Athletes that Use CBD- Challenging the League

Athletes That Use CBD Challenging The League

I decided to write an article regarding athletes that use CBD when I realized that the list of celebrities endorsing it was too long. Top athletes were, at first part, in the stars’ list.

Without even researching the topic, I was sure I would find a lot of athletes endorsing CBD and its benefits. The reason is simple: Athletes suffer from stress and anxiety-they all want to give their best before each game, race, or fight.

The results of my research amazed me. I found so many NFL players that advocate for CBD that I decided to concentrate on them and come back with a second article regarding the rest of the sports world.

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The road to the top is long and hard and the NFL world is tough.

Why do so many professional footballers swear by CBD?

Injuries happen all the time and concussions are more than frequent. Pain is a constant companion of professional footballers.

Furthermore, their need of opioids to suppress the chronic pain, caused by injuries, leads them to addiction and unwanted side effects these meds bring along.

It seems that lots of active or former footballers embrace CBD, challenging the league and its substance abuse policy regarding medicinal cannabis.

They, also, join forces to raise awareness regarding a serious and fatal disease that can probably be treated with the help of cannabidiol.

The disease is called Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concern about it is growing day by day. A great number of high-profile athletes have developed CTE and died. Parents of children who play sports are becoming seriously worried about how concussions may affect their children’s brain health in the future.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis sativa (hemp)  plant. Cannabidiol has thousands of years of therapeutic history. It is a safe, non-addictive natural substance whose healing properties are being tested and confirmed by scientists around the world.   

It cooperates with the human endocannabinoid system and can be consumed to enhance its function, improve health and treat numerous mental and physical health issues.

The sports community seems to understand the potential benefits of this magnificent gift of nature and its ability help with the recovery of the brain in CTE, concussion syndromes, and brain injuries

The “When the Bright Lights Fade Out” Campaign

The need for research and scientific proof of CBD’s benefits is huge.

In order to raise money to fund a series of studies to aid the prevention and treatment of CTE and brain injuries, a bunch of giants decided to join forces in 2016.

One on hand, The Realm of Caring Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to give support to individuals using cannabinoid therapy providing revolutionary education and collaborating on innovative research.

One the other, top NFL players.

The aim of the campaign was to raise public awareness – more specifically educate the fans of the NFL- about the beneficial  effects of a cannabinoid known as CBD

The first NFL player (he was active at the time) to get involved with the campaign was offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens,

Eugene Monroe

Eugene Moore CBD Advocate

At the time, he was the first active NFL football player to come out about his use of CBD oil and his support for cannabidiol regarding his health and wellness.

Monroe became an active advocate of CBD and it is suspected that his advocacy played a substantial role in his release by the Baltimore Ravens 3 weeks after his coming out. He didn’t give up.

He expressed his concerns about the opioid epidemic amongst NFL players in an article of his, where he pointed:

“Studies have shown medical marijuana to be a much better solution; it is safer, less addictive and can even reduce opioid dependence. Some studies have also shown that cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana — may function as a neuroprotectant, which means it can shield the cells in the brain from injury or degeneration. We need to learn more about this.”

Derrick Morgan

Derrick Morgan CBD

Tennesse Titan’s linebacker followed Eugene Monroe’s lead and soon became an active supporter of CBD advocating the importance of research on cannabinoids.

Morgan uses CBD on a daily basis.

He was quoted saying (regarding CBD):

“At the foundation of what I’m talking about is player health and safety. If you want to get distracted by the stigma or what not, well that’s on you.”

Derrick Morgan was the second active NFL athlete to support the use of CBD oil for athletes but, fortunately, he wasn’t the last.

He advocated for a league’s change of policy regarding cannabinoids signing an open letter to NFl along with Eugene Moore and otherNFL players:

Eben Britton

Eben Britton CBD

Offensive tackle for Chicago Bears till 2014, Britton is a CBD advocate. He believes that CBD could be used to treat injuries.

He said:

“I think that within ten years we’re going to see a dramatic shift in the medicine
practices of professional sports leagues. I think in the NFL, my optimistic view is that within ten years the NFL will be offering some sort of CBD product to its players”. Eben Britton

He is the founder of a company called Be Trū Organics which specializes in homeopathic products with completely THC-free phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract.

Nate Jackson

During his career, Jackson, former tight end for the Denver Broncos, used medicinal cannabis as an alternative pain treatment to avoid taking opioids. He believes that it can solve many of the league’s problems because CBD instead of pain killers can save  money and lives He urged the NFL to finally realize

“that it is a neuroprotectant — meaning it protects the brain in advance of a brain injury.”

Lance Johnstone

Johnstone, former defensive end for the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings, believes that medical cannabis as an alternative to addictive opiates.

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon CBD Oil

Former Chicago Bears quarterback suffers from early dementia, severe headaches, memory loss, and depression.

He has also admitted having suicidal thoughts

All his health issues are associated with the numerous concussions he suffered during his career. He became a CBD advocate because believes that cannabidiol (CBD) can help minimize brain damage caused by brain injuries.

He refers to it as “godsend” because it helped him to eliminate painkillers.

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Ricky Williams  

Ricky Williams CBD

While he was a professional athlete, Ricky Williams, running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was criticized for his beliefs in the therapeautic  potential of cannabis.

Although his career was repeatedly interrupted by this criticism and the frequent punishments for violating the NFL’ substance abuse policy, he is considered the most productive pothead athlete of the league. (!!!!) Williams used medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for his depression, social anxiety disorder and pain caused by injuries.  

After his retirement, he turned to CBD oil and he is the CEO of RW, his personal brand of cannabis-based products (Don’t jump into conclusions so fast! RW stands for Real Wellness 🙂 )   

Jake Plummer

In the following video, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs Jake Plummer talks about CBD

In an interview he described his experience with CBD :

With the right amounts of CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC, I feel virtually pain free. The inflammation in my joints that stiffened up in the cold winter months was gone. The random headaches that would throb behind my eyes to the beat of my heart? Gone. I still eat gluten and sugar, I still enjoy a cold brew or two. The only thing different? CBD.  

Kyle Turley  

Kyle Turley Has His Own CBD Brand

Turley, offensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) with early onset of Alzheimer’s disease after retiring from football,

In an interview he said:

During my NFL career, I became reliant on pain killers and endured a 20-year struggle with depression, anxiety, and rage. I was diagnosed with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) due to the 100-plus concussions I endured during my time in the NFL. I began a downward spiral of pharmaceutical addiction, violent thoughts, and suicidal tendencies. Medical Marijuana literally saved my life. Without it, I would not be here today. I would not have my family, my kids, my house, everything I have right now, if not for cannabis. Period.

In 2017 Turley launched his own brand called Neuro XPF, a THC-free cannabis oil, rich in CBD  and various terpenes.

Marvin Washington

Marvin Washington Endorses CBD

After 11 years in the league, Marvin Washington could write an encyclopedia about pain. The former defensive of the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, has turned to CBD oil to manage pain after his retirement.

He has become the ambassador of ISO-Sport, Isodiol’s athlete-specific line to bring “CBD self serve machine” to market.

Mark Restelli

Hiscareer with the Miami Dolphinsended due to a severe foot injury. A total  of 4 surgeries over a 3 year period was needed to be able to use his foot again. When he realized that medicinal cannabis was the only solution to the pain caused by 20 years of injuries he turned to CBD and the cannabis industry as a new career.

Grant Mattos

Grant Mattos Supports CBD

The former wide receiver of the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans travels throughout the U.S. to educate the public about the health benefits of medical cannabis.

Leonard Marshall

Former Giants defensive end is passionate about ensuring that former and current NFL players are informed the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory potential of CBD

He was one of the first NFL players to be diagnosed with CTE in 2003.

Since his carrer in the NFL was over, Marshall has dedicated himself to raising money fro research and spreading awareness about CBD.

He volunteered for many non-profit organizations. His own foundation Brain Trust Unity helps concussion victims and educates about the effects of head trauma.

Marshall recognizes CBD as an alternative to opioids and various painkillers. He collaborates with Elixinol, a US-based international company who manufactures CBD.

He said:

“ It’s well known that I’ve been diagnosed with CTE and after using Elixinol’s products personally, I say, “Don’t knock it till you try it.”

Cullen Jenkins

After over a decade in the league, former Green Bay Packers defensive end Jenkins turned to the natural benefits of CBD oil for pain relief, instead of taking opioids and chemical painkillers.

He has become a vocal advocate for CBD use and he has invested in the brand Fresh Farms CBD. He tours the U.S. telling his story and promoting this natural painkiller.

Now Jenkins is proud to be pharmaceutical-free and points:

“At first I was skeptical, but then I tried [CBD], started using it every day, and I felt a lot better. I don’t even take pills anymore. And it’s helped so much with my mental life. Helps your mind from wandering. Now I’m taking carpentry classes, and I’ll take it before class and it really helps me focus. It’s pretty amazing.”

Mike James  

James, running back for the Detroit Lions is an active advocate for the medical use of cannabis as a means of reducing addiction to opioids which a lot of NFL players suffer from.

In 2013 he started taking opioids after a very serious ankle injury. It took him a few weeks to become addicted to them.

To cut them out, he turned to medical marijuana for pain management.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he said:

“My pain subsided. I never had something where I could be coherentand still have pain relief,”

Nick Lowery

Lowery, a former kicker for the Chiefs, has lost a lot of friends from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). He decided to stop sitting on the sidelines and collaborate with a Cannabidiol producing company to promote CBD as a treatment for those suffering from CTE.

Besides CTE treatment, his words reveal another problem that CBD oil can hopefully solve:

“We’re going to help, I think, reverse the opioid epidemic, and hopefully reverse the death sentence that NFL players have.”  

Prejudice or denial?

CTE, brain trauma, opioid addictions, pain, anxiety, depression… There are a lot of health and mental issues top athletes are suffering from. Their voices are determined and desperate at the same time; it’s their physical and psychological wellness they are fighting for.  

There have been studies which brought promising early data regarding the  protective effect cannabinoids can have on the brain.

What are the NFL waiting for?

According to S.Sisley, MD:

“The NFL, rather than burying their head in the sand, could instead be proactive and acknowledge the existing science and agree to sponsor a federally legal trial.”

CBD has the ability to help the body maintain homeostasis (balance), it can reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant. For these reasons, it is used by a lot of people (including me, of course) as a health maintenance supplement. How about you? Isn’t it the right time to give yourself a big gift?

Don’t waste time! Boost your wellness NOW!!

If you have any questions, you want to share your personal experience or you can add a NFL athlete who uses CBD in the list, leave a comment below.

If you want to know if I have published a new article, or get information about CBD news, product releases or promotions, don’t hesitate to sign up for my email list!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to alleviate or cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.


  1. CBD is so useful for athletes. As an athlete I know how useful CBD is to get rid of pain & stress.

  2. Hello Effie,

    There has got to be great benefits for the use of CBD oils to be endorsed by current and ex-NFL players. 

    With all the varying levels of concussions and injuries that are incurred within the sport, CBD shows promise in its relieving properties.

    I sincerely hope that there will be enough push back that the NFL makes a change for the better well-being of all players, on and off the field.

    1. You are absolutely right, Paul. NFL players push the League to take action and -why not- imitate WADA and drop CBD from its list of banned substances. Let us hope that in 2021, when the Collective Bargaining Agreement ends, the League will give credit to their justified demand.

  3. Thank you, I found your article on athletes that use CBD worth reading. I believe I read that a professional football player is on the list of the most dangerous job to have as a career. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), I’m going to have to learn more about this disease. I see it has something to do with concussions.>I see that a lot of former NFL player is advocating for more CBD studies. I don’t see why the government is taking so long to do more research. After all, opioid dependence is way up in the USA. It all over the news how people are overdosing on opioids.>>Question, how many NFL players have OD on CBD?I remember when they had Jim McMahon, a former Chicago Bears, and a few other NFL quarterback on a hit list. Jim was hit so hard that he did a somersault.

    1. If with the acronym OD you mean OverDose then the answer is NONE. You see, CannaBiDiol WON’T give you a high. It’s its sibling, THC, that causes this effect, LeNard. Both of them are “sons” of the same mother, the cannabis sativa plant. Try reading this article to get more information on the way they  collaborate and impact the human brain. Thank you!

  4. Ok, I’d love to know your opinion on this whole recent David Irving controversy. I believe he has some good point about the benefits of marijuana (and other “alternative” medicines) and how the NFL not recognizing it can push players to abuse opioids. But I think he went about it in the totally wrong way. What do you think?

    1. To be honest, I’m a medical marijuana advocate, not a recreational marijuana one.  Irving did what he felt was right to do, and I respect his decision. But, IMHO, he used the wrong words. Instead of talking about the opioid addiction epidemic among athletes and the way medical marihuana compounds can treat the serious health issues they have to cope with, he used the word “weed” and “weed addiction”. These words can be misleading and misunderstood. Let’s face it. Tucker, the cannabis plant is still treated with prejudice and fear. Isn’t this normal after so many decades of propaganda against it?  

  5. It’s sad that after so many positive endorsements from top players themselves that the NFL administration still has their ‘heads buried in the sand.’ How would the administration know better than the players themselves what works to alleviate their pain, stress, anxiety, and depression? They need to wake up and actually start to listen to the players to find out what they want and need to help them be the best players they can be for the longest time that they can. And hopefully, more of them will be able to retire in good mental, emotional and physical health when they are given the best possible care. The evidence is overwhelming that CBD oil benefits us in so many ways.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Welcome, Andrew! You are so right! Players are not money-making machines; they are human beings and should be treated with respect and care. Above all, they should be listened to! The good news is that the Collective Bargaining Agreement ends in 2021. So, let us hope that when the NFL and NFLPA come to the negotiating table, things will change. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion!

  6. I believe with positive testimonies that continue to come out in support of CBD, it is only a matter of time for the NFL to accept players to use it.
    I like your article since it has created the much needed awareness.
    Thank you

  7. The NFL can be in complete denial for treatments and even possible cures for their athletes. We’ve seen this often when it comes to links between concussions and CTE. Worse yet, the NFL is experiencing bad PR when it comes to denying such breakthrough treatments/cures for their athletes, and I would think they’d eventually lighten up and start listening to their players. I believe the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ends in 2021, so look for this to be a hot topic when the NFL and NFLPA come to the negotiating table.

  8. This is such an important topic. It’s so sad to see so many great NFL players get abandoned by their former employer later in life when they need them the most. Shocking how it isn’t immediately obvious to the NFL that getting hit in the head for years can cause such major issues. I’m so glad that CBD oil is able to help these players. I know it’s helped me with a few problems and it’s awesome to hear that it’s getting some attention. CBD oil to the rescue again!

    1. You are so right Dan! Even though the World Anti-Doping Agency decided to drop CBD from its list of banned substances, the NFL continue burying their heads in the sand. I think they should stop treating their players as money-making-machines and realize they are human beings who risk their lives and physical and mental health during the game. CBD has many benefits and can help them treat many issues!

  9. I think it’s really cool that CBD oil can not only eliminate pain for NFL players but that it can also help prevent CTE. As long as the CBD oil doesn’t have trace amounts of THC, since some seems to and some doesn’t, I don’t see the problem in NFL players using it. Hopefully in the near future, the league will allow the players to start using CBD oil instead of opioids since there are so many well known and documented issues with pain killers. I do hope the retired NFL players you mentioned that have invested in various CBD oil companies are also investing in CBD oil research since getting those studies done are the only way more people (and the League) are going to take CBD oil more seriously.

    1. I totally agree with you. It seems, though, that big pharmas aren’t at all willing to lose profits and allow CBD to replace their overpriced and really dangerous meds. Painkillers are a really big business, Missy…

  10. I never actually thought that there is something that can cure my anxiety. I am fighting a severe anxiety several years ago and up to now there are times when my anxiety attack. I have tried several herbals to ease my anxiety but does not work. I would like to try CBD. Maybe it is the only way for me to cure my anxiety. Nice article by the way! Thanks

    1. Hi Eff! Recognized by the athletes for sure. The problem is the League that doesn’t seem to want to change its substance abuse policy

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