Al Harrington, the former NBA forward and founder of cannabis company Viola, is championing medical cannabis in basketball.
“The day-to-day pain management issues that players deal with can be dealt with through cannabis,” Harrington said of athletes who are often prescribed pain relievers following surgery, including highly addictive opioids. “Something that is all natural and nowhere near as harmful as the stuff that they’re using now.”
Medical experts endorse CBD as a less harmful pain-management option than opioids, which hit crisis levels in 2017 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 68 percent of the more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths were caused by prescription or illicit opioids. This year, baseball was affected when 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died of an overdose caused mostly by fentanyl and oxycodone. Unlike opioids, CBD is not addictive.
“CBD should certainly be allowed for all kinds of athletes. It’s much safer than the other junk that they use,” said Peter Grinspoon, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and board member for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.
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