Whether it be soothing the pain of lingering injuries or dealing with the toll of a high-stress job where all eyes are on them, cannabis can be particularly therapeutic for athletes. Today we’re celebrating eight superstars who’re making their mark on the industry and advocating for destigmatizing the plant so that more athletes can benefit from cannabis.
Retired NFL star lineman Eugene Monroe was the first active NFL player to publicly push for the league to accept cannabis for pain management, instead of relying on opioids. His statement earned him a public rebuke from his coach, but that didn’t stop him. He now works with medical marijuana company Green Thumb Industries, as well as a number of other pro-weed organizations, and gives public talks on the benefits of cannabis.
Avery Collins runs high — high speeds, high mile counts, and… just high. The ultramarathoner has given a ton of interviews on how THC has elevated his performance and made him fall deeper in love with the sport. As a result, he’s the only endurance runner sponsored by a weed company: The Farm, from Boulder, CO. He gets a signing bonus, travel expenses and a discount at the dispensary as part of his deal, according to SB Nation.
Greta Gaines has a hell of a Wikipedia page — extreme snowboarder, MTV host, singer/songwriter, and friend of Uma Thurman. Gaines is also a prominent weed advocate. She’s the CEO of Love + Hemp, a CBD skincare brand, and sits on the advisory board of NORML. She also supports Women Grow, a Denver organization that promotes female leadership in the weed industry.
Former NFLer Ricky Williams runs Highsman, which is perhaps the best weed company name of them all — made even better by the fact that he actually won the Heisman Trophy (twice). Williams is another former football player who advocates for the league to accept the drug instead of suspending players who use it. He sells merch, as well as cannabis strains he says he personally tested — like sativa “Pregame,” hybrid “Halftime” and indica “Postgame.” The man knows his branding.
Flavie Dokken has been a bodybuilder, ultrarunner, and Army grunt — and throughout it all, she’s been a stoner. Dokken’s first foray into the industry was, like Avery Collins, with The Farm in Boulder, where she was a store and purchasing manager. She then partnered with Wana Brands in 2018 to break stigmas around cannabis and sport. She next went deeper into the industry with BDSA, a cannabis market research firm, and Leaflogix, a cannabis-focused POS platform. She now works with Hammer Nutrition, which sells CBD supplements as well as other athletic products.
Hall of Fame Red Sox player David Ortiz — a.k.a. Big Papi — has just announced a partnership with Rev Brands for a new line of “Papi Cannabis” products, to be sold in Massachusetts dispensaries soon. He’s curated a selection of “Sweet Sluggers” with strains hand-picked by Ortiz, like “Black Mamba #7,” “Motorbreath #15,” and “Bootylicious #4.”
Snowboarder Nora Beck is sponsored by lifestyle-focused, Oregon-based dispensary Tokyo Starfish, whose merch she often showcases on social media. It’s a natural fit since the Tokyo owners were all in the snowboarding industry before they opened a dispensary — which is not the biggest leap, if you know any snowboarders.
NBA superstar Kevin Durant has long been an advocate for weed use among athletes and has invested in cannabis businesses before. Last year, K.D. teamed up with an equally big name in cannabis, Weedmaps. He’s said he wants to use his massive platform to destigmatize cannabis use — which is still officially banned by the NBA.