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Steve Kerr Admits Using Cannabis for Back Pain, Advocates for Softer Stance on Bans for Athletes

The head coach of the Golden State Warriors may have just become the head coach for cannabis reform in professional athletics.

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If you’ve followed the NBA at all over the last few seasons, you know that the Golden State Warriors are one of the greatest teams on a planet. Though their last season ended in disappointment thanks to the heroics of superhuman athlete Lebron James, the Warriors still notched a record-setting regular season record. The mastermind behind this superstar team was former player turned head coach Steve Kerr, but intense back pains kept him out of coaching for much of last season. 

In a surprising announcement, Kerr recently came out to claim that he has used cannabis to treat his back injury on multiple occasions. During last week’s CSN Bay Area podcast, the head coach admitted to trying to treat his condition with medical marijuana, a risky move considering the NBA’s strong anti-cannabis stance. Although Kerr admits that the plant didn’t help his pain as much as he had hoped, he still claims that it was worth trying.  

On top of that, Kerr also advocated that both the NBA and NFL soften their restrictions on cannabis use, especially for the benefit it offers over highly addictive opiates. He focused in on the NFL, which is not only the most physically taxing of all professional sports, but also has some of the harshest penalties for players who use cannabis. During the podcast, Kerr argued that cannabis is miles ahead of Vicodin as far as what’s good for pain, even if he isn’t necessarily a “pot person." 

"I would hope so, and I'm not a pot person. It doesn't agree with me. I tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I'm not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you're an NFL player, in particular, and you got lot of pain, I don't think there's any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin," Kerr said.

The NBA also has marijuana on their banned substances list, but unlike the NFL, does make medical exceptions to that policy. Since Kerr’s comments got around, he remained focused on treating his statement as a pain relief issue and not a cannabis one. During the interview, Kerr expressed his belief that marijuana bans in professional sports should be lifted, claiming that the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives. 

Though cannabis didn’t work for Kerr the way it does for many others, having an advocate who doesn’t use regularly use marijuana may be even more critical to the movement than one who does. Despite the incompatibility with his back pain, Kerr knows that using the medicinal plant for pain relief is still miles better than getting hooked on opiates.  

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