Sports medicine is taking on a whole other realm away from traditional medicine to exploring cannabis. Athletes are starting younger, experiencing more injuries, and spending long periods of time in sports which put them into high-performance situations earlier. Even if people are not professional athletes, recreational sports can take its toll on the body. Sports medicine is evolving to consider all the options when it comes to helping people meet the challenging health risks they face as athletes.
Facing an Injury
Professional, amateur, and juvenile athletes are facing the reality that sports mean injuries. Injuries of one kind or another can take its toll on the body. There is more awareness of concussions, knee, and back problems associated with contact sports, but there is more to it than that. Sports medicine has had to evolve its strategies around how to support athletes at every level to support their immune systems, physical, and emotional health. The NFL made headlines when they showed interest in how marijuana can help treat pain for its players on the field. Cannabis and sports medicine may be seeking a breakthrough moment soon.
Opioids are over-prescribed for many different people. The medication is being used so much there are now lawsuits against the manufacturers for knowing about the addictive properties but pushing it into the hands of doctors who overprescribe. Athletes have been prescribed opioids for pain management, which has led to deaths and overdoses at an alarming rate. Sports leagues are considering a turn to cannabis as an alternative for the long-term health and well-being of their players. Cannabis is considered a safer, less risky alternative to opioids. Cannabis can help athletes and people who are active find support for dislocated joints, fractures, muscle issues, and more. Phytocannabinoids are similar to compounds in the body. Cannabis cannabinoids interact with receptors in the body to maintain homeostasis. This helps the body find a natural balance, rather than introducing un-natural opioids.
Risks of Cannabis
One of the challenges to smoking cannabis for athletes is introducing something which may be considered a ‘banned substance.’ Athletes are not allowed to use anything that gives them an edge over the competition, with serious infractions including being barred from competing in their sport. Smoking weed can be helpful for some athletes, but the benefits are yet-to-be-determined. Many athletes claim smoking weed before working out can boost performance. Others prefer smoking weed after a workout for recovery. International sports authorities would have to pass approval on what can be smoked, how much, and for what purposes to ensure athletes are not using it to gain a competitive edge. While it may have some medicinal benefits for some, not everyone may benefit from it. It all depends on what is used, how much, and in what way. Various products are on the market so it depends on what governing bodies decide to allow and how athletes determine they will best benefit from its uses in the future. It may only be a matter of time until athletes are using it regularly to support their performance on the field.