Should the NBA let players smoke marijuana?
via AP

Should the NBA let players smoke marijuana?

#LetPlayersToke
#RoleModelsFirst
Join the conversation and vote below

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern told Uninterrupted that marijuana should be taken off the banned list. Marijuana has medicinal properties that help with pain and anxiety, properties that could benefit NBA players. For big men with chronic knee pain, the sticky icky is a godsend. However, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and promoting marijuana use to minors who look up to the players could damage the league's reputation. What do you think? 🏀 

#LetPlayersToke
#RoleModelsFirst

Since Adam Silver took the reins as NBA commissioner, the league has been one of the more progressive organizations on social issues. So it caught no one by surprise when Silver said he was open to medical marijuana use in the NBA. Would you mind if NBA players used medicinal marijuana?

NBA players go through a lot of pain when they play in the league. Sometimes, they take painkillers to manage the pain not knowing the addictive nature of the medications they are taking. Marijuana is non-habit forming, and manages pain effectively. Here is former NBA player Al Harrington with more:

When I was playing for the Denver Nuggets, I had a botched knee surgery that I got a staph infection that I ended having to get four more surgeries after that just to clean the infection out. You know, I was on all kinds of pain meds. This lady that runs this university, she seen all the medicine I had on the thing, and she was like, "Al, have you ever tried CBD?". I was just like, "Nah, never really tried." So she gave me a couple things to try and I immediately felt a difference.

When fans see athletes play through pain, we admire and glorify them to no end. But after the final whistle blows, people who the watch the games go back to their lives while athletes are left having to deal with immense pain from pushing their bodies to the limit. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a natural, non-addictive plant that could manage that pain? There is—it's called cannabis.

The cannabis plant has been used by patients suffering from chronic pain and cancer with great results. Pain patients in one particular study saw their average pain rating significantly dropped with a strain containing more than 9 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That kind of pain reduction would be extremely beneficial for athletes dealing with the sorts of aches and pains that occur over an 82-game NBA season.

Athletes are usually given pain killers to deal with their injuries. Many became addicted to those drugs, derailing careers. Marijuana's non-addictive quality makes it a safer option for athletes.

Athletes are generally under a lot of pressure. One false move and they can lose everything: glory, money, and popularity. That kind of pressure can paralyze some people from attaining their dreams or providing for their family at the level they should. Marijuana can help with that.

There are certain cannabis items that reduce anxiety without the psychedelic effect. That means athletes can perform free of worry and still play at the highest level. Time will tell whether or not marijuana is considered a performance enhancing drug, but as of now, it can help a lot of athletes get over anxiety.

If you look at U.S. lawes, marijuana is still illegal—and it is still illegal for a reason. Medicinal marijuana does have a host of benefits, but can organizations really trust the athletes to stay disciplined when using it? Owners and front office executives invest a lot of money to get players they can depend on. Much like any other drug, overusing marijuana causes a lot of problems.

Marijuana can help with a lot of things, but it still doesn't help those with addictive tendencies. If a player smokes weed, they may quickly get into other harder drugs. It's a steep slope that can spiral out of control. Allowing marijuana into the league would make athletes test their boundaries with what else they can do.

Drugs are illegal because they hurt the people who take them, and their loved ones. As long as marijuana is still illegal, the NBA should not allow their players to take it, even for medicinal purposes.

Athletes are role models whether they like it or not. Marijuana might be okay for use by adults, but impressionable children don't know any better. If professional players are allowed to use medical marijuana, their decision goes way beyond the scope of their own lives. If kids see their heroes smoking weed, they will be tempted to do it themselves.

While we know marijuana has short-term benefits, its effects on children could be disastrous for their development. If the NBA doesn't want to be looked at as the harbinger of memory loss, sluggish behavior and a litany of other issues, the league will not allow players to use marijuana.

Even though some states may have legalized marijuana, others have not and that is a problem for allowing players to use it. Here's NBA Commissioner Adam Silver explaining the issues:

I don’t see the need for any changes right now. I mean, it’s legal in certain states. But as you know, our players are constantly traveling, and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states, but no, it’s illegal in other states. And then players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana, and we’re obviously getting into trouble.

It's not all fun and games when it comes to marijuana. Scientists still don't know the long term effects of the drug, and people are already seeing memory loss and other issues associated with long term marijuana use. NBA players should set an example that smoking weed is okay.

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