Can Marijuana Be Used to Help Athletes Overcome Pain?
Author: Robert Bell
There has been a lot of publicity in recent times about medicinal uses for cannabis. One part of this debate that deserves more attention is the way in which athletes use it for pain relief.
Is this really an effective approach, and should it be viewed as a genuine pain relief option by the governing bodies?
What Do Athletes Say?
Among the most out-spoken celebrities on this subject is retired boxer Mike Tyson. The former world heavyweight champion set up a 418-acre cannabis resort in California. He said that he uses weed to take away the pain caused by years of fighting and intense training regimes.
Cannabis use in sport also hit the headlines when Martellus Bennett stated that 89% of NFL players use cannabis. He pointed out that they use it as an alternative to drugs such as opioid painkillers. Bennett compared marijuana to man-made painkillers by saying that, “God made weed”.
Former NBA player Kenyon Martin put the number of basketball players consuming cannabis at 85%. When you watch the games, just imagine how many of the players in the big NBA games or NFL matchups use cannabis to relieve pain. It is sure to be at least some of them, according to what these stars have said.
Other sports stars who have either stated that they use cannabis or have been discovered using it are swimmer Michael Phelps, UFC fighter Conor McGregor, and former basketball player Al Harrington, who has opened a couple of cannabis businesses.
What Is the Scientific Outlook?
A lot research has been carried out into cannabis and its effects on the human body. It seems clears that CBD oil does have benefits in terms of alleviating pain. It has proven to be effective in treating conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain.
In the case of professional athletes, its main benefit seems to be in reducing inflation, as this one of the main sources of pain for them. There needs to be more research done to provide conclusive evidence. Yet, many athletes have spoken out about how cannabis helps them to overcome the aches and pains caused by their sporting careers.
As yet, there is little evidence to suggest that marijuana improves performance in any sport. Current studies suggest that it only really works to reduce pain, rather than to help them to reach higher levels of performance.
What Do the Sports Government Bodies Say?
Some athletes live in places where marijuana can be legally consumed, while others don’t. Just as important is the way that the governing bodies view their use of weed. It has proved to a controversial subject, with many sports moving very slowly in terms of changing their rules to allow its use.
For example, there has been some confusion over whether Olympic athletes can use cannabis. The latest information suggests that the World Anti-Doping Agency allows the use of cannabidiol, but not THC.
In UFC, fighters can’t use cannabis when they are in training for a fight, but there is no control over them when they aren’t getting ready to fight. This is why Nick Diaz got banned for using it but other fighters haven’t been punished.
In hockey, the NHL is widely regarded to be lenient on the use of cannabis. They only test a sample of their players during the regular season. If someone has a small amount of weed in their system, they won’t face any disciplinary action. Higher levels could lead to them being passed to a substance abuse program, though.
The NBA has a TCH threshold of 15 ng/ml, The NFL has an acceptable limit of 35 ng/ml. However, in recent times, the NFL has suspended more players for cannabis use than the NBA.
However, if in NBA and NFL the control is stricter, in baseball it seems like the league doesn’t care. According to baseball expert picks, the authorities within the sport seem to have realized that marijuana doesn’t enhance the performances throughout the game, the way that steroids do, and they don’t pose a threat to the athlete’s health. Therefore, they kind of make a blind eye on the athletes doing it on their leisure time.
Overall, cannabis as a way of helping athletes deal with pain is becoming more accepted. It seems likely that it continues to be something that grows in popularity, as common misconceptions and other barriers are broken down.