NFL players believe legal pot would reduce use of painkillers

Marijuana’s effectiveness in mitigating a user’s pain has been well-documented. A recent survey of NFL players reveals that legalizing the drug would deter many from seeking out and preventing possible abuse of painkillers.

A survey conducted by ESPN found NFL players would prefer legal weed as a way to avoid using painkillers. 61 percent of the 226 NFL players surveyed by ESPN.com’s NFL Nation and ESPN’s the Magazine found that NFL athletes would reduce their use of painkillers if marijuana was an available substitute.

Currently, the NFL issues the painkiller Toradol by way of syringe to serve as the league’s primary anti-inflammatory. The shot’s effects in controlling pain are more well-known than that of marijuana’s, but according to the survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents are concerned about the chemical’s long-term effects on their health. Adding on to that, 42 percent of respondents have known a teammate who they believed had become addicted to chemical painkillers.

That explains why 41 percent of those surveyed believe marijuana would control pain better than Toradol. However, medicinal marijuana is only legal in 25 states while recreational use permitted in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Meanwhile, Arizona, California, Maine Massachusetts and Nevada will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana next Tuesday, November 8, while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will vote on the legalization of medicinal marijuana that same day.

Despite a majority of the players polled believing the league’s drug tests are not hard to beat for infrequent offenders, 71 percent still said the drug should be completely legalized for public consumption. With nearly two-thirds of the United States debating whether to legalize the drug in some form or fashion, pressure on the NFL to change its code of conduct policy could be intensifying over the coming months.

The irony of the situation was reflected by one player’s comment in the survey. “It’s legal [to use] where I live, but not where I work.”

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