This is the breaking news from the National Football League (NFL). Adam Silver, commissioner of NBA, has declared that the entire organization is open to discussion about use of medical marijuana among NBA players.
According to his words, therapeutic cannabis should be regulated just like many other pharmaceutical drugs have been regulated over the years in sport. “Science has proved the benefits of cannabis in helping to heal muscular problems and many kinds of pain”.
Although NBA players are allowed to use painkillers to treat their pain, cannabidiol is still in the banned list. CBD consumption is strictly punished by the sports authorities. Cannabis users in sporting competitions must attend a drug addiction programme when they are caught for the first time, but the penalties can involve high fines and even being banned for anything from five to ten matches, to permanently.
Most sports culture (especially at NBA headquarters) treats cannabis consumption as a form of doping. The commission says that the marijuana plant gives players an unfair advantage, and it is considered “cheating”. They are still a long way from accepting scientific proof regarding the medical advantages of cannabis, so there is still a chance that the stigma surrounding the plant may prevail.
Were it to be permitted, this wouldn’t be an exception on the sports field. It’s been just one year since the participants of the Olympic games were allowed to use cannabis before or after the competitions (never during the games). The Olympic games board changed the minimum amount for legal consumption from 15 to 150 nanograms.
Most NBA players are actually in favour of marijuana legalization and its use in sports as a medical product and have defended this position several times. NBA players support cannabis legalization and consumption, but the commissioners have the last word.
It seems that NBA commissioners have a lot of work ahead of them to reach a satisfactory resolution. There are hundreds of studies regarding cannabis on both sides, both against and in favour. Whether cannabis should be treated like doping in sports, or if it is actually good or bad for players is still an unsolved question.
One thing is clear, cannabis doesn’t give superpowers to anyone (even if the league considers it an advantage for the players that consume cannabis). In fact, some research shows that using cannabis while playing sports can affect balance or decision-making. But it can also help increase energy, and improve effiency on the field.
Since cannabis acts as a muscle sedative, it reduces anxiety and helps eradicate bad feelings or fears, creating a relaxing situation that benefits concentration. Furthermore, beyond consumption of cannabis during competitions, it can be useful before and after matches. Marijuana provides better sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety derived from the competition itself.