It is a hot topic all throughout the sports community, but it is time to allow athletes to use marijuana in states where it is legal.
Bumps and bruises all across the body after playing for more than two hours can take a toll on an athlete. Whether they wake up to muscle aches or being sore, the only way athletes can treat this pain is to take some ibuprofen or to rest. The problem with trying to get rest is once the game is over, practice starts right back up in preparation for the next game. The use of marijuana can take away these factors and relieve the stress for athletes that work their tail off in their sport.
According to an interview published by Bleacher Report, an estimated 85 percent of the National Basketball Association use marijuana and about 89 percent of the National Football League (NFL). Some retired professional players have gone on to say how much marijuana they used before and after games, which would help them with their recovery process. Most athletes don’t use marijuana for the pleasure of being under the influence, but more to ease the pain that they feel from practice or games.
Although marijuana is legal in many states that have professional teams like Colorado, California and now Michigan, it is still “illegal” and against the rules for players to use the drug and, if caught, they could get suspended. Although it was illegal in the state he was in, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon used marijuana and was suspended from 2014 to 2016 for failing drug tests. Despite using marijuana throughout his career, it did not slow him down or ruin his numbers that he produced.
Allowing marijuana also would limit painkiller and opioid abuse, which happens all throughout the professional sports. According to a lawsuit led by former NFL players, in the calendar year of 2012, court filings showed that the average team prescribed nearly 5,777 doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to their players throughout the season, which can result in painkiller addiction.
On the contrary, it might not necessarily be fair for athletes in states where marijuana is not legal, which could give players an “advantage” when it comes to recovery time. Another instance where this could be harmful is that there are many professional athletes who many kids look up to and if they openly talk about marijuana, it could be instilled in the youth’s mind that you have to use marijuana to be a professional athlete.
A study done by Mark Ware, MD, assistant professor of anesthesia and family medicine at McGill University in Montreal (Quebec, Canada), found that marijuana relieves chronic pain. Whereas chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks, most seasons go well beyond that time frame, as athletes can attest to have played throughout the season with an injury for the betterment of their team or their contract.
Marijuana is proven to help with pain that most professional athletes suffer from, it is just a matter of time before we see a change in the rules.