Weed and Athletes- Should Athletes Use Marijuana?

If you were to ask Stephen A. Smith if athletes’ should use marijuana, you’d probably hear his famous “STAY OFF THE WEEEEEEEEEEEED” quote, but is Stephen A right about weed and athletes’?

There have been countless athletes’ (especially recently) who have come out and said that they use or used marijuana during their careers, and that it helped them out a ton. Martellus Bennet, a former tight end for the Patriots said that he thinks as much as 89% of players in the NFL use marijuana, but he explains it’s not just to get high. He goes on to say that when you play the game of football, sometimes your body just hurts so much and that pills aren’t always the way to go, as they can start to eat away at your kidneys and liver. “A human made that, God made weed” he goes on to say.

Similar things are said in other sports, with cannabis being very popular among long distance runners. Many of them claim using marijuana will help their bodies feel better on long runs, as well as make them enjoy it more!

People in martial arts have also found comfort in marijuana as well. Eddie Bravo, a Jiu Jitsu legend, has been very vocal about how using weed helps him in Jiu Jitsu. Not only does it help to make his body relaxed and pain free, but he says it helps with concentration as well.

The list goes on and on, so many athletes’ across all different sports have come out and said that they have found relief in marijuana while playing sports.

So than why is it frowned upon in many sports? Let’s take a closer look!

Taking a Look at The Science

I don’t want to bore you guys with too much science mumbo jumbo, but I do want to point this out. When you exercise, your body produces anandamide, which is actually a cannabinoid that is found in marijuana as well, and is most well-known for making people feel happy. This cannabinoid can also play a role in neurogenesis, or the formation of new cells, which I will discuss further later on, as it pertains to professional football players and anyone one else who plays a contact sport.

These are not to be mistaken with the more well-known cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, which unfortunately our bodies don’t produce. THC (Tetrahyrdrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid that is responsible for getting you “high”, while CBD (Cannabidiol) is the non psychoactive cannabinoid that is responsible for making you feel calm and relaxed, as well as having tons of other medical benefits.

Benefits of Using Marijuana

The benefits that athletes’ get from marijuana are the same exact benefits that you and I do. So ask yourself, why do you use marijuana? For some of you guys the answer might be “to get high with my friends” but for a lot of people, the reasons are medical.

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common problems that people use marijuana for, and its very much the same with athletes’. This is especially the case with anxiety, as I’m sure you could imagine, as they have to perform in front of thousands of people and there is a lot of pressure on them. And as for depression, just this year several athletes’ have come out saying they suffer from depression, for example, Kevin Love and DeMar Derozan. And you can best believe that weed, a natural substance, is a lot better for athletes’ bodies than these big pharma pills with all their side effects and addictive properties. For those of you that have used weed for depression, you know that weed kicks depression’s ass!! The feelings of euphoria you get combined with reduced anxiety is the perfect mix to kick depression to the curb.

Using marijuana can reduce inflammation as well, so if your body is hurting, marijuana can reduce the pain very effectively. This is mostly due to the CBD, which many people and athletes’ do use separately, but you won’t get the same euphoria and anxiety relief with just CBD.

And like I briefly mentioned earlier, there are certain cannabinoids in marijuana that promote neurogenesis, or the formation of new cells. This could be huge from athletes’ participating in contact sports, such as football, MMA, and even boxing, as head injuries are extremely common. More studies need to be done before this can be conclusive, but the future looks bright, and if athletes’ can use marijuana to help recover from head injuries, that would be HUGE!

Weed kicks anxiety and depression to the curb!!

Drawbacks of Using Marijuana

Almost every drawback that comes with using marijuana is from smoking it, which I don’t recommend you do if you are an athlete. I know many athletes’ campaigning for weed to be allowed in sports smoke it themselves, but if you’re an athlete, you really shouldn’t be smoking at all. When you smoke anything, you’re taking in harmful carcinogens that are bad for your lungs, and while smoking weed puts you at a much lower risk of developing cancer than cigarettes do, it’s still unhealthy.

Other risks of using marijuana can include extreme paranoia and anxiety, which certainly wouldn’t be good in any athletic performance. These experiences are usually very rare, some people are more prone than others and unfortunately one bad experience like this can turn people off to marijuana entirely.

And of course, one of the biggest drawbacks is if you happen to live in a state where marijuana is illegal, because unfortunately that means you can get in trouble for using and having it! It’s sad that one of the biggest consequences of using marijuana is getting caught with it! But for the time being those of you living in states where marijuana is illegal need to stay strong, in time it will be legal everywhere!

Ways Athletes Can Use Marijuana

While smoking marijuana seems to be the most popular way to consume it, there are many other ways to use marijuana, ways that are much better suited for athletes’. Vaping for instance, is a much healthier alternative to smoking as vaporizersare carcinogen and smoke free, making it much better on the lungs.

Edibles are also a great way to use marijuana, as they have no effect on your lungs whatsoever. However, edibles can be unpredictable and often times very strong, which people aren’t prepared for. People will eat a whole brownie thinking it can’t possibly be that strong and next thing you know they’re baked for 24 hours straight. Always know how strong the dosage of edible you’re taking is, and remember that you won’t feel the effects immediately, they start to come on after about 45 minutes to an hour.

You can also use marijuana topicals, or topicals infused with THC, which can be really effective for pain. Rub some cream on the area in pain and you’ll be feeling better in no time, great for athletes’ in any sport!

Vaporizing is a healthy way to use marijuana

Is Marijuana Performance Enhancing?

What many people want to know is if marijuana is made okay to use for athletes’, will it enhance performance?

Some people argue yes, and that if marijuana can make your body feel better and reduce anxiety and nerves, than does that give someone an advantage in an athletic competition?

This is the way I look at it, exercising and good nutrition are also performance enhancing, but they are both natural, as is marijuana. Marijuana isn’t man made for any specific purpose, it is a natural plant that happens to have a lot of benefits for people!

Unless some studies are done that prove that there’s something in marijuana that can actually enhance an athletes’ performance, than marijuana is no more performance enhancing than good nutrition and exercise!


It’s unclear when marijuana will finally be made okay for athletes’ to use, I mean after all were still working on it being legal for all of us regular folk, but like I’ve mentioned, the future is very hopeful. The studies that have been done so far point to some promising results, and I think that as we start to see laws regarding cannabis loosen as time goes on, marijuana will make it’s way into sports.

What do you guys think about athletes’ using marijuana? Should it be allowed? Let’s keep the discussion going in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you guys have to think!





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  • Cheyenne C. says:

    Interesting article on a hot topic in todays society. I for the life of me do not understand why people are so against marijuana, especially if a lot of the health benefits and medicinal properties turn out to be true. Your article about its use with athletes is just another reason we should be more open especially to researching and seeing if a lot of these claims are true.

    I know a lot of people who not only use it for pain management but swear by it.

    • Joey says:

      You’re very right! Its frustrating when people are against marijuana based on pure stigma, but things are changing! Heres to more people accepting weed in 2019!!

  • Hugo says:

    Thanks for your article on this topic.  As with most parents of my generation, this was a frequent point of discussion with my kids as they were growing up.  Although we seldom reached full agreement, I, nevertheless ended up with a decent education on the benefits of using Marijuana.  Maybe the greatest benefit was that it allowed me to open my mind, and to see that some people, athletes and non-athletes have had major changes in their life after using the product. 

    • Joey says:

      Weed has changed the lives of many! And while I doubt we’ll see athletes actually be able to use marijuana for a couple more years, its a great discussion to have!

  • Christina says:

    This is an interesting debate to think about. I have never tried marijuana, however, I don’t think I’d be opposed to trying it if it were legal. I would actually love to try a brownie! lol

    If it helps an athlete perform better, or relieve pain from playing, then, why not use it? I don’t see what the harm would be. People are so up in arms about it, yet alcohol is legal and is so much worse. 

    Let’s get it legalized everywhere and then let adults choose whether or not to use it! And of course, I would vote YES to let athletes use it. 

    • Joey says:

      Great points Christina, if it makes the athletes feel better than let them enjoy the benefits! If more people were open minded like yourself, weed would have been legal a decade ago!

  • Suzi says:

    Interesting blog!  I have heard of using CBD for skin care, but have never heard of taking in marijuana by vaping, or even edibles.  I didn’t realize that it can also be used to treat pain for athletes. I wonder what percentage of sports stars try this as an alternative to high dose painkillers, that could ultimately harm their kidneys and liver?  It’s amazing how many blogs I have read lately about the benefits of CBD. Interesting info…



    • Joey says:

      I think that lots of sports stars use marijuana, much more than we think, as claims other athletes have made support this.  You’re right, its much better than using high dose painkillers, which just have so many negatives.

  • Brenda says:

    This is a very sensitive issue to which I’d have to say no to athletes using marijuana. Where I’m from, Jamaica, marijuana is a very popular substance among young men and even some mature men as well. I must agree that it has health benefits, but when abused it is very addictive because of its euphoric effects. I think the pros and cons should be explored thoroughly as an athlete can become addicted to this substance if it’s overused. I have seen persons with drug induced psychosis due to marijuana and there are others who smoke marijuana several times throughout the day. 

    At this point, due to the fact that this is still illegal in certain proportions, allowing athletes to use weed is still controversial and should be withheld until more research is done to corroborate this.

    Great share!

  • Mike says:

    I think we are seeing the last gaps of weed opposition, especially in America.  More and more states are legalizing it for both medicinal and recreation purposes and it is going to continue to pick up steam.  The sports leagues are going to be forced to make a decision about weed in their games pretty soon.

    In my opinion they are going to have allow players to use it when they are off the field, like alcohol currently.  The real question is will athletes be allowed to use it just before a game.  That’s a little trickier i think.  I don’t think we will see that for a while if ever.

    Anyway great topic and real gets you thinking about weed and how it will change in our culture over the next decade or so.

    • Joey says:

      You make some great points Mike, thanks for sharing! We are witnessing a very unique time for weed, it will be very interesting to see how this all plays out!

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