The BIG3 basketball league is the first professional sports league in the United States that will permit its athletes to use cannabidiol (CBD) for pain treatment.
Jeff Kwatinetz, who co-founded the league and serves as co-CEO, announced the rule change in a statement released Wednesday, via ESPN.com's Ian Begley:
"The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners not property. As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health."
Per WebMD, cannabidiol is a chemical found in marijuana that people will take to treat ailments ranging from muscle problems to anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in August 2017 he's "very interested" in the science behind medical marijuana and would be "open" to his players using it to help recover from physical ailments if there was a way for the league to regulate it.
Former NFL players Ebenezer Ekuban and Eugene Monroe told Rick Maese of the Washington Post in May 2017 they manage the pain from their playing days with medical marijuana.
The NFL told the NFL Players Association in July 2017 it would be willing to work with the union to study the potential benefits of permitting the use of medical marijuana.
Under current NFL and NBA rules, players are subject to multi-game suspensions if they fail drug tests for marijuana.