Life doesn’t stop being sweet after you retire from the NFL. You don’t have the thrill of pitting your mind and body against the best players in the world every Sunday, but you do get to talk on ESPN in a nice suit or maybe do Pepsi commercials. And that perfected body and mind you had are now full of scar tissue and concussions, but maybe you get to participate in a study of weed extracts which means hey, free weed.

Such is the fate for about 30 former pro ballers who will be in an upcoming medical study. The extracts analysis is a joint project between the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition (you’re smart enough to figure out what they’re about) and Constance Therapeutics, a concentrates outfit in California, as reported by The Denver Post.

The study will look at the effectiveness of treating football-related illnesses with a combination of cannabinoids, with an eye toward changing the NFL’s mind on allowing players to use medical marijuana, a relatively healthy alternative to prescription opioids. Straight CBD isn’t as much of a problem for current players, as it’s not even tested for by the league.

But this study will look at how other cannabinoids such as THC can make CBD work a whole lot better, “based on the understanding that whole-plant cannabis oils from the female cannabis plant (not hemp) are more effective than isolated compounds, such as CBD only,” as the study’s press release states. THC is essential for optimal benefit, the study hypothesizes, as the result of something called “The Entourage Effect.”

Many players hope the study’s conclusions will help the NFL develop a more progressive stance toward players’ cannabis use. “What I’d like to see them do is be much more lenient in terms of the penalties that are assessed on guys,” Chris Kluwe, a 9-year veteran of the NFL who’s participating in the study,, told the Post. “So instead of having someone like Josh Gordon — who gets suspended for an entire year — go, ‘OK, we’re going make resources available to you,’ but also look at it like maybe this guy really does need this to help him play this game. ‘How can we make it so that he’s still active and functional in his everyday life and able to play in the NFL as well?’”

Maybe the trial results will make it clear how much good a new drug policy could do the NFL players. Or maybe not, but at least some of them will get some free medication.

Photo via Flickr user marctasman