Article by Nick Kovacevich, Forbes
Consider it an early win: Basketball’s BIG3 has become the first professional sports league in the United States to allow its athletes to use cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive ingredient in cannabis that many people use to manage pain and inflammation.
This announcement, made in June, is great news for athletic — pro and collegiate — organizations that are starting to embrace cannabis’ healing properties. And if they’re not quite embracing them yet, well, at least more seem willing to educate themselves on their athletes’ medical needs and how cannabis (particularly CBD) might help.
That’s pretty much what we’re hearing from pro hockey, which has traditionally been lenient about cannabis use — more so than the highly punitive National Basketball Association and the National Football League. (And perhaps less so than Major League Baseball, which, according to the Huffington Post, “has one of the most progressive marijuana policies in sports,” especially compared to draconian minor league policies.)
Hockey has never necessarily been willing to openly condone cannabis use, though, until last month. National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) executive director Don Fehr said it’s “possible that the NHL and NHLPA could come to an informal understanding about marijuana usage among players in the League in the future.”
This statement follows on the heels of former NHL player Riley Cote saying half the NHL players he played with smoked cannabis and NFL player Martellus Bennett saying that 89 percent of all NFL players did so. While these percentages might include people who are using cannabis for recreation, a lot of athletes are using it for medical purposes — and CBD is a far healthier long-term solution than popping traditional pain relievers, many of which are in the dangerously addictive opiate family of drugs.