Over 200 athletes, coaches, medical professionals, and sports fans came together virtually on Saturday for the ACHEM Global Health Summit: Athletes and Associations to discuss the integration of cannabis into sports medicine. United by shared values and a common vision of health equity, summit attendees participated in the one-day virtual summit, which provided attendees with a full slate of educational and informational cannabis programming curated by ACHEM and its coalition partners.
The United States Cannabis Council (USCC) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) were title sponsors for this event. Athletes and Associations also featured Columbia Care and Vicente Sederberg LLP as sponsors.
Athletes and Cannabis
Athletes are banned from consuming cannabis for a myriad of reasons – health risks, alleged performance-enhancing capabilities, and the belief that consuming cannabis violates “the spirit of sport”. Despite this, many have increasingly embraced the plant for its health and wellness potential. However, these athletes are stymied by the antiquated, punitive, and non-scientific regulations enforced by sports organizations. ACHEM created the Athletes and Associations edition of its Global Health Summit to capture those sentiments and provide attendees with the resources they need to advocate for long-overdue changes to sports governing bodies.
Athletes and Associations was the second event in the Association for Cannabis Health and Medicine (ACHEM) Global Health Summit series and covered many topics relating to cannabis and sports medicine. Following a keynote address from Dr. Rachel Knox, ACHEM Board Chair, attendees participated in sessions such as Cannabinoid Sports Medicine, Health Equity in Sports, and Sports Policy Reform. The event also featured a wide range of partners, speakers, and facilitators including former NFL linebacker and CBD entrepreneur Lofa Tatupu; MPP President and CEO Toi Hutchinson; Dr. Bonni Goldstein, pediatrician and Founder of Canna-Centers Wellness & Education; cannabinologist Dr. Sunil Aggarwal; retired NFL player, trailblazing cannabis advocate, and businessman Marvin Washington; MMA fighter Elias Theodorou; ACHEM Speakers Guild; Doctors for Cannabis Regulation; American Cannabis Nurses Association; Cannabis Nurses Network, and more. Interspersed throughout the schedule of events for the day were opportunities to network with summit speakers and sponsoring organizations at the Expo and Networking sessions. Attendees also were invited to take a moment to relax and recenter themselves at a yoga session with SannaOhana Yoga & Wellness.
“The summit was a powerful example of ACHEM’s mission to serve communities and improve the accessibility of health and wellbeing in action,” says Toi Hutchinson, President and CEO of the MPP. “At MPP, we’re working to foster inclusive legalization, policies, and practices across the cannabis industry. Events like ACHEM’s Global Health Summit help us realize our goal. I believe this event will have a long-lasting impact on athletics and advance conversation and action towards normalizing cannabis to achieve health equity in sports.”
Throughout the summit, participants heard directly from these sports and medical professionals and learned about the hardships facing athletes who embrace cannabis. Elias Theodorou shared the story of his exhausting 5-year journey to acquire a medical use exemption for cannabis as an MMA fighter. His struggle shocked and inspired attendees to push for the inclusion of cannabis in sports medicine. Professional rugby player Anna Symonds discussed her use of cannabinoids for health purposes and detailed the difficulties with drug testing in an emerging sport in the United States. Marvin Washington brought his history as an NFL player and explained that many current players support the use of cannabis but do not do so publicly for fear of the consequences. They also prompted discussions about the future of sports medicine and how cannabis can greatly improve the health and lives of athletes.
ACHEM seeks to build awareness and competency in the medicinal and clinical applications of cannabis science. The Global Health Summit series creates a space for people from different industries and backgrounds to learn about cannabis in a supportive environment, stay at the leading edge of innovation in cannabis, and join forces to advocate for change in healthcare and medicine. Athletes and Associations took this mission a step further by focusing on the implications of cannabis in sports medicine for athletes, coaches, trainers, and the associations that support them. ACHEM plans to host a series of community watch parties featuring summit panels to advance health equity in sports.
Association for Cannabis Health and Medicine (ACHEM)
ACHEM, the industry’s leading coalition of BIPOC cannabis trailblazers and thought leaders, provides a reliable and powerful resource of cannabis knowledge by redefining health equity and combining it with evidence-based scientific research, sharpened critical thinking skills, continuous interaction with innovation and new scientific information, and ethical loyalty to pass our knowledge on to the next generation of all health professionals.