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Why More Athletes Are Turning to Cannabis

Why More Athletes Are Turning to Cannabis

One substance that nearly always goes unnoticed in the fight against performance-enhancing drug usage in sports is cannabis. 

However, Josiah Hesse claims in his recently published book "Runner's High" (G.P. Putnam's Sons) that professional sports frequently employ it. 


Cannabis in Professional Athletes

According to Kenyon Martin, a former basketball player for the Denver Nuggets, 85% of NBA players consume cannabis. Riley Cote, the former enforcer for the Philadelphia Flyers, says that at least half the NHL players follow suit. 

According to former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett, about 90% of professional football players use cannabis, primarily to manage pain, rather than experimenting with opiates, which can have dangerous side effects and cause addiction. Cannabis use looks to be at an all-time high in the NFL. 

Before declaring his retirement in March 2019, Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving smoked a joint and claimed on Instagram, "Every game you saw me in, I was medicated." 

In a 2019 interview with Bleacher Report, Cowboys defensive lineman Shaun Smith acknowledged, "I smoked two blunts before every game." "I can concentrate better and complete my work when I smoke. It seems like no one can stop me when I'm out in public. For me, it's the best thing. 


Athletic Benefits of Cannabis

Discomfort relief isn't the main motivation. Percy Harvin, a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, claimed that he used marijuana before to every game in order to manage his nervousness related to performing in front of large crowds. 

"Smoking marijuana seemed to be the only thing that really worked," he revealed to Bleacher Report. I was medicated during every game I played, the player said. 

According to Hesse, using cannabis or its derivative products—such as CBD or TCH—at the proper dosage is the key "trick" for sportsmen taking the drug. He contends that the medication's anti-inflammatory qualities not only relieve pain from injuries but also promote recovery from strenuous exercise by reducing weariness. When used properly, cannabis' effects reverse the notion that athletes were taught—that getting medicated would make them into worthless couch-monsters—to occur.