Mike James, currently a free agent, made history when he asked last month the NFL for a therapeutic-use exemption on marijuana to mitigate his pain.
But his hopes were dashed when the NFL snubbed his request, New Jersey reported on Tuesday
James made his story public in an exclusive interview, which was part of a CNN documentary on marijuana.
James is now “hopeful” that he could continue to play football, a game that he “loves very dearly.”
“I know right now I’m doing something that makes some people uncomfortable, and that I’m going against the establishment to push for a change in the way they look at this medicine,” he said in a phone conversation this week.
“I know there’s a greater purpose here for a lot of guys in this league who I consider family members.”
In the CNN documentary, Jame said he was prescribed opioid painkillers in 2013 after injuring his left ankle in a Monday night football game.
Like many others, James within weeks became dependant on the drugs.
But after using marijuana to medicate his pain was relieved.
The journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence published a study in 2011, revealing that more than 52 percent of former NFL players reported using opioids during their career, and 71 percent of those players reported misusing opioids.