While uptight types might say that marijuana has no place in sports, the actual athletes playing them have a very different view. In fact, some athletes like Eugene Monroe and Ricky Williams have spent years advocating for cannabis as an openly accepted wellness supplement. While marijuana is still widely looked down on in sports, as seen in the Sha’Carri Richardson fiasco leading up to the last Olympics, the door is beginning to open for herb-lovers. The NBA has recently stopped testing players for cannabis, which allows an entire league to finally embrace a safe and legal drug.
What are the benefits of cannabis for an athlete? One of the main benefits is its use in treating sports injuries. Due to the intensity of their athleticism, elite athletes in every sport are injured after pushing their bodies to the absolute limit. Cannabis offers significant pain relief for acute injuries, such as torn ACLs, sprains, and even after surgery.
The treatment most often offered is opiates, which we know is unsafe for long-term use. Rather than prescribing highly addictive, harmful substances, more and more athletes and trainers are choosing to use cannabis as an effective painkiller. Its efficacy is the same whether it’s smoked or eaten, and it can be an essential tool for managing pain.
It isn’t just the injured athletes that use cannabis. For some, cannabis is a feature of their normal training regimen. When most people think of training, they may imagine running, jumping, and hitting the weight room, but recovery is an equally important part of the training process. You can run and lift all you want, but if you aren’t eating and sleeping appropriately, your progress will be limited. Using cannabis as part of a recovery routine has definite benefits.
Cannabis possesses well-documented anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. A little bit of herb can bring benefits similar to that of an ice bath and anti-inflammatory pills. However, unlike ibuprofen, cannabis can act near-instantaneously to offer relief for sore joints and muscles. And unlike ice baths, the effects of cannabis last longer and can be enjoyed anywhere, not just in the tub.
At the recent World’s Strongest Man competition, athletes were treated with cannabis ointments between events to aid in rapid recovery. These men were lifting a thousand pounds, getting rubbed down with cannabis, then going out and lifting a thousand pounds again. If that’s not a serious testament to the power of bud, what is?
While many athletes may enjoy a product with THC (because why wouldn’t they?), some prefer a non-psychoactive CBD product. This is especially common in situations like the World’s Strongest Man competition, where athletes need the benefits of cannabis but might not want the high affecting their performance. It seems to be purely a matter of preference.
Dr. David Berger told wfla.com back in July, “Performance anxiety and social anxiety, being in front of a crowd of 10,000 people, cannabis can lower people’s anxiety levels. That’s what people use Prozac for, that’s what people use Xanax for, legally.” The mental benefits of cannabis allow athletes to ignore their anxiety and focus on the competition. The study “Cannabis in Sport” published in the July of 2013 issue of Sports Medicine shows that the use of marijuana can also alleviate the effects of depression and tension during and after a competition.
The mental benefits of marijuana also carry over to training. While training is hard, smoking is easy. Like many stoners who like to hit a bowl before work, cleaning the house, or starting a project, athletes can use a quick smoke sesh to get into the right headspace before entering the gym. This allows the athletes to find the focus necessary to bang out those last few reps or run the same drill as many times as it takes to get it right. As a result, the consistency and time put into training will improve their performance more than they might be able to achieve otherwise.
While cannabis, unlike performance-enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids, may not improve athletic performance overnight or turn an athlete into a muscle-bound freak, the use of cannabis in sports can have a measurable impact on sports performance. The capacity for marijuana to aid in training, recovery, and acute pain treatment should not be discounted. Cannabis is not just a good time; it is and should be considered a medicine that can be part of a healthy, highly successful lifestyle. It’s time to make that lifestyle accessible to the athletes who can only benefit from its use.
If you’re looking for discreet one-hitters and portable vaporizers to help you keep your sports medicine on the DL, RYOT offers the highest quality products designed to keep your stashes safe. As a team of smokers making products for smokers, we know exactly what you need to take a hit and keep running. Check out all of our products from grinders to storage gear.