A lot of people are probably surprised by the news that Matt Barnes (a 15 year forward in the NBA) is claiming a large percentage of players regularly use cannabis. Athletes in all sports are supposed to have some sort of drug testing program in place. Not only for federally controlled substances, but performance enhancing drugs as well. Both of these pose potentially career-changing consequences for the high percentage of cannabis users currently playing. Athletes are subject to four random test throughout each NBA season. Once they complete those tests, they would be free to use cannabis as they please without worrying. The off-season is free from drug testing as well. These rules on drug testing do provide an opportunity for those who choose to indulge, and according to Matt Barnes, that number is around 85% of the basketball population.
Many people who play sports for fun like myself would be likely to say that consumption before a game made it much more easy to focus and get caught up in the moment of a big play. Many professional basketball players are using it for different purposes, like relieving the physical wear and tear on their bodies. It is a much safer and enjoyable alternative to alcohol, and that’s another primary reason for use among athletes. For Matt Barnes, he admitted to using it before games and that in his best games he had been under its influence. Being retired gives him the freedom to say these things, and it makes you wonder how many other guys are blazing before they arrive at the arena. It shouldn’t matter at all whether they decide to or not, as long as long as it’s not negatively affecting their performance. An athletes consistently demonstrated ability is what should determine their playing time on the floor, as long as their not abusing performance-enhancing drugs. Cannabis is not like traditional performance-enhancing drugs that boost muscle growth and are made in a lab. However, like any drug, it affects people differently and if some players indulged before a game, it could be a disaster. It should be the player’s judgment call, not the leagues on what substances to use. With marijuana legal in 8 states and medical marijuana legal in a majority of the rest, the prohibited status in the NBA is becoming more questionable. The actions of some of their players are sometimes 100 percent legal where they live or are traveling to. Use of alcohol and prescription pills remain allowed but are decreasing in popularity.
Using cannabis while strict testing and rules are in place, speaks volumes about how beneficial it is to those in the league. Some fans, as well as the sports media, will view a violation of marijuana rules as a big deal. More importantly, it will be viewed as unprofessional by the coaches and results in some serious consequences for repeated offenses. The first time a player is caught failing a test, they must simply complete a substance abuse course. After that though, they face hefty fines and larger game suspensions for each violation of the rule. It is also likely with the insane competition that a pretty good athlete can be lost about among all the other options who lack a marijuana record. The time has come for the NBA to catch up to the public’s opinion, as well as the laws being passed across the country that are legalizing and decriminalizing the plant. Studies have shown how opioid abuse has gone down in states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana and there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen within the league.
This past week I was lucky enough to escape the never-ending 6 month winter here in Michigan and visit one of my favorite destinations, the sunshine state. From my past travels I came to the conclusion that a vacation isn’t really the complete package until you’re able to experience some of the best local flavors. I knew that the possibility of smoking without any existing connections in the area could be a challenge, and decided to bring some great lakes ganja along for the journey. Even though I’m a daily smoker, I did not bring enough to meet my usual consumption. It was just one of the strategies to help me stay under the radar. Being conservative with my medicine was not really a problem because almost immediately my tolerance had drastically dropped. There was a constant temptation to burn the stash quickly because of perfect weather and a community with a very relaxing environment.
It didn’t take me long to cross paths with another smoker who was also a medical marijuana patient in Florida’s program. While out shooting hoops and hitting my vape pen, another basketball player joined the court and started shooting around with me. He acknowledged the vape cartridge, and to my surprise also told me he had even brought his own along. After hitting the “sherbert” flavored cartridge, I was in shock. Never had I hit something so tasty that still packed a strong punch when it came to potency. It was better than any of the countless brands I have tried from the dispensaries here. The medial marijuana producers in the state have really done well with what they are working with. Being limited to strictly producing non smokable forms of the plant allowed them to master the process of producing high quality medicine in vapor form. At that point I felt comfortable asking for some direction on where to find some dank buds. To my surprise the first person I met there was down to help me out. I felt pretty lucky considering how sketchy it can be for dealers to deal outside their main circle.
When it came to the buds themselves, I was able to secure a batch of some mango kush. The bag appeal was not too bad although noticeably different from what I’m use to seeing in Michigan. While the buds were covered in orange hairs and pretty dense, they lacked that light green color and were not coated in trichomes. I was not about to complain though as my new friend had gone out of his ways and it looked decent. The flavor was surprisingly fruity and it burned really well. It didn’t pack as strong of a punch as the joints I had brought along, but it definitely was a nice relief to my diminishing supply. The price was higher then what I would pay at home, but I’m sure if I sticked around for a while and made some connections, I could secure comparable pricing. The same goes for the quality of the bud. I know people have top shelf medicine down south, it’s just not as prevalent and accessible.
From my short time there I met several consumers, and even caught some wiffs of dank while walking around the neighborhood. Just as many people seem to smoke, but in a more discreet manner. With not many people enrolled in the medical marijuana program, and those enrolled not allowed to have buds, there is a greater threat of police enforcement. While I was able to find a connection relatively easy, I think it came down to getting really lucky. With some of the country’s nicest beaches and weather its a trade-off when it comes to the state’s accessibility to weed. If you plan on visiting, I would suggest bringing some of your locally grown weed along for the ride and not to plan on having a lucky encounter such as mine. I would also definitely recommend trying the vape cartridges produced there if given the chance, I guarantee they will not disappoint.
I would like to start by explaining where the love and interest of the cannabis plant stems from and why sharing/spreading information is so important.
Like many others, in my teenage years I was told by people and held the common belief that drugs are dangerous and held very little information about differences and side effects of both legal and illegal drugs. When it came to marijuana, I wouldn’t have known what it was if I smelt it from the other room or even saw it. I held the belief that your stupid if you smoke it and that it’s right up there with the other hard drugs. It wasn’t until I started having discussions with friends at school who had actually tried it and were familiar with the potential side effects, benefits, and dangers. These were people I viewed as intelligent in general and definitely had more knowledge on the subject of weed. The more I talked about it with them the more I became interested and did a small amount of research before experiencing with it.
My first experience with cannabis turned me on to it big time. There was no other experience in my life where everything was enhanced in a way that made it so easy to enjoy and appreciate. Music was something that I had considered myself passionate about but after that day it was a whole different story. The only way to describe it is being able to take in every musical note and focus with such clarity without any distraction. This experience was clearly 1oo% recreational and enjoyable but I still knew little about it’s benefits to both healthy and especially sick people.
This changed when I saw videos and information everywhere of people experiencing a complete turnaround in their health from using cannabis. The list of diseases that it either treats or heals is too long to list. The number of medications it could replace is staggering and the number of side effects it could eliminate is even higher. I watched a man with violent seizures stop them seconds after using medical marijuana in its natural form. It reduces the number of these episodes dramatically and with continued treatment has even stopped them. This is just one serious aliment and yet it’s been illegal for a period of over 70 years for both sick and recreational users.
The moment I realized I needed to do something for the cause was after I watched my aunt battle cancer in its late stages. Her appetite was gone and she was in way too much pain to do anything. The chemo therapy made her nauseous even though she wasn’t eating. I finally got her to try a cannabis edible and she managed to get some of it down through our help. Within 30 minutes she told me all the pain was gone and it was wonderful. She could feel the breeze through the window and actually ate a small meal. This changed my life forever and I knew that there was true potential in this demonized plant. Not long after that she passed, but I know this relief can help others and be used in time to give these suffering people the quality of life they deserve.
All of these events in my life made me want to write about this plant and the people who use it. Whether that be legislation or just interesting information, the goal is that someone learns about and maybe even personally benefits from this medicine. If this underrated medicine interests you and you’d like to read and discuss about it then follow my blog and share your thoughts!