From Barry Bonds in the MLB to Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, every sport has had its fair share of doping and performance-enhancing scandals. The use of a variety of banned substances in many sports has been a hotly contested issue for a very long time, and one of the most contested topics is the use of hemp or cannabis by professional athletes.
Although the vast majority of people would agree that cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug as far as sports go, it's still banned in most professional associations, and yes, this currently still includes the NFL or National Football League. The NFL has recently relaxed its rules surrounding the use and testing for cannabis, although it is still technically not allowed for players to consume.
Today, we want to take a look at ten NFL players that smoke weed on a regular basis and have openly admitted to doing so. We'd also like to take a look at a few more players who got banned for consuming cannabis while being active NFL players. Let's take a look at some of the most notorious cannabis smoking football players out there.
- Cannabis is still technically a banned substance in the NFL, but the league policies surrounding it (specifically drug testing) have become much more relaxed.
- NFL players are only drug tested at the beginning of training camp, and no longer during the offseason or during the regular season. This, therefore, provides NFL players with plenty of opportunities to consume cannabis without risking failing a drug test.
- NFL players are however allowed to consume CBD so long as it does not contain more than 0.3% Delta- 9 THC, such as our own Botany Farms Mixed Variety CBD Gummies.
Can You Smoke Weed in the NFL?
Technically speaking, cannabis is still considered to be a banned substance in the National Football League. This means that players who test positive are subject to fines and other penalties. However, the NFL Players Association, just in 2021, changed testing requirements in favor of those who consume cannabis.
Before this date, NFL players were regularly tested during the summer off-season and during the regular season while games went on. However, this recently changed, and players are now only required to test for cannabis at the beginning of training camp, which only happens once per year.
This means that as long as players do not consume cannabis directly before this once-yearly test, they should be able to consume as much cannabis as they want without testing positive. Furthermore, players are now no longer subject to being suspended due to testing positive for cannabis. Even if they test positive, they will only be fined 3 weeks’ pay.
Furthermore, not only have the punishments become much lighter, but the threshold required to test positive has also been increased. Previously, only 35 nanograms of cannabis were enough to qualify as a positive test, with the threshold now being 150 nanograms.
Does Marijuana Affect Football Performance?
What is very interesting to note is that although cannabis is technically still a banned substance in the NFL, whether or not it actually affects football performance is questionable at best. More specifically, cannabis, especially THC, may have detrimental or negative effects on football performance.
This is especially the case if you are a regular smoker, as smoking is proven to be detrimental to lung health. Smoking has negative effects on both cardiovascular and lung health, which would obviously not be good for professional athletes.
Furthermore, THC is also considered to be a heavy sedative, which means that it makes you feel tired and groggy, which is likely the opposite of what you'd want to achieve if you're about to go play a football game in a professional league. Therefore, calling cannabis, particularly THC, a performance-enhancing drug on this front does not really seem to make much sense.
One might be able to argue that THC has the potential to help relieve some stress and anxiety and put you in a calmer state of mind, which may be beneficial for your mental state before a big game. However, in the grand scheme of things, THC is considered to be psychoactive and intoxicating, which would likely negatively affect your overall gameplay performance.
The debate here is actually more about CBD than THC because CBD may very well help athletes recover faster after a bout of physical exertion. It is believed that CBD has the potential to act as a painkiller by regulating the pain signals through the endocannabinoid system, while also relaxing muscles and alleviating muscle spasms and tension.
It is also thought to help reduce mild inflammation, which can in turn help prevent damage to healthy muscles in the surrounding area.
In this sense, CBD might not be a performance-enhancing drug in terms of making your muscles bigger or stronger, but it may help athletes recover faster after physical exercise. This would theoretically give athletes who take CBD regularly a slight advantage over those who do not, particularly as far as rest and recovery are concerned.
NFL Players That Smoke Weed
Let's take a quick look at ten of the most notorious cannabis smokers in the NFL.
Randy Gregory most notably played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2015 to 2021 as an outside linebacker. Just in 2021, he passed multiple drug tests as he joined the Denver Broncos, although he was suspended multiple times for cannabis use before that point.
As Randy Gregory sat at a table at an ice cream shop in California where cannabis is legal, he was quoted as saying “I think I'm known for being a pothead.”
He once also claimed that he tested positive for cannabis in March of 2015 even though he hadn't smoked since December because of how much cannabis he smoked, the THC still was in his system at that time. Although, this admittedly seems a bit unlikely, as one would have to consume a whole lot of cannabis for it to stay in your system for that long.
Josh Gordon spent many years playing in the NFL and still does, but in all of the years he spent playing football, he has had almost as many suspensions as years playing on active rosters. Over the years, he has played for the Seattle Seahawks, the New England Patriots, the Cleveland Browns, and most recently in 2022, Josh Gordon signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Interestingly enough, he's been suspended a total of 6 times for the use of cannabis in the NFL. Even though cannabis is technically a banned substance in the NFL, Josh Gordon claims that he was either high or still had cannabis in his system for every single game he has ever played in his career. Josh Gordon has also been quoted saying that he used to sell cannabis to feed himself.
Shaun Smith used to be a very prolific NFL player, having played with a variety of teams, including the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, and Cincinnati Bengals. He is currently a retired player, a former defensive lineman.
He was once quoted as saying that “I smoked two blunts before every game” and that he was high and had smoked weed before every single game throughout his nine seasons in the NFL.
Smith was also quoted saying the following, “Shoot, the coaches do it. Personnel people upstairs do it. Quarterbacks that do it. Guys that are your captains, your leaders of the team that smoke. . . . Everybody has their reason, they are using it for their pain. We’re all big guys and our body hurts.”
Darren Waller currently plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, which he signed with in 2018, and he also claims to have been sober since this time. Although, when he was first drafted to the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, he received a variety of suspensions for various failed drug tests, including, but not limited to, cannabis.
Darren Waller is often referred to as a huge success story for players in the NFL who used to smoke weed, as he overcame his addiction that started in his early teenage years. Indeed, Darren Waller is a true success story, as he used to be addicted to pills, alcohol, cocaine, and virtually everything in between.
Laremy Tunsil what's perhaps most famous for a 30-second video that surfaced of him smoking cannabis using a gas mask, something most regular stoners would applaud him for.
The video took place in 2014 and was not leaked until 2016, but he was then still promptly signed to the Miami Dolphins as a prominent offensive tackle, and the decision was unanimous.
He was considered to be a good kid and a fantastic player, not to mention that he didn't fail a single cannabis or drug test in his college career. Now, Tunsil is best known for being a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, and he currently plays for the Houston Texans.
Randy Moss, often considered to be one of the all-time greats in the NFL, has openly admitted multiple times to smoking cannabis and using cannabis all throughout his NFL career, which started in 1998.
This world-class NFL player caught 982 passes for 156 touchdowns and 15,292 yards while smoking cannabis the whole time.
For anybody who says that cannabis negatively affects football performance, they should just ask Randy Moss, a current NFL Hall of Famer.
Interestingly enough, even though he claims to have used cannabis for the duration of his career, he only tested positive for cannabis once, in 2001. He was placed in a substance abuse program, but he was never suspended or fined.
Ricky Williams is another superstar NFL player who has played for the likes of the Baltimore Ravens, the Miami Dolphins, and the New Orleans Saints. He has since retired from the sport but still causes controversies, such as in 2018.
Ricky Williams decided to host a Super Bowl party where he supplied virtually unlimited quantities of cannabis to all of his guests.
Throughout his NFL 10 year, he was suspended a total of five times for smoking cannabis and managed to miss a full two seasons due to his suspensions. He's always been an advocate for cannabis and has even founded his own lifestyle brand, Highsman, Which is undoubtedly a wordplay on the Heisman Trophy
CALVIN JOHNSON JR.
Although Johnson only played in the NFL for nine seasons, he was so dominant throughout his career that he still managed to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Calvin Johnson Junior openly admitted to using weed during his NFL tenure and throughout college, claiming that he smoked weed after every NFL game he played.
He also claims that his use of cannabis throughout his NFL career served as the inspiration for his cannabis brand, Primitiv, which is well known for selling cannabis flour, THC edibles, and concentrated THC wax.
Percy Harvin is often regarded as being one of the all-time great NFL wide receivers, and he thinks that it might just be thanks to his cannabis use. Percy Harvin claimed that he suffered from severe anxiety, most likely an anxiety disorder, which most drugs just couldn't help with. This Live Resin CBD + THC Tincture is something that could have probably helped him out!
He took a lot of drugs to try and help his anxiety, and he claims that cannabis was the only one that actually managed to help, which leads to this quote, “There’s not a game I played in that I wasn’t high.”
Even though he seems to have been stoned for his NFL tenure, he still managed to win a Super Bowl in 2014 with the Seattle Seahawks and was even named Rookie of the Year in 2009. According to Percy Harvin himself, during the years when he played with Seattle and won the Super Bowl was when his anxiety was at its worst and his cannabis use was at the heaviest.
Martavis Bryant had the opportunity to be an all time great player in the NFL, particularly when he was first drafted in 2014 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the very next year, in 2015, he failed his first drug test and missed the first four games of the season.
He then tested positive once again in 2016, at which point the NFL suspended him for the entire season. He shortly played for the Oakland Raiders in 2018, but failed the drug test once again, and was placed on an indefinite ban.
He applied to be reinstated in the NFL in 2019, but this failed. Due to this, Martavis Bryant signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL or Canadian Football League. Thanks to living in Canada, Bryant can now play some of the best weed smoking games around!
Famous Players Suspended for Smoking Marijuana
Now that we've taken a look at some of the most infamous NFL players who've smoked cannabis, let's take a quick look at those who were handed suspensions for doing so.
Dallas Cowboys Edge, Randy Gregory
According to Randy Gregory himself, who has spent over 12 months in seven different rehabilitation clinics over four years, claims that he failed over 100 NFL drug tests.
Las Vegas Raiders TE, Darren Waller
Throughout his football career, Darren Waller was suspended by Georgia Tech for violating cannabis use policies, and also failed multiple drug tests in the NFL, at which point he was banned for a full year. Interestingly enough, his attempt to cheat drug tests by swapping out urine samples did not seem to be very successful.
Miami Dolphins RB, Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams may have been a star player, but after his third failed drug test for cannabis use, he promptly retired from the NFL in 2004. He claims to have been drug tested at least 500 times during his eleven years in the NFL, and surprisingly only failed three of them.
Cleveland Browns WR, Josh Gordon
At this point, Josh Gordon has failed drug testing in the NFL a total of five times and has been handed various suspensions throughout his career.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR, Martavis Bryant
Martavis Bryant was suspended from the NFL so many times that his most recent suspension was labeled as indefinite, and he still hasn't been reinstated. However, the CFL or Canadian Football League doesn't seem to have a problem with them, which is why he's been playing for the Toronto Argonauts since January of 2021.
Whether or not cannabis may be a beneficial substance to football players, something that can aid in their performance and recovery, is still somewhat questionable. However, either way, even though the NFL has relaxed its stance on this substance, it is still technically banned. Keep reading here to find out if cannabis can enhance sex.
Cannabis in Football: Frequently Asked Questions
Before we call it a day, let's quickly answer some of your most pressing questions about the use of cannabis in the NFL.
Can NFL players use CBD?
Yes, NFL players at this time are allowed to consume CBD products that are tested and have been certified as containing less than 0.3% THC. Whether you’re an NFL player or not, our Botany Farms Mixed Variety Delta-9 THC Microdose Gummies might be just what you need.
Are NFL players drug tested in the off-season?
No, as of 2021, NFL players are no longer drug tested during the offseason.
Are all NFL players drug tested?
Yes, all NFL players are required to undergo drug testing at the beginning of the training camp season.