Seantrel Henderson is an offensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). The NFL suspended Seantrel for 10 games during Week 12 of last season due to a failed drug test. Seantrel Henderson was using medical cannabis to treat pain related to Crohn’s disease and two intestinal surgeries, and as a result, tested positive for THC metabolites. The NFL cannabis testing threshold is 35 ng/mL, which is over four times as stringent as the standard that Olympic athletes are held to (150 ng/mL).
Pharmaceutical painkillers are not an option for Mr. Henderson because of his multiple intestinal surgeries. Cannabis seems to be the only thing that works. Yet, despite the clear medical need for consuming cannabis, Seantrel Henderson was suspended for 10 games. The NFL’s drug testing policy provides for zero exceptions for cannabis use, even when the use occurs in a state where it’s legal, and even when the player has been recommended cannabis by a medical doctor. Seantrel previously served a four game suspension for the same reason (cannabis use).
Fortunately for Seantrel Henderson, he has been reinstated by the Buffalo Bills after having served his suspension, effective earlier today. Per Buffalo Rumblings:
The Buffalo Billshave activated offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who was eligible to return to the Bills today having now completed his 10-game suspension that dates back to last season. The Bills had a deadline of 4 p.m. Eastern to make the decision regarding Henderson.
According to the previously cited Buffalo Rumblings article, Henderson stated that he hasn’t had any issues with Crohn’s disease’s recently, which is a great thing. However, it begs the question, ‘what happens if/when Henderson experiences pain from his disease?’ Seantrel Henderson will be faced with the choice of consuming cannabis for relief and then face likely disciplinary action, or go without his medicine and (needlessly) endure significant pain, or step away from the job and sport that he obviously loves. All of those options are unacceptable.
Regardless if Seantrel’s condition flares up or not, what is happening to him is inhumane. No one should be required to go without a proven medicine, especially when the motivation preventing the medicine’s use is based on political beliefs, not science. The NFL’s cannabis policy is harmful. Seantrel Henderson’s case is an unfortunate example of that. Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol, yet players are prohibited from using cannabis while the NFL simultaneously embraces alcohol. That is extremely hypocritical. The NFL needs to have some compassion for its players and fix its failed, harmful cannabis policy.
The Uncle Cliffy team, which is comprised of some of the biggest Buffalo Bills fans on this planet, wants to congratulate Seantrel Henderson on getting back on the field. Clearly he never should have been taken off the field in the first place. Hopefully he can put this matter behind him as much as possible, which will be difficult given his medical need for cannabis. The Uncle Cliffy team will continue to call on the NFL to end cannabis prohibition and let players make the safer choice until all players like Seantrel Henderson can consume cannabis without repercussions. Good luck Seantrel, go Bills!
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