Pro Athletes Pro Cannabis
Most people don’t think of marijuana when they hear the phrase “performance-enhancing drug.” However, when it comes to athletics, cannabis has some strong benefits. Whether it’s for recovery, training, or performance itself, smoking some weed is a staple in many athletes’ training regimen. Here’s a list of 5 pro athletes who advocate for the use of marijuana in aiding their athletic career.
Nate Diaz – MMA Former Welterweight Champion
Nate Diaz is a UFC Welterweight with a seasoned career. Since his entry into the pro fight scene in 2001, he’s competed in some organizations, earning the welterweight championship in both Strikeforce and WEC.
He made headlines recently after vaporizing CBD oil, a cannabis extract, in his post-fight press conference for UFC 202. After being asked about why he was using CBD, he said: “It helps with the healing process and inflammation and stuff like that. So you wanna get these for before, after the fight, training. It’ll make your life easier.”
And he isn’t wrong: many studies, like this one, have shown that CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory. For a professional cage fighter, inflammation is no doubt extremely common. That’s why he (and his brother Nick Diaz, also a UFC fighter) are well-documented cannabis advocates.
John Salley – 4-Time NBA Champion
John Salley is a now-retired professional basketball player. The NBA big man played on three different championship-winning teams and had himself earned four championships. He has since been active in media, including his role as host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
Recently, he came out for marijuana for basketball players and athletes. He’s so pro-pot, in fact, that the 52-year-old said said he’d “still be playing” if he was allowed to smoke the herb himself during his NBA career. While he was probably joking, his sentiment is well taken.
Ross Rebagliati – Olympic Gold Medalist Snowboarder
Canadian Ross Rebagliati was the first athlete ever to win the Olympic gold medal in men’s snowboarding at the 1998 Winter Olympics. After his victory, his medal was briefly taken away because THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, was found in his system.
However, cannabis was not a banned substance at the time, so his medal was given back to him. Off the snow, Rebagliati has been a cannabis advocate. He launched a medical marijuana business, Ross’ Gold, in 2013, which he has since expanded to sell his glassware and hemp CB edibles.
His stance on marijuana is that it is a huge performance enhancer in that it improves muscle relaxation and reduces anxiety. Additionally, Rebagliati noted that the improved sleep time leads to more recovery, which can help for athletes performing multiple competitions in a span of a couple of days. Like Diaz, he also said that CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are a huge benefit.
Cliff Robinson – NBA All-Star
Cliff Robinson is a retired NBA big man most known for his tenure on the Portland Trail Blazers from 1989-1997. Aside from his exceptional play, Robinson was well known in his career for having been suspended numerous times for using cannabis. Since his retirement, Robinson appeared on the reality TV series Survivor where, unfortunately, he did not win.
“Uncle Cliffy” has since re-branded himself as “Uncle Spliffy” to enter the Oregon legal cannabis market. He is an advocate for medical and recreational marijuana policy reform and uses his platform to spread awareness.
He has said of marijuana in his career, “For me, it was helpful because of pharmaceutical drugs… they didn’t do well. My stomach was always sensitive to that kind of stuff, so I pretty much stayed away from it.
I used as a tool to calm my stomach; also as a way to just kind of calm my nerves from the mental stress over the course of an NBA season.” He went on to say that the narcotics usually prescribed often addictive and potentially harmful and that a safer alternative like marijuana is often preferable.
Rob Van Dam – Professional Wrestler
Robert Szatkowski, better known by his ring name Rob Van Dam, is a professional wrestler best known for his time with the WWE in the early to mid-2000s. In 2002, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him as the number one wrestler in the world and was awarded “most popular wrestler” by the magazine’s readers in ’01 and ’02.
Pro wrestlers are known to get physical – even acrobatic – in their performances. It’s no surprise that one of its top athletes advocates for the use of cannabis for performance.
When speaking to The Washington Post, he said marijuana had helped him in, “thinking good thoughts, because . . . in front of millions of people that paid to see you at your best, who expect you to be in action-figure shape and condition on that particular night for that moment, you’ve got to deliver.”
He also mentioned that he uses marijuana to enhance all aspects of his life – not just performance. Regardless, the plant’s ability to reduce anxiety and elicit positive thoughts can no doubt aid an athlete in performing to the best of their abilities.