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NFL adds synthetic marijuana to its list of banned substances

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The NFL and NFL Players Association has added synthetic marijuana to the list of banned substances within its 2016 drug policy, according to a joint announcement by the league and union Wednesday.

Players and teams were informed in August of the change. The NFLPA made public the information Wednesday.

Per the policy, any player whose drug test reveals more than 2.5 ng/ML of synthetic cannabinoids will be in violation and subject to the normal course of intervention and potential discipline. It is one of nine drugs, including cocaine, PCP and traditional marijuana, that are part of the NFL’s standard drug testing panel. The policy is developed jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association.

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Synthetic marijuana, also known as “Spice,” “K2” or “Blaze,” is most commonly made by spraying chemicals on dried and shredded plant material. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it may affect the brain more powerfully and unpredictably than traditional marijuana.

The NFL has experienced at least one high-profile incident related to synthetic marijuana. In January, then-New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones behaved bizarrely, reportedly after using the drug. Police records obtained by ESPN showed he arrived at a Foxborough, Massachusetts, police station seeking help for a bad reaction. He was soon transported to a local hospital but returned to work at the Patriots’ facility the next day.

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