NFL denies RB Mike James' request to use marijuana as a painkiller
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NFL denies RB Mike James’ request to use marijuana as a painkiller

Mike James, Bucs

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James, who is currently a free agent, failed to persuade the NFL to let him use marijuana as a painkiller.

The three-year veteran told NJ.com that he became addicted to painkillers trying to deal with the pain that comes with being a running back in the NFL. After trying to find a different way to cope with the pain, his doctor told him the safer option was to try marijuana.

“Consuming a vast amount of opioids is far more dangerous than cannabis,” said Dr. Sue Sisley MD, the principal investigator at the Scottsdale Research Institute and James’ physician. “One is lethal in overdose. One is not. One has an epidemic in overdose deaths. One has no deaths associated with it.”

James knows if the ruling stands his NFL career is over because he has chosen to use marijuana as a painkiller, a substance that is on the league’s banned list.

Although he isn’t under contract with an NFL team, free agents are still subject to the drug testing like the rest of the league.

“I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep playing football,” James said. “It is a game that I love very dearly. I know right now I’m doing something that makes some people uncomfortable, and that I’m going against the establishment to push for a change in the way they look at this medicine. I know there’s a greater purpose here for a lot of guys in this league who I consider family members.”

Even if he doesn’t see the playing field again, he hopes he is regarded as a pioneer in terms of players steering away from the painkillers, and going with something more natural.