Giving Them What They Need With Weed
The Paw Print
The United States has legalized the recreational use of marijuana in two states so far, Washington and Colorado. That means anyone can use it if they want to, right? What do the teams the Denver Broncos and Nuggets, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, and Washington Redskins, Nationals, and Wizards have in common? All of these teams are in professional sports leagues that still ban them from using any marijuana product, despite it being legal in their state. That is just not fair. Imagine all the football players in particular, who practice all the time and go out every week of the season to play a game where their lives are at risk. Every professional sports league has always stressed that the health and safety of the players was the number one priority. Give them something medical that decreases their pain and stress, and treats issues all over the body, including arthritis and concussions. We grow it on our own soil, and I have a few friends who have grown their own. If we can use it, then professional athletes in any sport should be allowed to use it.
A main reason why pot should be allowed is that it provides many health benefits for people who have certain disorders or mental health problems. One example is seizures. In a study from Robert J. Delorenzo, he gave marijuana to rats who suffered from epilepsy. The drug made the rats seizure free for about ten hours. This worked because of the contents of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binding the brain cells responsible for controlling excitement and regulating relaxation together. Marijuana has also been used to treat veterans who suffer from post- traumatic stress disorder. In New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason why people get medical marijuana licenses. The THC and other similar contents of weed are used to regulate the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.
There was also a study from the journal Cerebral Cortex that showed marijuana reducing the effects of concussions in mice. Marijuana reduced the bruising of the brain and helped improve healing mechanisms after traumatic injuries. Harvard professor of psychiatry Lester Grinspoon wrote an open letter to the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, urging the league to stop testing players for marijuana, and start funding for research into marijuana’s ability to protect the brain. In the letter he wrote, “Already, many doctors and researchers believe that marijuana has incredibly powerful neuroprotective properties, an understanding based on both laboratory and clinical data.” Goodell recently stated that he would consider allowing football players to use it if the medical studies showed that it’s an effective way to protect the brain from injury.
There have been many over hyped news reports over many years of professional athletes charged with either possessing or smoking weed. Mario Chalmers, NBA point guard of the Miami Heat, was caught in the summer of 2008. That year, his first in the league, he still played all eighty-two games of the season and his team still made the playoffs, and then eventually became a back to back champion. Allen Iverson, another NBA guard, was arrested for possession of a firearm and pot. He already won Rookie of the Year, and would go on to be a multiple time All- Star and be the MVP in 2001. Carmelo Anthony, NBA forward at that time on the Denver Nuggets, was cited for possession in 2004. He still played all eighty-two games his rookie season and made the playoffs, while also eventually becoming a several time All- Star and a scoring champion. It wasn’t just in the American sporting leagues; it was also in the Olympics. Michael Phelps, for example, was accused of using marijuana in 2009. Despite that pointless controversy, he still went on to the 2012 London Olympics and finished his amazing event with a total of twenty-two medals, eighteen of them gold, both the most ever by an Olympic athlete.
I understand why people would be scared of marijuana. As students in public schools, they would hear this all the time, “Say no to drugs,” and because of the unfamiliarity many people have with weed, they are afraid of it and read many advertisements against it all over the web. Many would not welcome the idea of putting any kind of chemicals into their body. Nobody should be afraid of it though. In the past year, cannabis was the third most prevalent drug, behind tobacco, and alcohol. After it was legalized in Colorado and Washington, the revenues have increased significantly. Between January and July of this year, the total sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado was 29.7 million dollars, and the tax revenue from July was more than seven million dollars. The amount of approval of the recreational use is significant as well. An NBC/ Marist poll showed that fifty-five percent of Colorado adults have approved the legal sale in their state.
Based on all the medical research and the approval, there is no reason why marijuana should not be allowed in professional sports leagues. This drug helps relieve the body and mind, and gives athletes and veterans the ability to heal the physical and mental wear and tear. There are many outspoken supporters of cannabis on television and the internet. Even the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, understands why people support the legalization of it so far. The amount of approval is already high and it’s only going to continue to grow over time.