Eugene Monroe, a medical marijuana advocate, was just released from the NFL Baltimore Ravens following his campaign to get the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list. The offensive tackle didn’t address his free-agent status, but he continued to charge forward in his fight for cannabis as a medicine for pro athletes.
“We need to concentrate efforts on exactly how [cannabis as a neuroprotectant] works. Exactly why it protects the brain in the case of traumatic brain injury,” said Monroe on a live streaming video on how cannabis works in the body, a lesson available from Green Flower Media.
Monroe has read the available literature on medical cannabis and says it’s enough evidence to show that more research is desperately needed.
Cannabis instead of pills
For Monroe, the shift from calling it a ‘bad, harsh drug’ to medicine came from a special report he saw on TV. “One day I was watching a special on a child with epilepsy and they found a treatment with cannabis,” he said. “It’s actually a beautiful plant with many healing abilities for the body and other things.”
In the NFL, football players are prescribed drugs, like opioids, for acute injuries and often to treat pain from a career of injuries. Monroe is adamant about choosing a safer alternative instead of these harmful, addictive, and dangerous pills.
“Medical cannabis can essentially do the job of those other drugs, in a safe manner,” he said.
It’s a controversial plant but more and more athletes say it shouldn’t be any longer.
Former NFL and NHL players joined forces in New York City at the CWCB Expo keynote panel on CBD, CTE, and Concussions along with the Brain Unity Trust, an organization of scientists, athletes, and lawyers dedicated to making sports safer. Retired athletes Leonard Marshall, Jim McMahon, Nate Jackson, Eben Britton, Riley Cote, and Charlie Adams shared their personal medical marijuana use.
“I started using in high school…I believe cannabis protected my brain in advance of those injuries,” said Nate Jackson, former Denver Bronco.
Monroe has a huge support system, people who understand whether or not they support cannabis, there are reasons to believe it’s safer than prescription pills. “I’ve talked with people I trust to educate them on what I’m doing, and they are becoming advocates, with is pretty cool to see.”
Saving the NFL with medical marijuana
In terms of prescribing cannabis to athletes, Monroe says doctors just don’t know enough about what’s going on with the plant. There will need to be different methods of telling athletes the safest ways to prescribe it, he predicts.
“I can speak to the NFL and the football community, and the aspect that we have yet to touch on is cannabis as a neuroprotectant. When you look at the climate of concussions, brain injury, brain damage in our sport, it’s critical for us to move forward with solutions; to research and find how to save our game and protect our players’ brains,” he said.
With current and former athletes like Monroe and Jackson talking about medical marijuana, it’s an issue the NFL will eventually have to address. “We need to approach cannabis as medicine, as a real alternative to many of the dangerous things that we are currently doing to heal people,” said Monroe.
Monroe has reportedly never used cannabis, and he didn’t say if he’s used it or not in this interview. He continues to fight for medical research to unlock the potentials of the plant as an alternative to opioids and a tool in the prevention of traumatic brain injury.