Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson just wanted to hit the gym to pick up her kids again, but thanks to medical cannabis, she’s gearing up for the World Cup, an astonishing 25 years after her debut.
At the age of 41, Jackson was lured out of international retirement in June, ahead of the FIBA World Cup here in Australia, which starts on September 22.
It’s a fairytale return for Australia’s greatest female basketball player ever – but it wouldn’t have been possible without medicinal cannabis.
Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson makes remarkable comeback for the Opals thanks to medical cannabis
Jackson’s doctor, James Stewart, told the Daily Mail Australia that he is impressed with what she’s been able to achieve since using medicinal cannabis to deal with the chronic, debilitating pain she’d been dealing with since her retirement.
“You can tell she (Jackson) is so sincere that she would never have thought of making a comeback,” he said.
“She never thought she would ever get on the pitch, let alone play for Australia and play how good she is. She destroys it.
“Besides making the team, she was all about being able to run with her kids. Play with them before [medicinal cannabis] was a struggle for her.’
Lauren Jackson with Dr. James Stewart, who told Daily Mail Australia about the massive impact medicinal cannabis has had on her life, both in and out of court
Jackson, who was incredibly emotional when Opals coach Sandy Brondello told me she made the team, said it would never have been possible without the help of Dr. Stewart and treatment with extracts of the plant.
“Making an official return to the world stage in a sport I love is just an incredible feeling,” Jackson said.
“I didn’t return to court until April earlier this year and my treatment plan before I started playing with medicinal cannabis again is playing a big part in my recovery from chronic pain.”
Incredibly, Jackson made her international debut 25 years ago, with her last appearance prior to her retirement in 2013. She last played in a FIBA World Cup in 2010.
The Australian legend had no plans to return to competitive play after a partial right knee replacement and an ACL tear followed by a staph infection.
But a successful comeback playing NBL1 for her hometown of Albury clearly rekindled the inner passion.
“I had stopped playing basketball with sore ankles and was able to get a prescription through my doctor, which made my ankles feel much better and gave me more exercise to do more of the things I love,” Jackson said.
“It’s just been incredible for my recovery.”
Lauren Jackson (left) playing for Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Opals legend now gears up for a 41 . World Cup
dr. Stewart is one of Australia’s foremost medical minds embracing the benefits of cannabinoids – but despite athletes like Jackson having broken some of the stigma, he said it’s still an uphill battle to get some of the incredible benefits. to convince.
“I think the sports stars and what Lauren is doing is just great for reducing the stigma because it’s not our parents’ fault that they have this view of cannabis,” he said.
“It’s what was forced upon them by the war on drugs, by all the media campaigns. And they just think it drives you crazy.
“So we’re just trying to destigmatize that, to say it’s very safe and it should be considered someone taking a Panadol,” said Dr Stewart.
dr. James Stewart is one of Australia’s foremost people when it comes to cannabinoids
The most studied and common cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis and is why cannabis is used recreationally.
CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive, and as Jackson and Dr. Stewart revealed, it has tremendous benefits when it comes to managing chronic pain.
dr. Stewart revealed that Jackson was a “mold of her former self” when she retired from being so ravaged by injuries after a long career.
“When she finished her career in the United States, she happily said that she had consumed the largest cocktail of drugs. She said she was a shadow of a woman,’ he said.
“It should have been the happiest time of her life, but she was a zombie.”
Lauren Jackson makes an incredible comeback for Australia at the World Cup in September
dr. Stewart explains that the comeback simply started with a desire to get back to the gym.
“She tried to go back to the gym only for personal purposes, but she couldn’t because her knee would continue to explode and cause so much pain,” he said.
‘Then we started on the [cannabis] process and what she found was that her knee didn’t explode and didn’t hurt her.
“Then it progressed just well enough to train a few times a day. And that allowed her to get back on the track.”
Lauren Jackson recently returned to the Seattle Storm to celebrate her former teammate Sue Bird
Unfortunately, cannabis is on the World Anti Doping Agency’s banned list – meaning Jackson had to stop taking the medication as soon as she started playing again.
She is currently awaiting the outcome of a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), which will allow her to reuse the plant to relieve her chronic pain and improve her recovery.
dr. Stewart has been working on the waiver request since March and admitted he is frustrated with the conservative nature of the WADA board, which he says is not open to new life-changing treatments.
Lauren Jackson has played 220 games for the Opals and is a four-time WNBA MVP
“The reason it’s still banned is because it’s still considered an illegal substance. It is still classified as a narcotic. So it’s still classified as something illegal,” he explained.
‘I was at war with them’ [WADA] .. What do I have to prescribe to be approved? They won’t get addicted and it won’t mess them up.
‘It’s not quite right. It’s really frustrating…but I know they do some [TUEs] then the floodgates will open,” said Dr Stewart.
Jackson joined the sports advisory board of leading sports science company Levin Health earlier this year to address the broader issue of chronic pain from sports and also the stigma surrounding medicinal cannabis.
dr. Stewart is one of the company’s medical advisors, with legendary AFL coaches Damien Hardwick and Alastair Clarkson also serving as fierce medical cannabis advocates alongside Jackson on the board.
LR Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, Lauren Jackson and Dr James Stewart are indispensable ambassadors for the benefits of medical cannabis
NRL legend Andrew Johns and champion jockey Damien Oliver complete the all-star team of athletes whose lives have been changed by the treatment.
The first Australian player ever to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Jackson, who played 220 games for the Opals, is considered one of the world’s greatest female basketball players of all time.
She is a four-time WNBA MVP; and won titles in the US, Australia, Spain and Russia, as well as three Olympic silver medals and one bronze.
Lauren Jackson played for Australia at the 2013 FIBA Oceanic Championships just before retiring
Australia’s only world title came in 2006 – a tournament in which Jackson captained, and she will aim to add to the burgeoning medal collection in September.
It’s not just any old comeback either – Jackson is thriving.
Over the weekend, Jackson played for Albury in the NBL1, casually dropping 40 points with a remarkable 25 rebounds.
Undoubtedly, the whole country hopes that she can repeat those exploits for the Opals and achieve a gold medal.
The Opals, who are the world’s number three, are aiming to build on their previous stellar World Cup achievements, having won silver in 2018 and bronze in 2014.
They have drawn Group C, with group matches against France, Serbia, Japan, Mali and Canada, and the tournament kicks off on September 22 in Sydney.