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Washington, D.C. -- The country's leading medical marijuana advocacy organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), has teamed up with the world's largest cannabis information resource, Leafly, to run advertisements starting yesterday in USA Today's NFL Special Edition, which will be read by football fans across the country. The quarter-page ads will run for 30 days, followed by digital online ads and will focus on the markets for the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles.
The USA Today advertisement depicts a football player with the captions "100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain," and "9 in 10 retired players suffer from pain on a daily basis." The ad then points readers to further information on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana on chronic pain. "Medical marijuana works on pain even when opiates don't," reads the ad before directing readers to the website: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/football.
Earlier this year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would consider allowing athletes to use marijuana to treat concussions and other head injuries if medical experts agreed on the effects of the treatment. However, since Goodell made those statements in January, the league has continued to take a hard line on medical marijuana, including suspending players for its use. The NFL's collective bargaining agreement still prohibits the "illegal use" of marijuana, despite medical marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
In January, HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" reported that an estimated 50-60 percent of NFL players regularly use marijuana, many for pain management. Six months before Commissioner Goodell made his announcement, the respected peer-reviewed Oxford University Journal Cerebral Cortex published the latest study that showed marijuana's ability to activate the body's cannabinoid receptors and lead to neuroprotective benefits, which "can help heal the brain after a traumatic injury, such as a concussion." Other studies have made the same findings.
It was reported earlier this week that New York-based KannaLife Sciences signed a license agreement with the National Institutes of Health to allow the company to sell FDA-approved cannabis-derived medicines to treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that affects people -- particularly NFL athletes -- who have endured repeated head trauma. However, KannaLife Sciences isn't expected to begin clinical trials until 2015, with an approved drug still years away, and the NFL is currently being pressured to find effective treatments for CTE.
More than 4,000 former NFL players have joined a class-action lawsuit against the league for concealing the effects of concussions. According to Fox Business News, an initial $765 million settlement was rejected by a federal judge as insufficient compensation, but a new agreement with uncapped monetary awards received preliminary approval last month.
ASA has been educating the public on the therapeutic effects of marijuana use for chronic pain, neurological and other serious conditions for more than 10 years. Leafly is the world's largest resource for information on cannabis, including medical marijuana news, and ratings and reviews for hundreds of plant strains, products, and licensed distributors across the country.
USA Today advertisement and informational page on medical marijuana and chronic pain: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/football
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