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Australian basketball star Lauren Jackson seeks medical cannabis exemption

Jackson says cannabis has been key to managing her chronic pain and helping her get back on the court.

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Credit: Instagram/levinhealth

One of Australia’s top basketball stars, Lauren Jackson, has applied for a cannabis exemption ahead of her court comeback later this year.

Lauren Jackson, who is widely considered one of Australia’s best female basketball players, is hoping to be granted an exemption to use medical cannabis when she returns to the court, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Jackson, 40, retired from the sport six years ago due to an ongoing struggle with chronic pain, having undergone various surgeries throughout her career for a degenerative knee injury.

The sports star has spoken publicly in recent weeks about her use of medical cannabis, announcing on her Instagram that she was joining the sports advisory board of Levin Health, an Australian sports science and medical cannabis company, developing “innovative solutions” for chronic pain and concussion.

Speaking at the time Jackson said: “From a personal standpoint, I finished playing basketball with knee, hip and back issues and was thinking about medicinal cannabis to deal with chronic pain as a safe alternative to other medications I had been previously prescribed. After discussing this with my doctor I was provided with a prescription and my body is starting to feel much better than before. I am very happy to help the Levin Health team try to reduce the stigma associated with medicinal cannabis and provide my insight for their researchers.”

Today (Wednesday ​​2 February) Jackson has announced that she will come out of retirement to play for her home-town team Albury-Wodonga Bandits in the second-tier NBL1 in April. 

The four-time Olympic medallist said cannabis has been the key to helping her play again, after years of relying on painkillers.

Jackson said she has applied for a therapeutic use exemption but would have to stop playing if her request  is denied.

“That’s been critical in my ability to recover and come back, just the way I’ve been training has helped me a lot,” she said. “I’m really thankful I got on that trial and I’ll explore my options to get that exemption.

“The last few games, there was so much pain and that ended my career right there, but I don’t feel that anymore.”

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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