Are NFL Players Allowed to Smoke Weed?


Under the NFL weed policy, football players have a slippery relationship with marijuana. As it becomes legal in more states, the public and professional athletes embrace it as an alternative way to heal. What do the National Football League and its historically restrictive rules have to say?

NFL tokers face limitations. Currently, they can only get high during the off-season. Will they be able to get cannabis seeds for sale and indulge without restrictions in the future? Let’s explore.

NFL Drug Policy

Can NFL players smoke weed? It depends on the time of year. Following the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), players no longer test for THC in April and August. For the first time since 2004, they could light up on 4/20.

The NFL was historically harsh on cannabis. Players who smoked faced suspensions, sackings, and life-long bans. Many teams suffered for this reason. For instance, Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Martavis Bryant missed the entire 2016 season due to cannabis use.

Under the previous CBA, all players got tested at least once during the off-season. Ten players got additional random drug tests during the regular season.

The new CBA still entails testing during April and August, but not for THC. Also, cannabis and performance-enhancing drugs are treated differently during random tests. Players who consume weed can enter a treatment program and avoid suspension.

Consumption Consequences

Football players may now consume cannabis as much as they want between April and August. They must practice moderation during the game season, though.

The NFL tests for weed during the game season, but the restrictions have loosened. Under 150 nanograms of THC (which suggests getting high in the previous week) now counts as a passed test year-round. What if there’s proof of chronic use?

The League now emphasizes treatment rather than punishment. Instead of an outright suspension, those who fail the test enter Stage One of the Intervention Program. Under it, a professional evaluates whether they’re abusing weed and suggests appropriate care.

Players only get fined and moved to Stage Two if they don’t follow the proposed medical treatment. If they fail to comply again, they face suspension.

Do NFL Players Smoke Weed?

Is weed legal in the NFL? Not yet, but that doesn’t mean players don’t indulge. The plant might offer an effective way to relieve physical and mental strain. It also reduces pain and inflammation after strenuous activity, helping them remain in top form. Since no proof cannabis might enhance performance exists, why should they skip it?

This argument becomes even more persuasive when we consider the alternative: opioids.

Opioid use is out of control in the NFL. In 2019, LA Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs overdosed on a cocktail of oxycodone, opioids, and fentanyl. According to a Washington University study, 52% of players consumed prescribed opioids during their careers in 2011. Of those, 71% admitted to misusing the drug.

Weed is one of the least harmful available alternatives. Superstar Calvin Johnson said he smoked it after every game to avoid deadly drugs, and he’s not alone.

Former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams (now a pot-friendly entrepreneur) is another notable advocate for marijuana use. Wide receiver Josh Gordon has spent most of his career suspended for consumption. David Irving quit instead of accepting a ban, and Eben Britton admitted he toked before playing.

For this reason, players’ access to medical marijuana has a spot in online discourse. We’re yet to see whether the League will allow CBD during the season, but a push exists.

NFL & Other Substances

Can you smoke weed in the NFL? Not yet, but there are excellent arguments for changing the rules. What about other substances?

The NFL bars a long list of substances, including steroids, hormones, masking agents, cocaine, MDMA, PCP, synthetic cannabinoids, and stimulants. Abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter meds is also prohibited.

The banned substance index has two categories. The first covers performance enhancers, and the second recreational drugs. If a player gets caught with something from the latter in their system, they don’t face an immediate suspension. Also, if they have a diagnosis treated with a prohibited drug, they may get a therapeutic use exception.

NFL: A Shifting Landscape

The NFL weed policy used to harm athletes, but the situation changed as the public began backing the pros. The League depends on its fans, so it makes sense they’re shifting gears.

Marijuana might be effective for pain relief and anxiety, stress, and inflammation: troubles oh-so-familiar to professional athletes. It’s an alternative to synthetic drugs to help them recover from pushing past their limits for the sport. Why say no to tracked and responsible use?

Football players are still restricted, but fans can take full advantage of cannabis. So, buy seeds to grow weed and use your law-given freedom. If you get a chance, support the pros’ right to do the same on social media.