Professional athletes, the healthiest people on the planet, would like weed to be a part of their training regimen. The leagues in which they play are slow to get with the program, but they’re coming around.
“The older you get, the more pain and aches start to mount up.”
So says a guy who ought to know about aches and pains, former NFL running back Reuben Droughns, who spent eight seasons on the gridiron taking, and giving, a pummeling with his body. Droughns, like many of his peers, consumed weed during his playing days, and today he consumes it in retirement. “You look for more ways to relieve that pain, whether it’s in cannabis, CBD or just trying to find a way other than traditional medicines,” he says.
Athletes from every major sport are indeed using cannabis—both THC and CBD—to treat pain, relieve stress, recover from injuries and sometimes just to kick back and relax, like the rest of us. Because of weed’s many medical applications, and because of its growing widespread acceptance, both socially and legally, and because pro athletes usually work and play in cities where it’s not only easy but also quite legal to purchase the stuff, you’d think that athletes and marijuana are a perfect match. But not quite yet.
“I think it comes down to this—we are elite athletes and as long as it’s not performance-enhancing or illegal, we know what’s best for our own bodies.” So said an anonymous professional athlete—a hockey player—speaking to ESPN earlier this year. He continued: “I find that a couple hits of weed at night is good for me. It’s legal, it’s natural, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
The player explained that after a night of highly pressurized, physical play, he needs something to soften the blows of his job. So he’ll hit the vape pen a wee bit to relax. “Honestly, it’s the easiest and most natural way for me to fall asleep and be ready for the next day,” he said.
However, as cannabis enters the mainstream as a safe and legal part of millions of lives, professional sports have not only been slow to get with the program, but downright reactionary. All over the world, professional and amateur athletic organizations continue to include demon weed on their lists of banned substances. Such is the case with the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football