Athletes & Cannabis Are Working Out

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It’s that time of year again when many people’s resolutions include more time in the gym. If your regular workout schedule changed during the holidays, be warned, for us older adults, you may experience muscle pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Medical cannabis and topicals can help give both amateur and professional athletes relief – the pros have known this for years. Most professional athletes kept their cannabis use private but in 2018 this began to change, and 2019 will most likely see more athletes open up about their cannabis use.

Take It From the Pros – NFL Players Open Secret

Football is an unforgiving game predicated on strength, speed, strategy, and outright violence. Injuries are common, and even a normal, injury-free, game takes its toll on players’ bodies. For several years NFL players’ use of cannabis was an open secret even if officially banned by the league and the players union. Its ability to reduce muscle spasms, inflammation, and pain without side effects made it a go-to option for many players. The most famous advocate was Miami Dolphin’s running back Ricky Williams who chose suspension over stopping his use of cannabis for pain management. He has since launched his own cannabis brand, Real Wellness. He is also the co-founder of the world’s first cannabis-friendly gym, Power Plant Fitness and Wellness.

Following his retirement, former quarterback Jake (the Snake) Plummer became a cannabis advocate in treating the pain, inflammation, and headaches resulting from his playing years. Plummer has a close relationship with CW Hemp, the maker of Charlotte’s Web. and also helps raise funds for cannabinoid research. In November 2016, Plummer was among the signatories of an open letter to the NFL, urging changes in the league’s hypocritical cannabis policy. The letter was penned by Doctors for Cannabis Regulation and signed by several other NFL players.

A Slam Dunk

The NBA season is a grueling, pounding, months-long test of wills between the players, their bodies, and the hardwood. Former NBA star Al Harrington knows this all too well. A 16-year NBA veteran, he developed an infection following knee surgery, and for the first time in his life, used cannabis to help the chronic pain. In 2018 he launched Viola Brands, named after his grandmother who he convinced to use cannabis for her glaucoma and diabetes. Harrington is now an outspoken medical cannabis advocate, and he, along with former NBA Commissioner David Stern, are openly advocating for the NBA change its cannabis prohibition policy.

Former Portland Trailblazers star Cliff Robinson played 18 years, won the Sixth Man of the Year, was an All-Star, and a two-time All-Defensive Second Team in 2000 and 2002. Yet despite his on-court success, the NBA suspended him three times during his career for cannabis use. He suffered multiple injuries over the course of his during his career, but credits cannabis as successfully treating the resulting aches and pains in retirement. He launched his own brand, Uncle Cliffy, and according to the brand’s website, “Cliff knows first hand how well cannabis works for medical and wellness purposes, and it’s that very first-hand experience that fuels his passion for cannabis advocacy.”

Going the Distance and Back

Our own Three Wells partner Wana Brands understands how important cannabis is for athletes and people living an active lifestyle. Founder and CEO Nancy Whiteman told us that “Wana Brands has seen first-hand how cannabis can improve the overall well-being of athletes, and we are dedicated to providing athletes with the relief and aid they are seeking.” The company sponsors Flavie Dokken, an inspiring long distance and endurance runner. A former bodybuilder and a U.S. Army Veteran, Dokken’s completes in multiple, arduous marathons and ultramarathons each year with names like Quad Rock 50 Miles, Bryce Canyon 50K, La Sportiva Uphill Climb, Never Summer 100K, and the Mad Moose Crested Butte 105K. Dokken utilizes cannabis for recovery and pain relief. “Living in Colorado provides the opportunity to surround myself with like-minded individuals who live an active lifestyle and support the use of cannabis among the athletic community. As an endurance athlete, I’m always pushing myself to my limits. I have found that incorporating cannabis into my post-training routine has aided in my recovery and helped me to relax, which enables me to prepare for my next training session.”

Nancy finished up by saying that “we are honored to partner with Flavie, who has a mutual appreciation of cannabis as a tool for recovery, to advocate for the use of cannabis as a natural remedy among athletes.”

A Knockout Brand

Throughout his life, Michael Gerard Tyson has been known by a few different names; Kid Dynamite. Iron Mike. The Baddest Man on the Planet. You probably know him simply as the world heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson. At 20 years old, he was the youngest heavyweight champion of the world, a record he holds to this day. Mike knows pain, and he also knows the relief that cannabis provides.

A few months ago here in Los Angeles, minimalist billboards started appearing for something called Tyson Ranch. As it turns out, they’re not only promoting Mike’s new cannabis brand Tyson Ranch, the company is also creating a 40-acre cannabis resort in the Southern California desert near Death Valley National Park. Half “Glam Camping” oasis, the other half comprises cultivation facilities and a Tyson Cultivation School educating growers on improving their own cannabis strains.

Tyson Ranch is a premium brand and describes itself as “one-of-a-kind Artisan Cannabis Strains that are hand trimmed with no industrial machinery to preserve THC crystals and medicinal value.” According to the website, they harvest a week before the crop is at its heaviest to provide buds with optimal psychoactive and healing properties. Much like Mike’s boxing style, that sounds like power followed by a quick recovery. Now 52 years old, Mike personally understands the pain relief cannabis provides, especially for mature, active adults.

As for those of us that just want to stay in shape or be a weekend warrior – You don’t need to be an amateur or professional athlete to benefit from medical cannabis. As we age, regular exercise is even more critical for a healthy lifestyle. Medical cannabis for adults supports faster recovery by helping with inflammation and pain relief. So get back into the gym, get on the trail or on the court, ride that bike, or whatever form of exercise works best for you. And when you’re finished, recover with cannabis.

Here are some of the products that athletes and those dedicated to staying shape have told us that work for them:

Do you use medical cannabis before, during, or after exercise? Tell us about it on our social channels!

Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.

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