Learn How Professional Athletes Use Cannabis


If you’re an athlete looking to up your game, increase your performance and recover from workouts quickly, then consider integrating cannabis into your wellness routine. More and more professional athletes are coming out of the “cannabis closet” and speaking publicly about how the herb has benefited them, and undoing years of stigma around marijuana users in the process. Whether you’re an endurance athlete who supplements with CBD after every race or a football player seeking alternatives to opioids for pain, there’s a cannabis product that’s right for your unique physical condition and lifestyle.

At the recent State of Cannabis conference in Long Beach CA, a panel of retired professional athletes convened to discuss how they personally use cannabis and how it’s helped them recover from devastating injuries, adding years to their careers in their chosen sport.

Al Harrington, a retired NBA basketball player with 17 seasons of experience on teams including the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Denver Nuggets, credits cannabis with helping him recover from extensive knee surgeries that he underwent in 2001. While playing for the Denver Nuggets, a friend introduced him to CBD to aid in his recovery, and Harrington says “Since then I haven’t taken any pharmaceutical drugs to manage pain away from the game.”

As an NFL linebacker for the San Francisco 49er’s, Nick Moody is no stranger to the devastating injuries that befall football players, having suffered from multiple broken bones and concussions. “Cannabis helps with the stress of being a professional athlete,” Moody says, noting the pressure that players are under to make millions and provide for their families, adding that his ADHD was greatly aided by using the herb medicinally, remarking that he was “able to focus and study my plays.”

Maintaining and enhancing focus is an attribute to cannabis use that many people don’t consider, according to panel moderator Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games. Using cannabis before workouts can help you achieve “the eye of the tiger,” propelling your body and mind into a flow state more easily. When “in the flow,” athletes experience a complete unity in their body and mind, a total immersion that prevents distraction and enables them to completely concentrate on the game.

Whether you’re interested in using cannabis as a neuroprotectant, to enhance focus or recover from injury, there’s a product that will suit your needs. Cannabis lotions and salves applied topically will ease the pain of sore muscles, while CBD-rich capsules and tinctures can help with sleep, anxiety and pain. Winding down from the excitement of a big game is made easier with a nice joint of indica, which Al Harrington prefers, saying, “I just want to chill out, you know?”

Recommended Cannabis Products for Athletes:

Cosmic View Deep Down Balm

This anti-inflammatory and pain relieving formula contains CBD and THCA-rich cannabis and cooling medicinal herbs that target muscle and joint soreness, arthritis pain, neuropathy, menstrual cramping and more.

Om Edibles Athletic Bath Salt

25mg of THC and a complementary blend of essential oils infused into rich, relaxing Epsom salt.

Pure Plant Herbals CBD Oil

Use for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, and spasms, as well as promoting general homeostasis.

Mary’s Medicinals CBD Transdermal Patch

With a quick onset and up to 12 hours of relief, Mary’s patches are easy to use 2x2 squares. Adhere simply to any veinous part of the skin for discreet, all day (or night) relief.

Level CBD ProTabs

Each ProTab contains 25mg of cannabis-derived CBD intended to ease mental and physical stress, as well as provide a barely-there high. Because of Level's unique, proprietary formula, the effects will be felt within 30-60 minutes.

See also: “Why Athletes are Turning to CBD for Post-Workout Recovery”