Eugene Monroe Donates $80K for Medical Marijuana Research for NFL Players

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2016

Baltimore Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe (60) runs onto the field before an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe donated $80,000 toward research by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania into how cannabinoid therapy affects NFL players, per Clifton Brown of CSN Mid-Atlantic.

The Realm of Caring and CW Botanicals released a joint statement explaining Monroe's thought process behind the donation Thursday, per Brown:

He recognizes the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and fully supports this research that could help professional and amateur athletes as well as anyone suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Eugene hopes that his actions will influence the NFL in changing their policy on cannabis and recognize it as a viable treatment option.

Monroe tweeted about the issue in March:

Eugene Monroe @MrEugeneMonroe

Let's research how cannabinoids may help curb traumatic brain injury

Eugene Monroe @MrEugeneMonroe

I'm not here advocating smoking weed for recreational purposes. However, smoking weed just may protect your brain

He also spoke to the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala about his frustration with the NFL's policies regarding marijuana:

It's hard to read how beneficial CBD is and not be able to take it, knowing that all of the symptoms that I'm experiencing as an athlete could potentially, or will be, remedied because it's happened over and over again for people all over our country. There's no reason for the NFL or other sports to test their players and punish them for consuming a substance that is benefiting them.

Jhabvala also spoke to former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, who helped create the When the Bright Lights Fade campaign in conjunction with the Realm of Caring, an organization that looks into the benefits of cannabis for therapeutic purposes:

On April 29, the Realm of Caring posted on Facebook about Monroe's support of the organization's aims:

Marijuana remains a banned substance in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will miss the 2016 season after violating the league's substance-abuse policy. In March, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Bryant may not have tested positive for marijuana, but Brian Fettner, one of the Steelers wideout's agents, admitted his client has a problem with the drug, per USA Today's Tom Pelissero.

Laremy Tunsil also fell in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft after a video of the offensive tackle smoking out of a bong was released shortly before the draft began. Thought to be the best offensive tackle in the draft, Tunsil instead slipped to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13 and was the third OT selected.