As a result, he struggles with light sensitivity, paranoia, and anxiety and has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In an interview with Dope Magazine, Turley admits that, like most NFL players, he was prescribed a myriad of painkillers and muscle relaxers during his playing days that helped to mask the symptoms. The overprescribing of medications to keep players on the field is and has been an issue throughout the league.
“I was prescribed a myriad of painkillers, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatories but due to neurological issues that continued to arise with vertigo, severe migraine headache issues and seizures, I was hospitalized multiple times. I was prescribed medications to deal with all of those things, and that led to psych medications like Wellbutrin and Depakote and Zoloft and things like that.” Turley told Dope Magazine.
Today, however, Turley preaches the benefits of medical cannabis, and, more specifically, CBD. After discovering that there was a better option out there, Turley connected with Brandon Rexro, founder of Shango. Together, they developed Neuro XPF, a THC free hemp-derived cannabis supplement, which is high in CBD a chemical proven in studies to have neuroprotective properties.
Turley and his partner hope to share his product with the NFL, for profits, of course, but, more importantly, because it is the right thing do. According to Dope Magazine, 76 percent of all NFL player suffer from CTE or some traumatic brain injury by the time their playing days are over.
And Turley is not the only former player advocating for CBD. Former defensive end Marvin Washington who played for the New York Jets and who won a Super Bowl with John Elway and the Denver Broncos in 1999 uses CBD for muscle soreness and inflammation according to The Cannabist. Moreover, he has a stake in four cannabis firms, including Isodiol.
Moreover, Washington has lobbied the NFL to open up to the idea of CBD and medical cannabis as alternatives to prescription painkillers for athletes today. A few years back he wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post arguing that the NFL should take the lead on medical cannabis research.
As Dope Magazine notes, CTE is not about a few isolated incidents in football; it is an issue the league needs to examine and find a solution to quickly. Turley and Washington and others like them may have already found the answer with CBD.
“A lot of people have the perception that I hate football,” Turley said in an interview with Vice news, according to Dope Magazine. “I have been probably the biggest advocate for football. I’m looking for solutions to be able to pass this down to my son and how we can help make it better.”