Richard Lowe, Managing Editor of had a chance to chat with Mike James, who is a major advocate of cannabis and it’s use for treating pain. Mike was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is currently fighting his way back into the league.

Most players in the NFL would not think to ask the league for permission to freely smoke weed, but that’s exactly what Michael James opted to do this off season. James applied for a temporary use exception from the NFL, which would allow him to use cannabis to help manage his pain.

James suffers from chronic pain and marijuana is the only remedy that has provided relief without negative side effects. James was injured early in his rookie season and was provided opioids to manage his pain. The pills did help with the pain, but James became addicted to the pills over the course of his recovery. The player’s wife recognized that he had a problem and suggested marijuana as an alternative.

While James was hesitant to try weed for pain management due to social stigma and being aware of the league policy regarding the plant, he wanted to feel better and kick the habit of opioids so he took a chance. Marijuana provided the pain relief James was looking for along with relief from the addiction that had began to impact his life.

In March of 2018 the NFL denied Michael James’ application for a temporary use exception citing marijuana is banned substance and a disagreement between the league’s medical officials and James’ doctors as it relates to cannabis being essential to his treatment.

At this stage in the process James and the NFLPA will not discuss any appeals or what other options are available to the player at this time. Michael James is looking for an opportunity to continue his career in the NFL, but acknowledges for him, the only safe way to do this is with the aid of cannabis.

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