Let’s face it. It’s obvious to almost everyone at this point in the game that there are powerful benefits to consuming cannabis as a way to improve one’s quality of life. A lot of progress has been made on the frontier of legalization, but it’s still tedious at best when so many are in need of a cure or means of coping with the multitude of conditions that cannabis is known to relieve. And, as difficult as legalizing medical cannabis is, it gets even harder in the realm of cannabis and student athletes.
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What happens when a sport known to take a toll on the body of young players begins to push them to the edge their endurance? Children under 18 who sustain severe sports injuries and the like can be prescribed NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin for inflammation (damaging to the liver, digestive system, and especially kidneys). They may get acetaminophen (toxic to the liver) and other pharmaceutical drugs for pain, including even opioids. So, it’s established that kids, with adult permission, are already bringing drugs to school, some of which have a side effect of euphoria, or feeling high.
Some of the pills are addictive and lethal. Aside from that, they can cause a staggering, stuporous intoxication far more profound than any cannabis high, as well as decreased performance in the classroom and on the field. In many cases they do not even provide the desired relief. In contrast, very small amounts of cannabis, an ancient natural medicine, often can provide comparable or superior relief without the danger to internal organs, or the threat of hospitalization for addiction, or death. And its mild mood elevation doesn’t render the consumer unconscious or unable to function, as opioids often do. For these reasons and more, parents and doctors are turning to the non-toxic herb as a viable medication for these suffering student athletes.
Throwing in the towel
Treyous Jarrells is one such athlete. He turned away from his future as a running back at Colorado State University due to injuries and the only effective treatment he was able to find, cannabis.
After years of going hard on the gridiron, the game had taken a toll on his body, mainly his knees. Surgery only worsened his daily pain. Prescription pills left him feeling lethargic at best, while the chronic suffering persisted. Cannabis was Jarrells’ last hope for coping with the pain, and it was a successful choice. The herb is proven to work well for sports injuries, especially brain damage, concussions, and the miscellaneous injuries common in football. It’s all in the science.
In the end he chose to leave the playing field out of fear of losing his scholarship for smoking cannabis. “In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘I can’t do it anymore with the pain. I can’t take it. I have to get my body right.’ I knew if I stepped back from the game, they wouldn’t drug-test me, but I could still get my degree,” he said in a sit-down with USA Today.
It’s sad to think that someone with so much promise as an athlete and student had to suffer not only with the physical pain stemming from injury, but also with the emotional trauma of having to leave behind something he passionately loved. It’s especially pathetic that he wasn’t able to get the treatment he needed—mainly because of outdated rules, laws, and standards founded on ignorance and prejudice.
Growing forward into a bright future
But today is a new day for Treyous Jarrells. He is one of 102,620 licensed cannabis growers in the wonderful state of Colorado. Currently he is producing and bottling a unique spray for the plant that can help to maximize growth and potency. Some would label his story a tragedy; but at the root of it all, it seems the chips have landed right for Jarrells:
“These two semesters I wasn’t able to play ball, I was able to make connections for my career. If I would have played ball, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities because I wouldn’t have been in the places to make those connections. Right now, a lot of players who didn’t get into the league, they’re lost right now because they didn’t make connections…’’
Hopefully, as cooler heads prevail for the magical healing herb in the United States, sports organizations and schools will become more open to treating it as a medicine rather than as a dangerous drug threatening the foundation of civilized society. Because, in the end, if you have athletes choosing to leave the field because they aren’t being taken care of, THAT is a bigger problem than “marijuana”.