The NFL off-season saw the drive for access to medical cannabis gain real momentum. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NFL Kickoff: Catch up on football’s drive for medical marijuana and CBD

The new NFL season kicks off this weekend following a summer that saw new momentum in the drive to put medical cannabis in the pros’ pain-management playbook.

At the beginning of August, the NFL wrote to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players. It’s the first time the league has offered to work with players’ union on the topic of medical marijuana.

Days later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed the position during a forum held at The Denver Broncos headquarters.

“If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating,” the commissioner said.

The league’s letter — and the commissioner’s apparent evolution — capped off an off-season that saw powerful figures such as Goodell, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith weigh in on the marijuana issue.

The momentum isn’t limited to medical cannabis — earlier this year the NFLPA announced that it intended to pursue a new, “less punitive” drug policy that reflects the changing legal landscape as it pertained to recreational and medical consumption.

The Cannabist Network has all the NFL marijuana news on lock, so here’s everything you need to know before the first snap.

NFL alumni lead the drive

– Retired NFL pros back new nonprofit advocating for medical marijuana
– CBD patch turns former NFL star linebacker into cannabidiol disciple
– Former NFL pros say CBD oil vital pain-management tool
– NFL players hope CBD can be breakthrough treatment
– Medical marijuana key to treating former NFL All-Pro’s lingering injuries
– Former Eagle OL Todd Herremans pushes pot for pain management

NFL Players Association makes a stand

– NFLPA announces proposal for ‘less punitive’ approach to player pot use
– NFLPA looking at marijuana as possible pain-reliever for players
– Marijuana policy in NFL is ‘a CBA issue, not a law-enforcement issue’
– Give and take expected in marijuana policy negotiations with NFL owners
– Players’ families involved in push for marijuana policy change

League leadership evolves

– NFL offers to work with players’ union to study cannabis for pain
– NFL’s chief medical officer: medical marijuana research ‘really important’
– NFL commish Goodell says league ready to research medical marijuana
– Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Lift NFL ban on marijuana
– NFL commissioner calls marijuana ‘addictive’ and questions smoking risks