Medical Marijuana Can Help Fight Degenerative Brain Diseases Caused by Football Injury

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Feb 09, 2016 09:50 PM EST

BERKELEY, CA - MARCH 25: One-ounce bags of medicinal marijuana are displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late Wednesday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot. (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A former NFL player revealed that if cannabis was approved for medical use among the athletes, it can help in dealing with CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Celebrated NFL players like Ken Stabler and Junior Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease which is reportedly due to repeated blows to the head. Another late and former quarterback Earl Morrall was also revealed to have had CTE which causes memory loss, progressive dementia and impaired judgment. Many players have been diagnosed with the disease and some of them like Frank Gifford died with CTE in old age.

NBC San Diego reported that currently, there is no treatment for CTE because the disease is diagnosed post-mortem through brain scans. But to a former NFL player, who was sure he had the condition, there's a solution to the problem but it is prohibited in the NFL.

"If cannabis is implemented and (the NFL) can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way," Kyle Turley said.

Turley was an offensive tackle in the National Football League. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1998 then played for the Saints, Saint Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs professionally. After his retirement from football, Turley pursued a music career and moved to Nashville Tennessee.

The former NFL player is also the co-founder of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition which is a movement to promote the medical benefits of marijuana. Turley, being the movement's most outspoken member, insisted the pain-supressing and possible neuroprotective benefits of marijuana to football players.

A research found that marijuana can heal head trauma but Turley is wondering why the NFL isn't investigating the positive use of it. He also revealed that marijuana is present in the NFL from coaches to players but only a few have bravely spoken about using it.

ABC News reported about a study that was conducted by the Hebrew University in Israel. The research showed that cannabinoid which is similar to the active ingredient of marijuana, protects mice from brain injury. Dr Esther Shohami, the lead author of the study said that although the research was done using animals, she didn't see any problem using the drug to treat patients. However, this is still carefully being studied to make sure that the human safety is prioritized.

Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about the issue regarding CTE in the football industry during a media conference last week. He also addressed whether he could foresee the use of medical marijuana in the NFL, ESPN stated in an article.

 "I don't foresee a change in that policy clearly in the short term, but we'll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel," said Goodell.

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