Should Sha’Carri Richardson & Other Athletes Be Able to Smoke Weed?

Sha'carri Richardson

The world of sports stood still the day Sha’Carri Richardson won the 100-meter race in Oregon this year back in June. But the world at large unleashed its support for the Olympic contender when it was released by the Anti-Doping Agency that the athlete had failed a drug test for marijuana. Whether you were on Sha’Carri’s side or not, the moral of the violation stems the real question we all should be asking: why can’t athletes smoke cannabis? 

Was Sha’Carri Richardson in the Wrong?

While the rules are clear in ink, the majority of people were in favor of not punishing Sha’Carri Richardson for her cannabis use. Marijuana is considered a “Substance of Abuse” per the World Anti-Doping Code. But this is a new rule that they just added to their Prohibited List this year since so many athletes used cannabis outside their sport. 

Now, doesn’t that seem backward? 

As cannabis continues to be legalized country-wide in the US, more restrictions are being put on it. As confusing as that statement is, the lines drawn for athletes and cannabis use seem to be outdated in terms of limiting it as a “Substance of Abuse”. It’s not classified as a performance-enhancing drug (Sha’Carri Richardson was given a one-month suspension because she didn’t use it to help her during the meet) and can actually hinder an athlete’s performance. 

And this is why spectators are demanding the suspension be lifted for Sha’Carri. If it doesn’t help her ability in the sport, why does it matter? This isn’t the first time an athlete has been suspended from competing in the Olympics, and in other sports industries. For a substance that can bring relief to an athlete and not improve their performance, what’s the harm? 

Why is Weed Taboo for Athletes? 

Being a pro athlete, in any field, Olympic or not, is extremely deteriorating on the body. Look at what happens to star athletes later on in life: 

  1. Calvin Johnson retired young worried for the quality of his life/health after suffering multiple concussions/injuries from his NFL career as “Megatron”. 
  2. Yao Ming had constant injuries to his ankles and feet because of his height while an NBA player. 
  3. Daunte Culpepper had a dwindling NFL career after a severe knee injury. 
  4. Steve Young from the 49ers retired after sustaining multiple head injuries in just one season, his last, in 1999. 

This doesn’t include regular injuries at the Olympics, like:

  1. Bradie Tennell fractured vertebrae while competing in the 2015 U.S. Championships for figure skating. It took 2 years of physical therapy, surgeries, and pilates to return to the ice. 
  2. Samir Sat Said broke his leg while landing from his vault attempt at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. 
  3. Markus Schairer fractured a vertebrae while snowboarding in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Peyong Chang. 
  4. John Ravares injured his knee during the 2014 Winter Olympics and had to sit out for the remainder of the Games and the NHL season that year. 

Pain is inevitable and inflammation is a serious issue they have to combat with every major event where they push their bodies for their sport. These two major factors for athletes could easily be relieved with cannabis use, yet the rules make it clear that a natural remedy like marijuana is off-limits. 

Sha’Carri Richardson admitted to her cannabis use for emotional aid after learning of the death of her biological mother by a reporter after her record-breaking race. To ease the stress and panic she felt emotionally, the track runner turned to marijuana for relief. Cannabis does not increase performance for athletes like steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs do. 

Why is it Not Allowed for Athletes? 

Well-known pro athlete stars have been chronicled for smoking weed, during and after their sports careers. Some big names are:

  1. Kareen Abdul-Jabbar currently smokes to treat nausea-induced headaches. 
  2. Michael Phelps was busted for smoking a bong during the height of his gold medal wins, but you can imagine how the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis would help his body recover from his meets. 
  3. Michael Vick, Randy Moss, Ricky Williams, and Josh Gordon were all in the NFL when they were found to be smoking marijuana at various points during their careers. 
  4. Arnold Schwarzenegger was known to smoke a little weed during his body-building days. 

Anyone can practically get a medical marijuana card these days. But our favorite athletes are punished, suspended, and stripped of medals for smoking when they have real issues that could be remedied with cannabis. Taboo has always been a term used in tandem with pot and sports. 

If athletes want to turn to a natural alternative for pain, inflammation, anxiety, emotional distress, instead of prescription medications, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? 19 states in America have legal recreational use now, with 37 states having legalized medical marijuana laws instated as well. Even the THC limit has increased from 0.03% to 1% for industrial hemp farmers. 

Sha’Carri Richardson was the first athlete to have such an explosive worldwide reaction in her favor after her drug testing results came out. Is the Anti-Doping World Agency in the wrong for enacting the new cannabis prohibition just this year when it’s clear that most everyone thinks the track runner shouldn’t be punished for it? 

Why Athletes Should Be Able to Smoke Weed

The benefits of smoking weed are well known in this new era of legalizing the plant. And boycotting them from our athlete’s borderlines a question of ethics to their physical and mental health. With Sha’Carri’s one-month suspension in play since it wasn’t a performance-enhancing drug that she took, the consensus seems to be why should she be punished at all? 

Mental well-being is just as important as physical. Is it wrong to deny athletes the option for relief with cannabis use? Puff on a joint while you ponder your own answer with legal weed aka Delta 8 from the #1 online store. 

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