The topic of medical marijuana has been gaining traction in the world of professional sports in recent years, particularly in light of the opioid crisis in the U.S. Nonetheless, it remains on the banned substances list in each of the four major American sports.
The conventional wisdom, however, has been changing rapidly on this front. Medical marijuana is now legal in 30 states, and the cannabidiol oil (CBD) that is derived from marijuana, but has none of the psychoactive effects of THC, is now in widespread use for a variety of ailments.
It’s gaining so much momentum, in fact, that on Wednesday, the FDA approved the first CBD medicine that will be used to treat epilepsy. Though the major sports institutions will surely be slow to catch on, Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league is helping lead the charge by allowing its players to use CBD for medical purposes this season.
Here’s more from the league’s press release:
“The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners not property,” said BIG3 Co-Founder & Co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz. “As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health.”
Its efficacy, in terms of its many healthy benefits, can no longer be ignored from a scientific standpoint. But the perception of it as an illicit drug is still a big hurdle for some, despite the fact that CBD doesn’t get you “stoned” in the way commonly associated with the strains of marijuana that contain THC.
Still, the NBA is arguably the most progressive of the major sports and has already initiated those conversations, so it’s likely only a matter of time before some major changes happen in terms of the types of substances that are allowed among players for medicinal purposes in the near future.