36 states in the US have legalized medical cannabis, and 18 have gone on to legalize recreational use. Despite all the progress that the US cannabis industry has made over the past several years, athletes are still sometimes looked down upon for consumption. The popular case of Sha’ Carri Richardson – a professional Olympian – is exhibit-A.
Richardson was banned from participating in the most recent Olympics despite having the aptitude for it. She consumed cannabis to cope with the demise of her mother just before the tournament but had to face a ban since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) still considers cannabis as an illicit drug that may enhance the athlete’s performance. Several studies have already proven that cannabis does not, in any way, affect the user’s performance.
On the brighter side, WADA is currently looking into the cannabis’ progress, and has called for a study of their own. If the results come out in favour of advocates, the US might lift the ban on cannabis, revolutionizing the sports industry.
If this happens, it will enable athletes to consume cannabis and benefit from its therapeutic effects. In this article, we will discuss if cannabis would help athletes recover after intense matches and if pro athletes would consider consuming cannabis in the first place.
Studies Back the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis
There have been countless studies to date that prove cannabis to be helpful in its ability to provide therapeutic effects to the body. These benefits of cannabis are mainly associated with cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in abundance in hemp-based cannabis plants.
The therapeutic benefits offered by CBD include relief from pain and inflammation, treating epilepsy patients, reduction in PTSD symptoms, reducing depression and anxiety, among several others. CBD has also been associated with a boost in mental energy (this is not to be confused with amplifying a person’s physical abilities).
How Will Cannabis Help Pro Athletes?
Cannabis, or specifically CBD, is beneficial for all users, but it can significantly help certain professional athletes a lot more in their career. It needs to be noted here that studies are yet to find an association between cannabis and performance enhancement. Until proven otherwise, the compound is perfect for consumption for pro athletes, enabling them to enjoy the following benefits.
Sports and psychology have always gone hand-in-hand with each other. A former NBA player, and a strong cannabis advocate – Al Harrington, said in an interview that almost 80% of the players during his time were consuming cannabis in one way or the other, not because it uplifted their performance, but because it enabled them to focus better and get their heads in the game.
Harrington himself used CBD as a pain-relief medication and actually benefited from it. He also admitted that consuming cannabis allowed his mind to “deal with a lot of stuff mentally,” consequently enabling him to perform better.
Several athletes have to deal with pain injuries multiple times during a single season, and cannabis experts and advocates believe that consuming CBD could certainly become a viable solution for that. However, of course, everything requires balance, and if WADA legalizes the consumption, then maybe sports authorities would construct effective ways to streamline consumption that keeps athletes from potential issues like overdosing.
MLB Allows Cannabis Use
Major League Baseball in the US has already removed cannabis from its list of banned substances in pursuit of regulating the use and enabling players to be in their right frame of mind physically and mentally while going out on the pitch.
The NFL has followed suit, stating that athletes found positive for cannabis will not be suspended. The league also has limited cannabis testing to once a year; however, reforms still need to be made to streamline players’ consumption habits in the NFL.
Beneficial for Pro Athletes
Consumption of CBD and THC compounds has always been popular among athletes as it helps them treat common sporting issues like inflammation, pain, soreness, muscle spasms, and many others. Although its use is highly recommended, we urge you to ensure that your league allows cannabis consumption and is willing to overlook potential use – in a case otherwise, you may jeopardize your career.
Best Strains for Pro Athletes
If you’re an athlete and looking forward to clearing your mind and being ready for the toughest games on the pitch, here are some cannabis strains that may help.
Lemon OG Haze
Lemon OG Haze is a Sativa strain that contains 82.42% THC that will provide significant psychoactive effects. This product by Select is carefully harvested with live resin terpenes that contribute to the strain’s unique aroma.
Another popular cannabis strain among athletes is the Sour Diesel. Its 1g cartridge by Church Cannabis Company contains 81.64% THC and 26.46% CBD, which combine to provide you a decent psychoactive high along with all the therapeutic benefits of the plant. The presence of CBD (35.54mg/g) further amplifies the therapeutic effects of this strain.
Athletes enjoy OG Kush because of its 80.39% THC content that provides athletes with a decent buzz that helps them get rid of mental blocks before and after games. The OG Kush pod by Stiizy injects 1.35% CBD into the strain that helps athletes recover from inflammation and pain.
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