Using Medical Marijuana for Athletic Injuries
Athletes at all levels experience sports related injuries. From professional athletes to the noon-ball gym rats at the local YMCA, everyone develops aches and pains if they play sports long enough. Most sports injuries lead to pain in one or more parts of the body. In some cases people sustain injuries to the brain.
Unfortunately many people treat sports injuries with pharmaceutical prescriptions that provide more harm than good. In many cases, a sports related injury leads to a lifelong battle with painkiller addiction or abuse of other substances. Fortunately cannabis can be used instead of other harmful substances with great results.
Cannabis is a banned substance across all professional and amateur athletic leagues in countries around the globe. If an athlete’s drug test turns up positive, and they are caught with marijuana in their system, they face career-ending suspension.
But cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug; it is a therapeutic/medicinal one. The potential of medicinal marijuana for pain management has sparked an athlete-driven movement toward acceptance. Many studies have shown that the human body contains a whole Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) with special receptors for cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (or CBD) .
Our body produces CBD naturally and interacts with any cream or oil infused with CBD oil to an area that has been wounded or injured, and the human organism is working so that heals the particular location. The herb is also effective for treating pain, muscle spasticity, and is proven to be able to heal broken bones.
That is one of the reasons many people grow their own plant from medical cannabis seeds. Needless to say, the compound CBD that can stimulate the growth of bones is separated from Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) – psychoactive component, that is responsible for getting people “high”.
Professional Athletes Use Marijuana
It’s no longer a secret that professional athletes use medicinal cannabis. National Football League (or NFL) and National Basketball Association (or NBA) players have publicly estimated that 80% of their fellow players use marijuana to manage pain, anxiety, and other issues. NFL running back Mike Jones is one example; he uses medicinal cannabis to circumvent opioid dependence prescribed for physical pain.
NFL players misuse opioids at a much higher rate than the general population, and two (2) key predictors for opioid misuse are pain and concussions. The need for non-addictive pain treatment has even spawned the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, a collective of NFL players pushing for cannabis legalization and research.
In response, the NFL agreed in 2017 to study the potential of marijuana for pain management.
Medicinal Marijuana for Athletes
There is little evidence supporting performance-enhancing benefits of cannabis. Increased heart rate, reduced cardiac output, and lowered coordination suggest that it hampers athletic performance. Cannabis does have potential as an all-natural medicine and therapeutic agent for athletes.
For example, the main non-psychoactive compound, Cannabidiol (or CBD), enhances bone fracture healing by catalyzing collagen crosslinking. For its analgesic properties, it is suggested that cannabis could be an effective therapy for athlete pain management.
It has been shown to alleviate neuropathic pain, such as that resulting from concussion injuries. Cannabinoids also have significant anti-inflammatory actions that are relevant to recovery and injury management . Cannabis remains on World Anti-Doping Prohibited List for controversial reasons (ex. some athletes in some sports find it reduces anxiety prior to performance).
However, many professional athletes are now utilizing cannabis for its natural medicinal potential. Athletes with chronic and debilitating injuries – those who no longer fear drug tests and suspension – are the most outspoken about using cannabis as medicine.
Additionally, using Cannabis for pain relief does not have the side effects that all these opiate narcotics, analgesics, muscle relaxants. Opiates and pain killers are a big health problem for the modern society, they can get people addicted and they can cause damages to the liver.
Cannabis infused creams or sprays provide better comfort against inflammation and pain. A new study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, says that “While there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies… We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing.”
Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, that leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing.”
Let us know what you think.