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MPP Recognizes Cannabis Culture Day with Athletes Changing the Stigma of Medical Cannabis Use

Jul 10, 2022

athletes, medical cannabis, sports


In recognition of Cannabis Culture Day on July 10th, the Marijuana Policy Project takes a look at America’s athletes and their use of medical cannabis treatments. More and more cannabis use among athletes is being revealed. Increasingly, professional athletes have turned to the plant to reduce pain from post-game injuries and to help speed recovery.

Thanks to athletes, the decimation of the stereotype of cannabis users as lazy stoners has begun. With 38 states and the District of Columbia having adopted laws making cannabis legal for medical use, an increasing number of elite athletes are stepping forward to proclaim their cannabis advocacy. Removing this stereotype overturns decades of stigmatization of cannabis as a gateway drug that leads to the abuse of more dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and heroin. This new wave of sports-world acceptance puts cannabis forward as a “biohack,” a plant-based alternative to opioid pain-relief drugs.

Athletes have noted CBD oils have helped with the healing process and inflammation from sports injuries, as well as easing the symptoms of chronic pain and anxiety. Additionally, there are studies that suggest that CBD may help improve sleep in people with certain sleep disorders.

This Cannabis Culture Day, MPP continues the fight to ensure medical cannabis is legal across the country as well as recreational cannabis for those 21 or older. Cannabis has the potential to manage pain, improve sleep and recovery time, reduce inflammation and more. Athletes, like every other American, should be able to use cannabis to treat these ailments as an alternative to prescription pills.

Also, this Cannabis Culture Day, MPP salutes some of the athletes who are in the forefront of removing the stigma associated with cannabis use:

Eugene Monroe - Former NFL Offensive Tackle

Eugene Monroe - Former NFL Offensive Tackle

Eugene retired from the NFL to spend more time with his family and focus on his health. He found that cannabis helped him deal with the pain he was struggling with from shoulder and knee injuries. Now he is a partner at a medical cannabis company. (Marcin, 2018) (Rafferty, 2017)

Ricky Williams - Former NFL/CFL Football Running Back

Ricky Williams - Former NFL/CFL Football Running Back

During his football career, Ricky struggled with balancing his cannabis use with the rules of the NFL. He took time to learn about the benefits of cannabis and is now an advocate for cannabis and uses it for both mental and physical healing. (Poole, 2022)

JR Smith - Former NBA player

JR Smith - Former NBA player

During the 2020 NBA Bubble, basketball players like JR Smith began consuming cannabis. Smith said that cannabis helped him and other players tap into the proper mindset they need to play and allowed them to be in tune with their bodies. (Callas, 2022)

Sha'Carri Richardson - Track & Field Athlete

Sha'Carri Richardson - Track & Field Athlete

After the loss of her mother, Sha’Carri used cannabis to manage her mental health. She struggled with mental issues in high school and at LSU. Through all of the harsh blowback, she maintains her belief that cannabis is beneficial for mental health. (Reid, 2022)

Kareem Abdul Jabbar - Former NBA player

Kareem Abdul Jabbar - Former NBA player

Throughout his career with the NBA, Kareem came under fire many times for his cannabis use. He has explained that cannabis helps him alleviate his chronic migraines and nausea. (Thompson, 2022)

Allen Iverson - Former NBA player

Allen Iverson - Former NBA player

After years of avoiding any public association with cannabis due to his history with the NBA and a prior arrest, Iverson recently entered the cannabis industry with fellow baller Al Harrington. He now is an advocate for cannabis and believes cannabis can help Black people manage their health and bring economic opportunities to their communities. (Hasse, 2021)

Check your state’s laws and those anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled