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Lifestyle, Politics, Research

Athletes Are Speaking Up About Their Cannabis Use

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

December 29, 2020 11:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Athletes Are Speaking Up About Their Cannabis Use

Cannabis consumption among athletes has always been a big ‘no-no; when it comes to professional sports. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, Nascar, boxing, swimming, cycling, snowboarding, and many other forms of sports have all had a zero-tolerance policy towards cannabis consumption. If an athlete were to test positive for cannabis, they could be kicked off of a team, lose sponsorships, or even have titles taken away from them.

Leading Athletes Who Risked it All by Consuming Cannabis

Michael Phelps was a competitive swimmer who won 28 medals, landing him the title of “most decorated Olympian of all time.” You might remember Michael Phelps had a deal with Kellogg’s where he appeared on some of their cereal boxes. The swimmer later lost that sponsorship from Kellogg’s as well as suffered many other repercussions when a picture of him consuming cannabis circulated throughout the internet.

Tito Ortiz, the legendary MMA fighter was banned from the MMA for five years because of his love for cannabis. Many athletes spoke out in support of him, such as Ronda Rousey and others. But today, times are a little bit different.

Times are Changing and Athletes are Speaking Up

Fighters such as Elias Theroduro, aka the “Spartan” aka the “Mane Event” who fights openly in the Canadian MMA circuit was the first-ever MMA professional to receive a TUE (therapeutic use exemption), allowing him to continue his physicians recommended cannabis regimen while still participating actively in MMA.

Recently Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr met in an exhibition match. Big names attended this event and performed there alike. Before this exhibition fight with Roy Jones, Jr., Mike Tyson openly admitted to consuming cannabis. Tyson told the media that he consumed right before the fight saying, “It’s just who I am.” Apparently, whatever cannabis products he smoked didn’t appear to have a negative impact on this athlete’s abilities.

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Many athletes today find cannabis to be extremely beneficial to them, whether it’s in the form of CBD, THC, or both. Athletes of many different styles have incorporated cannabinoid therapies into their workout regimens for years. Consuming cannabis before and after a workout may help improve the benefits they provide, according to many professional athletes. Two of the things that cannabis is notorious for helping are pain and inflammation.

The Benefit of Cannabinoid Therapies for Athletes

During intense workouts, the body is pushed to its limits. This stress on the body can cause inflammation and pain. If this inflammation and pain could be treated utilizing cannabis before and after a workout, in theory, it would make the workout more effective due to less recovery time. This also means that the muscles that were worked out would receive more benefits from the routine because they were not stressed as hard.

Today’s athletes are given a plethora of drugs from the pharmaceutical industry that comes with devastating side effects. Just start poking around and asking NFL players about what kind of drugs they see on the sideline and in the locker room. Needles filled with oxycontin and bottles of prescription pills such as Percocet, Vicodin, and others have become the norm. Many of these players would prefer the option of utilizing cannabinoid therapies versus prescription drugs. Hopefully, within a few short years, athletes across the nation and around the world will no longer have to worry about cannabis consumption having repercussions that could damage their career. Professional athletes are some of the healthiest people on the planet. They know their bodies better than many of us do.

Hopefully, 2021 is the Dawning of a New Age

Professional athlete associations across the nation should revise rules and regulations that block cannabis consumption. It’s time to update these outdated and draconian viewpoints to catch up with modern times. Science is beginning to show a clear picture of the benefits cannabinoid therapies play in the human body. For those individuals who push their bodies to the limits, their only option for pain management shouldn’t have to be pharmaceutical prescription drugs. With cannabis legalization gaining more ground in our nation than ever before in the past, many athletes are coming forward to express their support of cannabinoid therapies being used and allowed in sports.

Skateboarder JS Lapierre, Ultramarathoner Avery Collins, former NBA All-Star player Cliff Robinson, former MMA fighter Frank Shamrock, elite cyclist Andrew Talansky, and former professional hockey player and coach Riley Cote are among some of the current advocates for the use of cannabis in sports.

In 2021, there is much hope that the United States federal government will remove cannabis from the outdated Controlled Substance Act. This could signify a huge change for professional sports making cannabis consumption no longer an issue. The NBA has revisited their policy on cannabis, following similar actions by the MLB last year. It will soon be time to do it again if and when the entire US catches up with its neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico who both have already taken steps to nationally reform their cannabis laws.

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