Want to hear a who’s who of famous professional athletes, of celebrity sports stars who have dominated the sports world?
Let’s narrow such a list down to exceptional competitors that have more than being world championship caliber athletes in common, athletes who are headed to the Hall of fame in many cases in their individual sports. Let’s try a list filled with Randy Moss, Tim Lincecum, Le’Veon Bell, Michael Vick, Chris Webber and Mark Stepnoski. All exceptional sports stars, all dominating at their positions and in their leagues.
But why stop there?
How about Josh Gordon, Michael Phelps, Ricky Williams, Mario Chalmers, Nate Diaz of the UFC, and Abby Wambach from the dominating U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team? The list goes on and on and on and could for a long time. So what, other than being exceptional world class athletes, do all of these sports stars have in common?
All of them are or have been marijuana users.
Absolutely all of these famous athletes were suspended by the NFL or MLB or the league they were in, or they were fined or ran into a problem with their sport’s drug policy or the legal system over marijuana use. Some simply admitted to using marijuana after their playing days, a violation that would have got them suspended when they were playing and could keep them out of their rightful place in the Hall of Fame. That in fact was the case for Mark Stepnoski, whose advocacy of marijuana legalization has caused him to be barred from his high school’s Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania, a State on the verge of legalizing marijuana.
So what is the big deal with marijuana use by professional and world championship caliber athletes in this day and age? No league, not the NFL or MLB or the NBA or the OIC test for alcohol use, and marijuana is healthier than alcohol, and it is legal for medicinal purposes in 24 states and the District of Columbia, with many more states likely to legalize soon.
So what is the argument against marijuana use by athletes? That it is a performance enhancing drug, that marijuana gives competitors an edge?
It is hard to believe that any major sport, be it the NFL or Olympic Committee or any other major sports governing body, could claim that marijuana use enhances a player’s performance. That’s just funny right there. Why would someone be charged for driving under the influence, or impaired driving, if they drive while under the effects of marijuana if it improved your focus and your wherewithal? Even in states where marijuana is legal, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, so that cannot be the answer. Sports regulating bodies cannot possibly confuse marijuana with steroids or human growth hormones or any other drug designed to give an athlete an edge.
So what is the NFL, the NBA, MLB, and every other major sports league’s problem with marijuana use by its athletes? Perhaps they punish for marijuana use because it is illegal? That can no longer be the answer in this day and age. Again, in half the country already medical marijuana use is legal with more states lining up to legalize marijuana use. Four states allow for recreational use of marijuana now, and again, more states are lining up to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.
The fact is, major sports leagues like the NFL and MLB (which allows its players to use extremely unhealthy tobacco products) have antiquated marijuana rules attached to their drug policies, and it is time for a change. All major sports leagues should eliminate marijuana from its drug discipline programs. Josh Gordon, a young, Pro Bowl caliber receiver for the Cleveland Browns, is on the verge of losing his livelihood and has lost more than a year of productive playing time for simply using marijuana. Guys like Randy Moss, The “Honey Badger” TyrannMathieu and Randy Gregory have slipped many spots and even many rounds in the NFL draft because of their affiliation with the use of marijuana.
Slipping a spot in the first round can mean the difference in millions of dollars, slipping several rounds or out of the draft all together can mean many millions of dollars. At some point a disgruntled player or agent is going to sue a major sports league over income loss from using a drug, marijuana, which is legal in many states and in most countries around the world.
Forget that, think of the good marijuana can do for many of these athletes. There is a reason that marijuana, a non-performance enhancing drug, is legal for medicinal use in almost half the country already, because it is an effective and safe pain killer. Think of all the bumps and bruises Tom Brady, Bryce Harper, Lebron James, and pro fighters and hockey players around the world must endure during a long grueling, professional season. There are 162 games in an MLB season, 82 games in an NBA season and 16 hard hitting NFL games, plus pre-season and playoffs, in the NFL. Certainly the relaxing, pain killing, safe usage of marijuana can benefit the men and women who endure such long, intense seasons.
Perhaps it will take the suspension of a serious marquee player like a Peyton Manning or a Lebron James for leagues to recognize that marijuana doesn’t belong next to steroids on any sports league’s drug policy. Maybe it will take a lawsuit by someone who tests positive because they were around someone legally using marijuana, who knows? Whatever it takes, it is certainly time for the NFL and other major sports leagues to remove marijuana from its drug discipline programs.
Image credit: Espn.
Here’s three simple, cheap (mostly free!), and sensible ways to enhance your weed experience.
1. HEMP WICK
Consider this: when you spark up, you’re inhaling everything in the immediate vicinity, including the gas from the lighter. I notice the taste right away, and it can cause a stomachache or a headache if you inhale too much. A Zippo lighter may help cut down on fumes, but if you want to be burning only what’s in the bowl, pick up a bundle of hemp wick. RAW ™ hemp wick seems to be popular and well-reputed.
Immediately, you should taste the difference, and how purely you can experience the unique flavors and aromas of your bud. To use the wick, ignite one end with a flame, then use the burning wick to light your joint/blunt/bowl (like a matchstick, but with no sulphur). Hemp wick is usually made with 100% cotton hemp and a coating of beeswax. The burn is slow, so the rope goes a long way. It’s a very worthwhile and cheap (around $2 a bundle) investment if you want to bring new dimensions to your cannabis experience.
2. HOT WATER
You may think you’re doing your lungs a better favor by using a water pipe over a spoon, but not necessarily. The idea is, the water filters and cools the smoke to be less harsh in the lungs and throat. Partly true! The smoke is cooled to some degree, and I certainly enjoy putting ice cubes in a water pipe to cool it further. However, I recently learned that using hot water pulls out more tar and gunk from your weed than cold water. The effects are a bit like a steam shower–though the smoke is hot, it’s moist, soothing, and better-tasting (if it tastes really rank, clean your bong, dude). Maybe even hot water and a squeeze of lemon juice would be delightful.
One thing I notice with using hot water, less coughing. It’s so much easier to breathe deeply, really feel the parts of my lungs expanding and where I’m not pushing to sit straight enough. The hit ends up being bigger, and the exhale is so much smoother. Speaking of breathing…
3. BREATHE DEEPER
Increase the amount of breaths you take before and after you toke. Cannabis, used properly, opens your lungs, airways, and strengthens the bronchi. Your cough should be deep, with intent, and they’ll pull up anything that shouldn’t be there. Don’t force yourself to cough, though. Your whole experience should be fluid.
Empty and fill your lungs a few times before a hit, trying to take in even more oxygen than the breath before it. Expand your chest, alternate breathing through the nose and mouth. Find a good rhythm for yourself, then at the bottom of an exhale, light your cannabis and inhale (at the same time, if you can manage). Breathe slowly, allowing your lungs to fill with smoke. You’ll be surprised to hear–holding the hit doesn’t actually get you higher. You might, from oxygen deprivation, feel more light-headed. The truth is, the first few seconds are the best, and all you need. After that, the smoke cools, changes flavor, loses the magic.
After you inhale, “hold” for a few seconds (better yet, keep inhaling oxygen after you pull), then breathe out every last bit as evenly as you can. If done with patience and awareness, you should feel high with no adverse affects; no coughing, spluttering, accidental throat burn. With this method, you allow your lungs to be better filters, and you’ll get some deep cleaning done while you chill out.