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Chris Lee, an American journalist, wrote the article “The Need for Weed” where he delves into the world of sports and focuses on the increased use of marijuana as a pain killer amongst today’s athletes. The author mentions, “marijuana has faced stigmatization as a gateway drug that ineluctably leads to the abuse of more dangerous Schedule I substances like methamphetamine and heroin”. Lee’s article serves to invalidate this belief. The author states the medicinal herb is not short on health benefits and claims it is a healthier alternative to opioid pain killers and can boost the athletic output of an individual. Lee’s main claim questions why marijuana isn’t legal in sports despite it being healthier and less addictive than its previously mentioned counterparts.
Just how Lee utilized his article to advocate why marijuana is necessary in sports; the purpose of this essay is to analyze why marijuana is needed in athletics. Despite marijuana receiving flak from a large portion of the population, many marijuana advocates claim it’s the most undervalued drug that aids in making exercise more enjoyable. These advocates strongly insist on people changing their view on weed, as it allows users to live a healthy life and increase their physical potential. Many athletes swear by its benefits but insist on hiding their usage due to the stigma associated with it.
Citing the Galileo article, “Puff, Puff, Lift,” author Michael Weinreb states, “Athletes, from MMA fighters to bodybuilders, have also discovered: Marijuana works for them, both in training and recovery. It breaks up the tedium, it stills the brain, it relieves pain, and it helps them get a good night’s sleep”. NFL football players, among them former Denver Broncos player Nate Jackson, says players need weed for medical purposes, to help combat the injuries received on the field. Referencing a New York Times article, “Jackson argues marijuana is a better option than handing injured players bottles of prescription opioids…”. Many professional athletes, including Jackson, believe we live in a society that views marijuana wrongfully, yet athletes are prescribed extremely addictive opioids, suggesting that artificial drugs are better and safer than marijuana. To further support this, Lee states newly established medical research has shown that marijuana contains naturally healing components that are beneficial to people, especially those wanting to lead a healthy life. These components have been found to aid damaged brain cells and combat against cancer.
First hand accounts from users of the drug recognize that marijuana has both psychological and physical benefits. Its effects aid the mind and provide its users with a sense of euphoria, which diminishes feelings of worry and stress. The mental effects of marijuana are like those of endorphins produced by our bodies during physical activity. Studies have even shown that CBD, a nonintoxicating cannabinoid, is a pain reliever, and can cure insomnia and even anxiety. It has even been used to treat the elderly who suffer with Alzheimer’s. Scientists all around the world have conducted studies comparing the effectiveness of marijuana to prescription drugs. One was tested in the United States, where scientists examined cannabis as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication by surveying data of nearly 3,000 patients. “Ninety-six percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they do not need to take as much of their non opioid-based pain medication when they use cannabis and 92% “strongly agreed/agreed” that cannabis works better for their condition than a non-opioid-based pain medication”. This study cannot be overlooked as its reputable and is only one of many that has resulted in this manner.
The benefits athletes have gained from marijuana use is undeniable. Take for example the case of Kyle Kingsbury, a UFC fighter mentioned in Weinreb’s article, who turned to marijuana to relieve his pain from extensive beatings in the octagon. “He got to the point where he was in so much pain at night that he’d take four Advil’s to get to sleep, and sometimes he’d take four more before training — and that’s when he circled back to cannabis”. Thanks to the assistance of marijuana, Kingsbury no longer must rely on over the counter medication to relieve his pain, but now can self-medicate and gain all the health benefits marijuana has to offer. Those advocating in favor of the legalization of marijuana have advised athletes to request the legalization of it in sports. However, despite many being aware of its benefits, it is unlikely for it to be legalized due to those higher up officials in the government deeming it as an illicit substance. It is quite sad indeed to witness government officials ban marijuana despite it being proven to be safer and healthier than prescription opioids. In short, the future of marijuana is uncertain, and we can only wait and see where it leads.
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