As the sports world battles the use of performance-enhancing drugs, one substance almost always slips under the radar — cannabis.
But according to the new book “Runner’s High” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Josiah Hesse, its use is rife in professional sports.
Former Denver Nuggets basketball player Kenyon Martin estimates that 85 percent of the players in the NBA use cannabis. Ex-Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Riley Cote reveals that at least half the players in the NHL do the same.
Cannabis use appears to be at its highest in the NFL, with one-time Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett claiming that nearly 90 percent of professional football players rely on it, mostly to manage pain, instead of dabbling in opioids that can lead to serious side effects and addiction.
“Every game you saw me in, I was medicated,” said Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving in an Instagram post where he smoked a blunt before announcing his retirement in March 2019.
“I smoked two blunts before every game,” admitted Cowboys’ defensive lineman Shaun Smith in an interview with Bleacher Report in 2019. “When I smoke, I can focus and actually do the job I have. I feel like nobody can stop me when I was out there. It’s the best thing for me.”