England’s George Kruis has backed the legalisation of medical cannabis for use by sportsmen, in a wide-ranging interview with Off The Ball.
Kruis joined us alongside Dominic Day to promote its company Four Five CBD, which provides cannabidiol (CBD) products. CBD is a chemical compound extracted from the cannabis plant and is different from the psychoactive chemical, THC.
The debate is of particular relevance given ongoing concerns about the use of painkillers in sport, with both players giving their experience of pain management during their careers.
Kruis: medical cannabis should be allowed
“CBD is one thing, but medical cannabis is a completely other sector, and that is something that should be allowed for professional sportsmen,” says Kruis.
“It is not a performance-enhancer, it comes with a load of benefits and it is a completely natural product. People need to change their mindsets, and people are; laws are changing.”
Day and Kruis are keen to impress that their products are not psychoactive and the impression is of sportsmen looking to move on the conversation on recovery and pain management.
As to what impact the use of painkillers has had in the sport, Kruis and Day gave their personal experiences.
“Education is the biggest thing. Educating players as to the different methods of helping their body, training loads, and knowing when to manage them and pull them back.
“That is for the good of their career and, more importantly, after their career,” says Day.
“I accept that [I have damaged my body]. It has been seen and is probably still seen, as part of being a professional sportsman. That is something that is starting to change.”
Day recounts being called over by Saracens’ Head of Performance – Phil Morrow – pulling him up on his fitness.
While pain management needs to be a collaborative effort, coaches and players need to view medical professionals as both experts and mediators.
“The coaches and the medical team have to have a good relationship.
“The medical team has to be quite strong because there might be pressure from coaches or in terms of self-pressure,” says Kruis.
Kruis believes that changes internationally mean that the laws in the UK and Ireland are likely to follow, but the timescale is unclear.
“Within the UK, medicinal cannabis needs opening up a bit more and needs more exposure. 100% it does.
“I feel like it should at some point trickle through to sport. I am aware that I might sound a bit crazy linking that with sport, but in four or five years then things might be very different.”
How that attitudinal change will come about is via discussions in schools and in wider society, according to Dominic Day.
“It is having the exposure, but the education behind it has to be right. A lot of people would still see medical cannabis as just people trying to smoke a joint and get high.
“There is a specific reason for medical cannabis – it is prescribed. There is a massive gap between the doctors prescribing the products and the public.”