Americans are increasing their support for access to marijuana now more than ever. And it is not just medical marijuana - which has been legal in some parts of the country for some time now - but all cannabis. The story of Riley Cote, a former hockey player, is revealing in more than one way how marijuana can help top athletes. Hated by the opposing teams, this former strongman never hesitated to face adversity to defend his teammates. He is now a cannabis advocate.

Sports leagues have their rules

Like all other businesses and employer-employee relationships, professional sports leagues have rules regarding substance use. These rules are developed between player unions and leagues (or teams), and all have prohibited the use of marijuana. The problem, of course, is that marijuana can be a potent drug. Given the materially damaging nature of some sports, medical cannabis can be a valuable alternative to painkillers and alcohol prescription. That does not prevent the players to fight for it like Riley Cote.

Cote got introduced to marijuana at 15

Riley Cote was 15 years old when he took cognizance of marijuana in Canada more precisely in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was a social smoker and discovered the positive uses of marijuana when his sister used this drug to help her fight multiple sclerosis. He even gathered his money to help in the research in the fight for multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Marijuana boosted his hockey career

Professional hockey is a challenging sport requiring a lot of physical input from the players. When he was 20, Riley Cote joined the Toronto Maple Leafs. He took full stock of the therapeutic help of cannabis as he fully deployed himself in the games He thus consumed marijuana to reduce his pain, his nervousness which prevented him to sleep. "It was a positive experience, it helped to tranquilize m my nerves. My role as a strong man has, of course, contributed to my many wounds There is a reason why you go back to something—some would argue that you are addicted to it, but it was not the case for me. It is a fine healing energy. We are trying to keep things in equilibrium, and keep things together, and I think cannabis does an excellent job at a spiritual level, and a mental intelligibility stage to bring tranquillity to oneself," Riley Cote explained.

Cote was devoted to clean medicine and botanical health

Riley Cote became famous when he joined the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006. After the efforts and bruises or a swollen shoulder after a game, the left winger went to marijuana to relive his pain. He would not take any medication prescribed by doctors as he was particularly committed to clean medicine and botanical health and healing during his eight years with the Philadelphia Flyers. "When you take pharmaceuticals, it is not the same. Cannabis is a spirited plant medicine, and pharmaceutical is not. I think it is dispirited actually. In my humble opinion, it ruins the cycle of life and the way you are supposed to operate," Cote said.

NHL closed-eye policy on cannabis

Even though the players of the National Hockey League were not tested for marijuana, its consumption was considered as taboo. Riley Cote was not the only professional player who was consuming cannabis. "Professional football players regularly got suspension for failing cannabis drug tests. But I never heard a hockey player being into trouble for marijuana. The NHL is not that severe regarding the consumption of marijuana." Is it on the league's list of prohibited substances? "There are occasional random tests thrice a year and inside those tests, there are three tests: A, B, and C. A is for performance enhancing drugs. B tests for street drugs, and then C is a placebo." Currently some 50 percent of NHL players consume cannabis. "The idea of me talking about it, and my positive experiences seemed intimidating for my career and things that I loved. So, I quietly did it regularly. That is how I managed it all, when I was at my residence that is what I did."

The reason behind his retirement

Riley Cote has only played 3 NHL seasons, but during this time he has made a name for himself. In retirement since the summer of 2010, the Canadian is still in the hockey world, who has held the position of assistant coach with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League (AHL). "Although there was still a year to my contract at the end of the 2010 season, my body could no longer follow. Nevertheless, I do not regret my decision. It was my choice and that was what allowed me to have a career in this environment, "said Cote.

Although his team has not won the honors since then, the former Raiders loves his new mandate and wants to climb the ranks of this environment. "The transition went very well as I knew this beautiful organization. I am happy to be there as my ultimate goal is to have a contract as a coach in the NHL. However, I still have time and I want to win the Calder Cup with the Phantoms first, "an ambitious Riley Cote told.

Cote founded the Hemp Heals Foundation

Riley Cote is also a full fledge marijuana advocate and founded the Hemp Heals Foundation. Its main objective is to promote sustainable agriculture, sustainable health and clean natural medicine. "We must keep our bodies nourished with more plant based whole foods, help keep our mind, body and spirits healthy," we can read on their website. He is also part and parcel of the non-profit organization "Athletes For Care" with five other former pro athletes. This is an initiative for an alternative healing platform for athletes. "We help athletes to resources such as cannabis and hemp. But there are also other types of healing like meditation and yoga," Riley Cote concluded.

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