Amid opioid epidemic, NFL player risks career to push for medical marijuana

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Amid opioid epidemic, NFL player risks career to push for medical marijuana

Monroe’s physicians had prescribed him oxycodone, and although his body needed relief from severe pain, the side effects of the painkiller were horrible. He felt like a “zombie” – sluggish, lethargic and always in a fog. He avoided developing a dangerous opioid addiction, but many other athletes, particularly professional football players, are not so lucky.

That’s why Monroe has become an unlikely advocate for medical marijuana, an alternative painkiller that the National Football League continues to ban despite growing evidence that cannabis is significantly safer than opioids, could reduce opioid dependence and could even diminish the long-term effects of brain injuries.

In March, Monroe became the first active NFL player to openly call for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports injuries, and this month he escalated his campaign with the launch of a personal website dedicated to the cause and an $80,000 donation to medical marijuana researchers.
 
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