A recent survey shows that the majority of Americans think that athletes should be able to use cannabis as part of their recovery process.
In an online poll conducted by Yahoo News back in March, approximately 69% of the 1,122 adults surveyed said had no problem with athletes using cannabis for pain management and to recover from sports related injuries. A mere 26% of voters said they disapproved of athletes using cannabis in their treatment, while 5% were undecided.
Is this progress?
Now given that there’s roughly 328 million people in the United States, 1,122 may seem like a very insignificant number, but it is an encouraging indicator of where public opinion lies on the issue of medical cannabis use. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 30 states including the District of Columbia, which when you translate into population amounts to roughly two thirds of the country, most of which would have voted in favor of medical cannabis (don’t worry – we did the math).
Within the same Yahoo News survey, roughly the same number of people agreed that athletes should be able to use cannabis for recreational purposes without harming their career.
The survey showed that of the 28% of voters who said they would lose respect for athletes who used marijuana, 52% of participants were over 70, 47% were politically conservative, and 43% had never tried marijuana before (go figure).
NFL to discuss Cannabis Use?
The results of this poll come mere months after the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that he would be open to renegotiating the league’s policy on cannabis use among players with the NFL Players Association. Marijuana use of any kind is currently banned by the NFL, but players are tested for recreation drugs just once a year in a testing period from late April to early August. Players who are enrolled in the league’s substance abuse program undergo a three-stage treatment process in which they receive unscheduled drug tests much more frequently, and failure to pass these tests can result in a fine in Stage 1, up to a 10-game suspension in Stage 3.
Many former NFL players have come forward about their medical marijuana use to raise awareness for the drug as a treatment for chronic pain and sports related injuries. Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon (57) has been a vocal advocate for medical marijuana among NFL players, since using the drug to treat his depression and early onset dementia. McMahon stated that using medical marijuana helped him to stop relying on the narcotic painkillers he was prescribed throughout his career.In comparison with the NFL’s drug policy, the National Hockey League doesn’t not discipline players for cannabis use, while Major League Baseball players don’t even receive random drug tests for recreational substances. The National Basketball League banned marijuana use among players, however in a 2014 interview with GQ the NBA commissioner Adam Silver states that “Marijuana is not at the top of our list”.