NFL Suspends Buffalo Bills Player for Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Crohn’s Pain

NFL Suspends Buffalo Bills Player for Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Crohn’s Pain
National Football League Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, has been suspended for using marijuana, a violation of the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The Bills reported Tuesday that it has been notified by the NFL office that Henderson is suspended for the team’s next 10 regular-season and/or postseason games. According to a report by NFL.com's Ian Rapport, Henderson, who received a four-game suspension for a similar violation earlier in the season, lives with the inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn's disease, and uses marijuana medically to address pain associated with the illness, for which he has had two intestinal surgeries. He unsuccessfully appealed the ruling on that ground. With 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia having passed laws permitting medical marijuana use, and eight more having legalized the sale and possession of cannabis for both medical and non-medical use, it is being suggested that the NFL needs to revisit its substance abuse policy as it pertains to the medical use of cannabis. Rapoport cited Henderson's agent, Brian Fettner, explaining after the first suspension: "There is zero allowable medical exemption for this per the NFL; however, there clearly should be." And while there is not a large body of peer-reviewed research on treating Crohn's and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease with cannabis, science appears to support Fettner's assertion. A widely cited clinical trial conducted by Timna Naftali, MD, et al, of the Meir Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2013, found that a short course (eight weeks) of THC-ric
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