Earlier this week, the NFL announced their willingness to participate in the NFL Player's Assocation's study of the benefits of medical marijuana. This signaled a positive shift in opinion for the historically anti-pot league. And recent comments by the NFL's chief medical officer indicates that the league's marijuana positions will change in the near future.

Dr. Allen Sills recently gave an interview with The Washington Post in which he discussed the possible benefits of medical marijuana. 

“I think we have a lot more to learn about that,” Sills said. “Certainly the research about marijuana and really more particularly cannabinoid compounds as they may relate to the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, that is an area of research that we need a lot more information on and we need to further develop."

He also added, “I think that’s part of what we hope to accomplish together working together with the Players Association. I think this is really important because I like to talk about that our approach to caring for players is really holistic. We want to talk about health and safety issues that affect the whole player experience. And certainly pain management is a big part of that.”

Sure, that isn't a 100 percent endorsement of medical marijuana, but it does represent a dramatic departure from other comments from league officials. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called marijuana "addictive and unhealthy" in a recent interview, but did say it was worth studying. 

At the very least, major officials in the NFL are recognizing that marijuana could provide positive benefits to players and acknowledging that previous opinions on the drug  may be wrong. And as marijuana becomes more popular nationally, the league may have to abandon its position once and for all.