NFL-NFLPA funding $1 million in research of pain-relief alternatives

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The NFL and NFLPA’s Pain Management Committee announced Tuesday they are seeking to identify research opportunities through a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP is “aimed at supplementing knowledge about pain management and the potential effects of pain and cannabinoids on athletic performance in elite football players.”

The funding opportunity will provide support of up to $1 million for as many five pilot research proposals.

“The RFP is open to proposals that have to do with a wide variety of therapies that might improve the way in which we treat pain, but certainly cannabis and cannabinoids, chemicals specific to the cannabis plant, are things that many, many people are interested in as witnessed by an increasing number of states with medical cannabis laws and recreational cannabis laws,” said Dr. Kevin Hill, co-chairman of the NFL-NFLPA Joint Pain Management Committee and director of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“Like most people in our country, athletes, including NFL players, wonder about cannabis and cannabinoids and whether or not they may improve pain management for athletic performance. . . . As a result, the Pain Management Committee has tried to provide the best information to both players and staff in order to guide them on this controversial topic. Unfortunately, the level of interest right now far exceeds the level of evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis for pain. There is some evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis for pain. . . . However, there are some flaws in each of these studies. As a result of that, I think there’s a need for better information, better science, so the Pain Management Committee wants to help advance the science in this area.”

In 2020, the PMC conducted two informational forums on CBD to learn about the current state of CBD science and manufacturing in North America, and, in 2021, issued a Request for Information to identify researchers studying pain management alternatives.

The Funding Opportunity is intended to facilitate, at a minimum, the following three lines of potential inquiry:

1. The effects of cannabinoids on pain in elite football players (post-surgical and/or in daily pain management); 2. The effects of non-pharmacologic treatments on pain in elite football players (postsurgical and/or in daily pain management); and 3. The effects of cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance (e.g., psychomotor, reaction time, cardiorespiratory function) in elite football players.

NFL-NFLPA funding $1 million in research of pain-relief alternatives originally appeared on Pro Football Talk