The Rules Behind Cannabis Use in the NFL 

The National Football League (NFL) is one of the most popular sports organizations in the world. As with any professional sport, there are rules and regulations that guide the players’ behavior both on and off the field. One such regulation is in regard to cannabis use. But it’s 2022, why is cannabis still illegal in the NFL? Let’s take a closer look at this issue to better understand it.

Current Policy on Cannabis Use 

The NFL has long had a policy against using cannabis, labeling it as an “addictive drug” and banning players from using it. This policy was first implemented in 1989 when team owners voted to add marijuana to the list of banned substances in the collective bargaining agreement between them and the players union. Since then, both sides have worked together to update and revise this policy several times over, unfortunately with neither side agreeing to make any changes that would allow players to use cannabis while they are employed by an NFL team. 

The Science Behind Cannabis Use in Sports 

The medical research surrounding cannabis use has been evolving over the past few years, with many studies pointing to its potential therapeutic benefits for athletes. Additionally, some studies have shown that cannabis can reduce inflammation and pain, making it potentially useful for treating muscle soreness, joint pain, and other injuries common among professional athletes. However, despite this research, the NFL continues to prohibit its players from using cannabis.

The Cultural Stigma Surrounding Cannabis Use in Professional Sports 

In contrast to the scientific evidence regarding cannabis use, there is also a cultural stigma surrounding its use by professional athletes. And this is likely the larger reason cannabis use is still prohibited in the NFL. This stigma is largely due to long-held beliefs about drug use and addiction, as well as a lack of education about how cannabis can be used safely and responsibly. As a result, many people view cannabis use as something that should be avoided—including those within the NFL organization itself. 

How Does This Impact Players? 

Unfortunately, this prohibition on cannabis has had negative consequences for some NFL players who have tested positive for marijuana or related substances over the years. These players have been subjected to fines or suspensions from their teams—something that could have serious repercussions for their careers if they are not able to return quickly and perform at their best levels upon returning from suspension or injury.  


Cannabis remains prohibited by the NFL despite growing evidence of its potential health benefits for athletes—as well as an overall cultural shift towards viewing it more positively than in years past. While this policy may help maintain order within the league itself, it does come at a cost for players who may benefit from using it responsibly—and who may even suffer career-threatening consequences if they are caught using it illegally or without authorization from their team or league officials. Ultimately, educating everyone involved about why cannabis is illegal in the NFL could help create a greater understanding of this issue and lead to changes in policy that will benefit everyone involved in professional football today.

Thanks for reading,


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