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My Story

#cannabis4pain

My Story

I’m calling for the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and stop overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids.

Born: April 18, 1987
Hometown: Plainfield, New Jersey
College: University of Virginia
2009 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 8
NFL Career History: Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-2013); Baltimore Ravens (2013-2016)

“On March 9, 2016, I became the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries. It’s time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players. For too long, I’ve watched my teammates and good friends battle with opioid addiction and leave the game with a long road still ahead; it’s time to make a change.” – Eugene Monroe

Eugene began his football career as an offensive lineman in high school, where he was ranked the number three player in the United States and graduated eighth in his class. Eugene was a unanimous All-ACC selection, voted the ACC’s top blocker, and was regarded as the most dominating offensive lineman in college football. He was drafted eighth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In October 2013, Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens orchestrated a trade to acquire the star left tackle. During his time in the NFL, Eugene was consistently graded as one of the League’s best pass blockers. On July 21, 2016, after 18 years of playing football, Eugene made the difficult decision to retire from the NFL so he could focus on his personal health and spend more valuable time with his wife and three children.

Since retiring, Eugene has become the lead advocate for medical cannabis research and policy reform in the NFL. Eugene demonstrates his commitment to education and policy reform by serving as a board member of the NFLPA Pain Management Committee and the HealthyUNow Foundation (supporting the Autism community), and is the Athletic Ambassador for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. He is also co-author of the book Youth Sports: Start Here: Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Health and Preventing Injury for Your Young Athlete. Eugene looks to add value in communities by partnering, donating and investing in community programs and medical research, and educating the broader community by speaking at healthcare and medical cannabis conferences. He is also a partner at Green Thumb Industries (GTI), one of the country’s leading medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary facilities. At GTI, Eugene works towards bringing dignified and safe access to medical cannabis patients in need. Eugene is dedicated to educating the public on how these medications can be used safely and as non-addictive alternatives to prescription opioids.

My Family

With everything I do, my family comes first. They are my heart, my joy, and my motivation! I met my beautiful wife Nureya at the University of Virginia behind Old Cabbell Hall on campus. I pulled up in a run down sedan; she needed a ride and was bold enough to ask this enormous guy for a lift. I joke with her that I picked her up off of the streets! Nureya and I are both nerds at heart and even watched anime on our first date; we’ve been best friends ever since. We have three beautiful children; Farah, Xavier and Sonia. They are such lively, intelligent, and respectful babes that bring us great joy and new laughs daily. We work to instill in them the best of us. I’m tremendously blessed to have them in my life.” – Eugene Monroe

The NFL & The Opioid Epidemic

#cannabis4pain

The NFL & The Opioid Epidemic

The misuse and over-prescription of opioids is one of the most significant public health problems in the United States today. Misuse can lead to physical and mental impairment and even death.

Opioids are freely and regularly given to NFL players who experience chronic pain from sports-related injuries. On game day, players line up for their weekly “T-Train” shot and/or Vicodin dose. This practice creates a black market of these dangerously addictive pills in the locker room. As a result, NFL players are more likely to use and abuse opioids than the general population.

“In a months-long investigation involving dozens of former players, as well as their attorneys, physicians, and addiction counselors, what emerges is a picture of a professional league so swamped by narcotics that it closes its eyes to medical malpractice by many of its doctors and trainers… Since the advent, in the 1980s, of modern narcotics like Vicodin and Percocet, and then later OxyContin, team doctors and trainers have dispensed pills in the millions to keep hurt players practicing and playing.” Men’s Journal

Cannabinoids

#cannabis4pain

Cannabinoids

CBD & Chronic Pain

Gridiron Cannabis Coalition

Cannabinoids are a safer, less addictive alternative to opioids and can even reduce opioid dependence. In 2014, the Drug Policy Alliance reported that prescription painkiller deaths fell almost 25% in medical marijuana states. Despite this, the NFL tests and penalizes players for marijuana use, while all but encouraging the use of damaging and addictive opioids.

Chronic pain is a part of everyday life for professional football players. A Washington Post survey of over 500 retired NFL players found that nearly 9 in 10 still suffer from aches and pains on a daily basis, and they overwhelmingly – 91 percent – connect nearly all their pains to football.

“I’ve sustained many injuries in my career, most of which were paired with a prescription opioid. As a football player, I know that I signed up to play one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet; and yes, I love this game. However, we aren’t warned that the inherent physicality of the game could coincide with life-threatening treatment options.” – Eugene Monroe

Cannabis is an extremely safe and effective medication for many chronic pain patients, according to Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey. Patients using cannabis for chronic pain management reported a 64% relative decrease in average pain and 45% reported relief from insomnia. No serious adverse effects were reported.

“U.S. marijuana policy is unique among American criminal laws – no other law is enforced so widely and harshly, yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial portion of the population…One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many seriously ill people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them.” – Drug Policy Alliance

CBD & Brain Injury

Football players have a high risk of developing brain disease due to repeated head trauma suffered on the field. They are also likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of brain degeneration associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD), found in cannabis, functions as a short-term neuroprotective. The NFL should be sponsoring studies to learn more about this. In fact, the United States government holds a patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507) on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

According to a Washington Post survey, nine in 10 former NFL players reported suffering concussions while playing football; six in 10 reported three or more concussions. Two-thirds of those who had concussions said they experience continuing symptoms. Medical marijuana could reduce brain inflammation and diminish the long-term effects of brain injuries – why wouldn’t the NFL be looking into the potential benefits of CBD on the brain?

“This is a cause I am incredibly passionate about. Replacing opioids with cannabinoids could greatly improve and even save the lives of football players. I have donated $80,000 to CW Botanical and Realm of Caring’s campaign, ‘When The Bright Lights Fade,’ to fund research that will examine the potential benefits of CBD in alleviating symptoms of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). What has the NFL, a billion-dollar organization, done?” – Eugene Monroe

Resources

#cannabis4pain

Resources

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain. (Wikipedia).

Opioid Crisis

Opioids are a highly addictive type of narcotic pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications. They can have serious side effects if you don’t use them correctly. (WebMD)

CTE

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue which is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. (BU CTE Center).

Get Involved

#cannabis4pain

Get Involved

Speak Out

Help raise awareness about this cause by sharing information with your networks and reaching out to key decision-makers.

The research is there. #cannabis4pain is real. @NFL @NFLCommish remove cannabis from the banned substances list.

What are you doing to stop the #NFLOpioidEpidemic, @NFL @NFLCommish#cannabis4pain

Too many have already fallen victim to the #NFLOpioidEpidemic. Learn how #cannabis4pain can help: www.eugenemonroe.com

Write your local congressmen and women about why patients need access to medical cannabis http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ #cannabis4pain

Support Leading Research Organizations

Here are some leading organizations campaigning for medical marijuana research. Use the links below to learn more about their causes, find volunteer opportunities or even donate. Eugene is an investor in both GTI and Green Flower, has a leadership role in DFCR and has donated to the Realm of Caring.

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DFCR (Doctors For Cannabis Regulation)’s Campaign
DFCR is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy for the legalization, taxation and—above all—the effective regulation of marijuana in the United States. DFCR consists of American physicians who share three fundamental beliefs: The war on marijuana has failed; the misuse of marijuana should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal one; the only rational approach to the cannabis trade is for the Government to regulate and tax it, directing significant revenues to evidence-based drug education and treatment.

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The Benefits of Cannabis – GTI Grows
GTI believes everyone deserves the dignity of health and well being and is on a mission to provide safe, effective and therapeutic medical cannabis nationwide by operating world class cultivation facilities and customer-first retail experiences. If you’re interested in learning more about GTI’s medical cannabis dispensaries and where they are located, please visit http://www.risedispensaries.com/  

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Green Flower
Cannabis has the potential to positively impact millions of people around the world, but only by bringing this plant out of the shadows and into the light can we truly make a difference. That’s why Green Flowers works with the world’s top cannabis experts, and helps them package their knowledge into easy-to-understand courses, classes, videos, and articles. Whether you’re interested in using cannabis as medicine, starting your own cannabis business, being a better activist, or growing your own cannabis at home, Green Flowers has you covered.

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Drug Policy Alliance
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

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Institute for Research on Cannabinoids
To advance the scientific understanding of cannabinoids and their impact on psychological and physical health. With this knowledge, we will harness advances in dissemination and implementation science to inform policy and health care, including patient and practitioner education.

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Realm of Caring
Learn more about the Realm of Caring’s research in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Gridiron Cannabis Coalition
The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition is dedicated to the advancement of medical marijuana in the modern age. Driven by research and development, the GCC mission is committed to the evolution of the natural healing elements of the cannabis plant.

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Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative
CGRI encompasses a range of projects, some aimed at developing resources, others focused on answering specific biological questions.

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Marijuana Policy Project
MPP, which was founded in January 1995, is the largest organization in the U.S. that’s focused solely on ending marijuana prohibition. MPP’s mission is to change federal law to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference, as well as to regulate marijuana like alcohol in all 50 states, D.C., and the five territories.

Contact

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