It’s become increasingly clear over the past decade that NFL players are at very high risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy. For many people familiar with the research that has been done to date, there’s not much question that this risk is real. That’s why the evidence in a new study published on Tuesday is at least confirmatory if not conclusive. Now there’s not much doubt that NFL players who spend any time in the game are likely to develop brain damage.

That’s a risk that everyone’s talking about, as they should be. But there’s another aspect of the story that hasn’t received much attention. At least, not yet. and that’s the link between brain health and medical marijuana.

First, let’s summarize the most recent evidence linking professional football with brain damage. That study started in 2008, when a group of researchers created a brain bank to store the brains of NFL players and others. The overarching goal of that project was to define the effect that trauma has on the brain, and the bank included the brains of NFL players and military veterans. The study that was published on Tuesday described the pathology results of 202 former football players. Half of them were younger than 66 years old, and on average had played football for 15 years.

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