NFL Players and Weed: Questions and Answers


What is the NFL’s drug policy?

Can NFL players smoke weed?

Which NFL athletes consume cannabis?

How does marijuana help NFL players?

What’s the future for the NFL and weed?

Draft day for cannabis

As the cannabis industry shines positively within many states, rules are easing up for athletes. The National Football League (NFL) is trying to understand the medical benefits of marijuana but can NFL players smoke weed?

Despite its many reported advantages, cannabis is still considered a performance-enhancing drug in the professional sporting scene. The NFL is beginning to lean toward pro-marijuana efforts after passing new policies.

Current and retired football players are more confident speaking about the plant’s healing properties. Former NFL stars may have grown Haze weed seeds, while others have opened up cannabis-inspired businesses.

Many questions surround the NFL and marijuana. Let’s touch on how these players handle their marijuana and career without getting burned.

What is the NFL’s drug policy?

Implementing a strict drug policy is a priority for the National Football League. NFL players who were smoking weed during on-seasons faced harsh penalties in the past. Prolonged suspensions or final dismissals were standard. 

Thanks to the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) implemented in March 2020, the rules changed for footballers who use marijuana. 

Players may now consume cannabis wisely and within the set boundaries of the policy. The NFL shifted the threshold for a positive THC test from 35 to 150ng/ml. Athletes who register over this limit receive a fine rather than a suspension.

During the off-season, conveniently commencing on April 20th (just in time for 420 celebrations), players indulge in marijuana without fear. Testing still takes place during this time, but not for THC.

Could NFL management’s relaxed drug policy stem from the impact they felt at a financial level? Suspending their best athletes surely had some effect on their bottom line.

They’ve made better choices for their players. The NFL is starting to see the canna light, and things are moving forward in the weed vs. ball debate.

Can NFL players smoke weed?

NFL weed smokers can enjoy their favorite herb responsibly during off-seasons. Instead of ending football players’ careers, the NFL has adopted a more strategic way of dealing with athletes who consume marijuana. 

Rather than a suspension after the first four positive tests, they hand over fines of up to three weeks’ pay. These penalties depend on the number of violations.

Should any athlete surpass the 150ng/ml THC level after multiple times, a panel of medical experts reviews their case. This committee decides if the player should enter an intervention program for substance abuse.

Footballers who refuse to participate in testing or clinical care may still face suspensions.

NFL players can freely smoke weed throughout their break from April 20th–August 9th. Once training commences, testing for the cannabinoid starts. 

Which NFL athletes consume cannabis?

Many US states are easing restrictions on cannabis laws, but not all. As a result, NFL players are mindful of the rules and regulations within their residing states. 

Unfavorable stigma still sticks to weed and people who consume it. Current offensive tackle for the Houston Texans, Laremy Tunsil, felt the raw end of this stick during the 2016 draft day.

A video showing him puffing on a marijuana-infused bong while wearing a gas mask went viral. This clip cost him his fifth-place acquisition. 

Some footballers who smoke weed still have to hide behind shields. Most athletes who openly speak about using medical cannabis for chronic pain are now off the field. Former player Martellus Bennet believes that around 89% of NFL competitors consume marijuana.

Other weed-loving retirees couldn’t wait to show the world how using cannabis before, during, or after ball time helped them. They ventured off and started marijuana businesses.

  • Ricky Williams (running back)
  • Tavarres King (wide receiver)
  • Rob Sims (guard)
  • Calvin Johnson (wide receiver)
  • Marshawn Lynch (running back)
  • Terrell Davis (running back)

Other former NFL athletes who smoke cannabis and advocate for improving its position in society are:

  • Josh Gordon (wide receiver)
  • David Irving (defensive tackle)
  • Randy Moss (wide receiver)
  • Martavis Bryant (wide receiver)
  • Shaun Smith (defensive end)
  • Bo Scaife (tight end)

How does marijuana help NFL players?

Athletes worldwide declare how cannabis helps them manage sports injuries. NFL players put their bodies through strenuous training before taking their skills to the yard.

Footballers face torn muscles, tendons, ligaments, broken bones, and head injuries. The constant hurling into one another and running at full speed across the field puts immense pressure on their bodies.

Besides the physical pain, many players deal with sleepless nights due to anxiety, mental fatigue, and stress. Consuming marijuana may alleviate these ailments.

Players like Rob Gronkowski, a former NFL tight end, announced in 2019 that he relies on CBD for aches and pains.

What’s the future for the NFL and weed?

Is there a permanent spot for marijuana in the NFL to replace opioids as a healing aid? The future certainly does look bright when spending millions of dollars on research.

On February 1st, 2022, the NFL announced its interest in further researching the potential medical benefits cannabinoids have on pain management. The league tasked the University of California San Diego and the University of Regina with the inquiry.

This study is a positive step toward the possibility of many other sports institutes following suit.

Draft day for cannabis

Marijuana’s place in the NFL is gaining momentum. From revised drug policies to cannabis research teams, it’s getting sweeter for footballers. 

The new policies encourage responsible marijuana consumption. With a research program underway, CBD prescriptions could replace unfavorable opioids in the future.

A simple answer to can NFL players smoke weed? Yes, as long as they follow the league’s rules.

Douglas Kester

Douglas Kester, a cannabis growing expert at I49 Seed Bank. He has been working in the weed industry for more than 10 years. During that period, he built up a vast experience and depth of expertise in this field. Douglas has a detailed understanding of every aspect of marijuana, from its cultivation and species to the effects it brings. He’s also up to date on all the cannabis-related legislation nuances.