Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski hinted that he may un-retire and return to the NFL if the league legalizes the use of CBD, The Boston Herald reports. CBD is derived from the same plant that produces marijuana and violates the NFL's drug policy.
Speaking this week to the Herald's Stefan Geller, "Gronk," as he's affectionately called, noted that it's possible for just about anyone in the country to walk into any pharmacy and walk out with CDB, but if an NFL player used it, he'd be punished.
"I don't want to be banned from playing the sport I love because I'm using a product that anyone can buy right off the shelf at their local pharmacy," he said.
CBD, or as it's officially known, cannabidiol, is one of several chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant. Another compound derived from the plant is THC, or "marijuana" as it's more commonly called, and produces a "high" in the users. Cannabidiol does not, according to Today.
Users of the product say that it can relieve inflammation and joint pain, such as what a professional athlete might suffer. Further, some believe that it can help with anxiety or even epilepsy. However, the medical research does not support these claims, largely because there hasn't been much.
Meanwhile, the legal status of CBD is murky. In states where marijuana is legal, whether for recreational use or medical use, CBD is legal by default, though it -- like marijuana proper -- is illegal as a matter of federal law. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, CBD is technically illegal, although as a practical matter, it's sold openly just about everywhere.
Legal status aside, CBD is definitely forbidden by the NFL players' contract, and so Gronk wouldn't be able to use it if he returned to the game.
"I also want to have the option to get back into the game, and if I'm banned next year I can't [if I use CBD]," Gronk said.
At this point it bears noting that whether or not Gronkowski is suggesting that he will return to the league if it un-bans CBD, or if he is simply calling on the league to un-ban it for other players, is unclear.
Rob Gronkowski is not the only former NFL player to tout the benefits of medicine derived from cannabis. As reported in 2016 by The Chicago Tribune, former Chicago Bear Jim McMahon said that he's been using medical marijuana to relieve the pain he endures from his years playing football.