Athletes tend to have a lot of injuries ,whether they are professionals or weekend warriors. Some of these injuries are short-lived and easily treated, while others can result in nagging chronic pain or discomfort which can last their entire life. With medical cannabis making such positive inroads in treating a wide range of medical conditions, some are rightfully wondering if marijuana can be utilized successfully to alleviate the effects of sports injuries as well.

The debate is current and relevant  – should athletes in organized or professional sports be allowed to use medical cannabis for sports injuries? Is medical cannabis more beneficial or more harmful to athletes, overall?

It is clear to virtually all advocates of medical cannabis that the treatment is far superior to the usage of prescription painkillers. The opioid crisis has highlighted the very real and addictive dangers that painkillers pose. Even if someone doesn’t become addicted to their prescription, the side effects such as tiredness or groggy thinking are often detrimental to peak sports performance. Medical cannabis can often provide the needed relief

Depending on the injury and the player, there are certain things to take into account. There are many reasons why people don’t want to take pain killers for their pain, and this is where medical cannabis comes into play. Pain killers have been shown to have addictive tendencies for some people and this is one of the negative points of using them. While adults who play sports for fun or in a local league may find cannabis to be a viable alternative, professional athletes face different issues.

Drug testing for eligibility to participate in sports is common, and those who test positively for cannabis are typically found in violation of being “clean.” This is despite the mounting evidence that medical cannabis is among the safest and certainly the most natural way to treat the pain and discomfort of sports injuries.

Cannabis does not include chemicals or other synthetic ingredients, and is not considered to be addictive when used for pain management. Because it is holistic in nature, cannabis can heal the body and alleviate symptoms without resulting in additional medical issues. But while it may  seem that these benefits would make medical cannabis an obvious treatment for athletes, the current laws on the books make the issue a bit more murky.

If athletes participate in sports in a state where medical marijuana is a lawful treatment, such as here in Florida, there is less controversy. However, many professional athletes travel to other regions where the drug may not be yet legalized. Because the U.S government still lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug,  the legality of a specific athlete’s use may not be cut and dry. In fact, when it comes to medical cannabis and sports, it appears there is no clear answer.

Athletes are in need of pain management solutions that allow them to continue playing without being in chronic pain. Whether sore muscle or ankle strain, medical cannabis has proven to be safe and effective – and it appears that the treatment is making impressive strides into the mainstream of sports medicine.

Dr. Daniel P. Stein is one of the nation’s leading experts on utilizing medical cannabis for the treatment of an entire spectrum of conditions, including chronic pain caused by sports injury. If you are looking for advice as to how to obtain your medical marijuana (or MMJ) card, give the Neurology of Cannabis offices in Sarasota a call at 941-400-1211, or call your physician for a referral.