After obsessive research, Baltimore Ravens lineman Eugene Monroe is advocating for the NFL to take marijuana off the banned substance list.

BALTIMORE — Eugene Monroe made up his mind, his conviction steeled by obsessive research. He would advocate publicly for medical marijuana use in the NFL. He knew he would raise eyebrows inside a powerful, conservative institution. He understood it might jeopardize his career as a Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman.

And the first skeptic he faced was his wife, Nureya.

When Monroe first shared his self-appointed mission in December, Nureya was confused. She had understood marijuana as illegal and dangerous since childhood, and ever since they met at the University of Virginia, she’d known her husband as a heath-shake-chugging, gluten-free, dairy-free, pescatarian athlete who didn’t use marijuana.

“That conversation,” Nureya said, “was a lot of me rolling my eyes.”

But once Monroe described peer-reviewed studies and explained the benefits, she learned the difference between cannabis compounds. Her initial skepticism dissipated. “It definitely has allowed me to say, ‘Wow, this is something that can help people,’” Nureya said.

Monroe has moved to trying to win over the NFL, volunteering for a role nobody assigned him, a crusade born of his own principle. In May, he became the first active player to publicly call for the NFL and NFL Players Association to remove cannabis from their list of banned substances and permit medical marijuana to treat chronic pain inherent to professional football, which he believes — and some research attests — will reduce the league’s glaring reliance on addictive opioid pills. He wants the NFL to further study the potential for cannabis to prevent or treat concussions. He donated $80,000 to University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins researchers to further study marijuana use in professional football players.

Monroe’s outlook derives from both firsthand experience with concussions and pain-killing pills and watching how former teammates have suffered. Monroe, 29, is at the peak of his playing career, seven seasons behind him and two years into a five-year, $37.5 million contract. He realizes he plays in a league where players can be suspended entire seasons for testing positive for marijuana or tumble in the draft if their marijuana use is made public. His head coach, John Harbaugh, has said pointedly Monroe does not speak for the Ravens organization.