NBA Playoffs, World Series, Super Bowl Sunday and March Madness—chances are you’re familiar with most of these sports terms, and for good reason. Sports are a pivotal part of the American lifestyle. So, while cannabis consumption continues to gain popularity across the “Land of the Free,” it’s unfortunate that most professional sports leagues are still hesitant to accept the plant’s medicinal value.
Cannabis serves as a substance for recreation, and it’s also a plant that provides us with wellness. Every day there are more and more individuals ditching dangerous substances like opioids and alcohol in favor of this greener and non-lethal alternative. However, many professional sports players are still prescribed dangerous and addictive opioids to deal with their sports-related injuries, while cannabis remains a banned substance in most American professional sports leagues. Brave heroes of pro sports, both active and retired, are coming forward to express the benefits they’ve received from cannabis.
Veteran National Football League (NFL) running back Mike James was the first player to request a “therapeutic use exemption” for cannabis in March. His story aired in a Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN series entitled “Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills.” James bravely shared how he depended on prescribed opioids to manage chronic pain following sports-related injuries, which led to numerous surgeries. He shared how he was able to discontinue his use of opioids in favor of medical cannabis, which ultimately provided him a safer alternative for pain relief. Unfortunately, the NFL leadership was not receptive to his powerful story, denying his request for an exemption in late April.
Despite the setbacks, many retired professional athletes continue to lead the charge in demanding sports leagues embrace the medicinal benefits of cannabis. CULTURE’s cover story this month focuses on none other than Lamar Odom, who didn’t hesitate to discuss how his new line of cannabis products can help others on their road to recovery, much like cannabis did for him years ago.
The connection between sports and cannabis is now stronger than ever. As cannabis continues to be an important topic on Capitol Hill and supported by pro athletes in all leagues, it will be interesting to see if sports leadership will finally embrace the medicinal benefits of cannabis, once and for all. Either way, we remain poised to continue fighting for our human right to consume this miraculous plant.