NFL player Seantrel Henderson was suspended for using medical marijuana. This is his second cannabis related suspension this season. Henderson’s punishment is the latest conflict in an ongoing debate about medical marijuana.
Many people think that NFL players should be allowed to use medical cannabis. They say it’s a safer way for them to cope with injuries than the prescription painkillers they’re usually given. But the NFL still includes cannabis on its list of banned substances.
NFL Player Seantrel Henderson’s History With Medical Marijuana
Henderson has a pretty long history of using medical cannabis. And it’s also a long history of getting in trouble for it.
He was first suspended multiple times as a college player at the University of Miami. He then tested positive for cannabis at the 2014 NFL combine. As a result, he dropped down to the seventh round of the draft. He now plays for the Buffalo Bills.
Then, at the beginning of this season, he was suspended for four games. And on Tuesday, he was suspended by the NFL yet again. This time for 10 games.
Henderson has long used cannabis for medical reasons. And last year he was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Since then, he’s been using doctor prescribed medical cannabis. Despite having a prescription for it, the league continues to punish Henderson for using cannabis.
“I’ve got doctors telling me this is the number one medicine that would help your disease,” Henderson told reporters in Buffalo. “You try to tell that to the league, and it seems like they didn’t care too much.”
An Ongoing Debate For NFL
Henderson’s story is the latest in an ongoing debate about cannabis and football. A growing number of former and current players say the NFL should let players use medical cannabis. But the league hasn’t changed its rules.
Earlier this year, a number of former players started the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition. The group is trying to get the league to change its rules against cannabis.
The group’s main argument is that football players deal with a lot of pain and injuries. And they’re usually prescribed opioid painkillers that can be dangerously addictive. They argue that cannabis could be a safer way to deal with injuries.
Growing Support For Medical Marijuana
Last month, ESPN asked NFL players about medical cannabis. Here’s what they found.
- 59% of players said they worry about the long-term effects of prescription painkillers.
- 42% said they had a teammate who became addicted to prescription painkillers.
- 43% said they’d rather use medical cannabis than the prescription painkiller Toradol.
- 61% said that if the NFL allowed medical cannabis, players would choose that over prescription painkillers.
And there’s actual science to back up these players’ concerns. A 2011 study found that retired NFL players use painkillers at a higher rate than other people. And many football players become addicted to them.
“More than half used opioids during their NFL careers,” said researcher Linda B. Cottle. “And 71 percent had misused the drugs. That is, they had used the medication for a different reason or in a different way than it was prescribed.”
Players’ popular support of medical cannabis is backed up by this sort of research. Despite all this, the NFL continues to outlaw medical cannabis. And Henderson’s suspension is the latest point of tension in this ongoing debate.