NFL Pain Management Committee Issue Request for Information on CBD

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The NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee (PMC) works to establish uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medications by NFL players. As part of that mission, the NFL-NFLPA is working to improve player health through evidence-based treatment of acute and chronic pain, and to facilitate research to better understand and improve potential alternative treatments. To that end, the PMC has issued the following Request for Information (RFI) to researchers studying pain management alternatives to opioids.

Alternatives to Opioids: Effects on Pain and Performance


This is a request for information (“RFI”). It is not a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or studies (each, a “Study”), and there is no commitment to fund your or any other Study. The purpose of this notice is to identify investigators who have the current capability to carry out Studies aimed at supplementing the NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee’s (“PMC”) knowledge about pain management and athletic performance in NFL players. Possible areas of investigation include:

  1. The potential therapeutic role of medications and non-pharmacological interventions that are considered to be alternatives to opioids in routine pain management of NFL players. Medications may include, but are not limited to, cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (“CBD”).
  2. The impact of cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance in NFL players.
  3. The potential therapeutic role of medications and non-pharmacological interventions that are considered adjunctive to routine post-surgical orthopedic pain management in NFL football players.


The PMC was formed in 2019 as part of the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement with the goal of benefitting the health and safety of NFL players through education and research. The PMC has produced educational materials for players and team medical staffs that promote best clinical practices in pain management. The PMC is also interested in finding alternatives to opioids in the pain management of players, and in 2020 conducted two informational forums on CBD to learn about the current state of CBD science and manufacturing in North America. Now the PMC is turning its attention to identifying potential research opportunities aimed at supplementing the PMC’s knowledge about pain management and the potential effect(s) of pain on performance in NFL players.

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