The stigma surrounding cannabis is falling away all over the world. Doctors, police and even politicians are coming around to the new reality. One field that has dragged its feet on the topic of marijuana is that of professional sports. Whether in football, baseball or track and field, athletes can still face stiff penalties if marijuana shows up on a drug test. New research is constantly reinforcing what we already know; that marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. So why are professional athletes still barred from partaking?
WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency is the organization that oversees drug testing for the Olympics, competition sports, and the UFC. Their description of marijuana starts out praiseworthy reading, “Cannabis can cause muscle relaxation and reduce pain during post-workout recovery. It can also decrease anxiety and tension, resulting in better sport performance under pressure.” Not two sentences later they seem to ignore the science and state, “A number of studies show that marijuana use may cause a variety of health risks. These risks include negative effects on respiratory, cardiac, and mental health..” They go on to say that cannabis use violates the spirit of sport, and represents negative values and ethics.
But does cannabis really act as a performance enhancer? When we think of typical performance enhancers, we usually first think of things like steroids. Steroids have profound effects on the physique and most certainly provides an edge over those who excel naturally. Can cannabis really be put in that category? Cannabis’ strengths for athletes are that it has the ability to relax muscles, soothe pain, and provide a focus otherwise difficult to maintain. For many athletes, cannabis can help maintain motivation, and give them a boost that helps them go that extra mile. For post-workout recovery, cannabinoids like CBD act as an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer. It can also induce a deep sleep, which helps foster faster healing.
It is no secret that many players in the NFL turn to cannabis in the off season, however, this year the NFL Players Association has been more vocal about the need for inclusion of cannabis under NFL rules. Currently, if a player tests positive they can face fines, suspension or worse. The Players Association put forth a proposal earlier this year to reduce penalties for players busted using pot, and also asked that it be legal for medicinal use under league rules. Recent comments from league commissioner Roger Goodell have stirred controversy, as he seemed to only rehash old myths and propaganda about the potential dangers of pot. Despite his skepticism, he indicated that he is open to looking at the subject further.
More and more athletes are turning to cannabis as a natural way to stay on top of their game and to heal at the end of a hard workout. The science is becoming clearer everyday. It’s only a matter of time before medical marijuana is accepted among the all of the world’s professional athletic organizations.
Davie is a long time cannabis professional who has worked not only as a cultivator but in all aspects of retail cannabis. From budtender, to wholesale and retail management, and from harvester to advanced hydroponic specialist, Davie has been around the block more than once. Now residing in beautiful British Columbia, Davie now works with acres of greenhouses, producing some of the best buds in the country.