Synthetic drugs have been prescribed to athletes for decades, in order to help them deal with multiple health issues, obtained as result of heavy training and stress. Their extreme popularity is often explained with unavoidability, but do you truly need synthetic medications, when medical marijuana is available?
The following is the story of Kyle Turley, a two-decade NFL player, now retired. Over the course of his career, Turley used numerous drugs to manage pain and restore his body from injuries. Various meds like Zoloft, Depakote, Percocet, Wellbutrin, Vicodin etc. were prescribed by his doctors continuously, and the man rarely wondered which of them does what. Well, when his career ended, he figured that out – headaches, anxiety, depression and rage outbreaks became his common companions. With no personal doctor to treat his issues, Turley ended up on a brink of suicide, until one day he tried medical cannabis as last resort.
Kyle believes that medical marijuana literally saved his life. In his July 2015 interview to the Union Tribune, he commented ‘I am done with synthetic drugs. I’ve been taking them for 20 years, and my body was devastated. Only natural medications can help me now’. Other former professional athletes support Turley in his choice. Jamal Anderson, the Atlanta Falcons runner back (1994-2001) told Bleacher Report that “about 40 to 50 per cent of [players in] the league” used marijuana as pain controller. Another major player, Ricky Williams, who played for the Dolphins and Saints from 1999 to 2011, has also publicly confessed using weed during his career to manage pain and stress. And we are talking about the times when marijuana was illegal in all states. So, how many players secretly use it today?
Dr. Igor Grant, head of Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UCSD, is convinced that medical cannabis should be allowed for professional athletes as multi-purpose prescription drug. “In one way or another, marijuana is already legal for medicinal use in 48 states. It is not listed – and there is no reason to list it – as a doping drug. So why not permit it for athletes, if it can help them cope with a wide array of conditions?” Grant asks. Quite true, if we take into account that medical marijuana is clinically proven to relieve pain, manage stress and anxiety disorders, and act as muscle relaxant – all conditions widely spread among the athletes. NFL and other major professional sports associations should certainly consider the pros of cannabis legalization.