Weed's remarkable ability to prevent damage from brain trauma, relieve pain, and de-stress everyone who touches it has the NFL reconsidering its stance on player's marijuana use. And you know what that means; we're getting high with Peyton…in our dreams.

Lately, everyone's been talking about how the Broncos and Seahawks, two teams from states with legalized weed, are playing in the Super Bowl this year. Is it any coincidence that both the teams are knee deep in the devil's grass and the NFL's most victorious athletes? Probably not.  As more and more evidence of weed's ability to diminish the effects of brain injuries, safely relieve pain, and reliably de-stress everyone who touches it comes out, it's looking like players in Colorado and Washington might not be the only ones torching up their volcano bongs this Super Bowl.

Let’s back up up a bit.

It's no secret that football isn't the best thing for your body. Do we really have to tell you that constantly slamming your face into other people's bodies can give you concussions and sub-concussions, killing tiny segments of your brain at a time, leading to emotional and physical issues down the road? Nah, we didn't think so. You so smart.

Football players, professional or amateur, also have the highest rate of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  That's brain degeneration found in people with a history of brain trauma and concussions, for you non brain surgeons. One of the most famous recent cases of CTE in an NFL player occured in 2011 when former all-pro defensive back Dave Duerson committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. Why such a potentially painful and inefficient method? He wanted to preserve his brain and ensure that it would be donated to a group researching the effect of football on chronic brain damage. An autopsy revealed that Duerson had severe CTE.

Last August, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with over 4,500 former players who sued the league for having “knowingly concealed a link between traumatic brain injury and professional football." But then, last week, the case was dismissed after a judge ruled that the settlement money would be insufficient for covering the cost of care, if that gives you an idea of the extent of damage to player's brains. So, what does this have to do with weed?

According to a Washington Post editorial from earlier this month, the NFL "should be especially interested in marijuana’s potential to diminish the long-term effects of brain injuries.” As an excerpt from that article states,

As it turns out, recent studies are starting to contradict the notion that marijuana kills brain cells. Last year, researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel gave low doses of THC, one of marijuana’s primary cannabinoids, to mice either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. They found that THC produced heightened amounts of chemicals in the brain that actually protected cells. Weeks later, the mice performed better on learning and memory tests, compared with a control group. The researchers concluded that THC could prevent long-term damage associated with brain injuries. Though preliminary, this is just one of many promising studies exploring marijuana’s benefits for the brain.

Furthermore, in his book Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease, researcher Clint Werner lets loose that the government holds US Patent 6630507, titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” and concludes that marijuana should be "as common in an NFL locker room as ice packs."

Okay, flash back to the present.

In light of these lawsuits and research, NFL commissioner Roger Godell has been seriously considering the league's policy on marijuana use by players. In a recent interview, he anticipated a time where when those in states with legal marijuana could use it in accordance with league rules. “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries,” he said, “but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine.” Translation? Whatever's best for the players.

On that note, it would be pretty good for the players if they had a non-addictive way to relieve pain and de-stress as well. Well, weed.  “[NFL] players have a legitimate and substantial claim to use medical marijuana," former Broncos receiver Nate Jackson recently told the Denver Post. "[Instead] teams pass out opioid painkillers, which are highly addictive.” It’s research like that that makes people like Godell considering making the NFL’s policy on player use more leninent.

So, whether that means they’re given delicous weed brownies before every game, or just not going to be penalized as harshly for using marijuana, it looks like we might not be the only ones going green (that's code for getting high) for what we like to call Super Bowl 420. Hail Peyton!