It is no secret that playing in professional sports leagues comes with complying with certain policies and regulations. Among these are the different drug tests, which target PED’s and dangerous drugs, such as marijuana. That being said, however, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the largest brands in professional sports entertainment that has been quite vocal about cannabis use among its players. In the last decade, there has been a growing recognition in the league of medical marijuana use and its positive effects.
David Stern, the former NBA Commissioner who has held office for thirty years, has sat down and discussed the possibility that medical marijuana use be allowed in the NBA. In a one-on-one interview with retired NBA player and now entrepreneur, Al Harrington, Stern stated that it’s about time that the league considered removing cannabis from the banned list. For what reason? The benefits, of course.
On Medical Cannabis Use in the NBA
As one medical dispensary in Tulsa says, CBD, a cannabinoid, can relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but apart from CBD, THC can also be helpful to many players across the NBA. Especially now, when society has been more understanding and accepting of manly men suffering from depression and other mental health issues. Both CBD and THC can address and help NBA players, who are just like any other human being, essentially, in dealing with either physical or psychological pain and/or trauma.
Larry Sanders, a once-promising big man in the league, had decided to walk away from more fame and more dollars at the tender age of 26–before he even hit his prime–after a handful of violations and suspensions for using marijuana. Sanders was then dealing with anxiety and depression, which he chronicled on The Players Tribune. More players have since publicized their struggles with mental health, like Kevin Love of the Cavaliers, and DeMar DeRozan, who was then still with the Raptors, and many more.
There are studies that document and serve as evidence on the efficacy of medical marijuana, but possibly not enough to make everyone in the NBA comfortable about all-out legalization. Nevertheless, there is widespread use of medical cannabis, whether through smoking or ingesting, to treat muscle pain. There are players who, despite the NBA’s weed ban, are not shy at all when it comes to smoking the herb–and the league’s officials are well-aware that this has been happening.
For the Greater Good of All
Adam Silver, current NBA Commissioner and former VP to Stern, has always been open to the media about the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association’s (NBPA) thoughts on lifting the cannabis ban. He understands that there is a lot to be considered, but with their constant revisiting of the issue, Silver is showing everyone that only more progress can be made.
Society’s perception on marijuana and CBD products, in general, has shifted and this has manifested in the growing number of states legalizing cannabis use, even with their respective limitations. Stern, in the same interview with Harrington, commented that teams located in states legalizing marijuana use should be allowed to smoke as they wish, provided that they are at home. And it makes sense to say that there’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, the most impactful thing to consider here is how the players are going to react, once regulated cannabis use is allowed in the NBA.
It’s not impossible that all we see is the status quo.