CBD is everywhere these days: in food and drink recipes, skin care products, treats for pets, and now in sports.
Its presence has mostly been welcomed with open arms, but in the athletic arena, cannabis’ complicated reputation has meant a long road for CBD.
Sports & Cannabis
Cannabis was first banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2004. Before this, each sports federation decided on its own whether (or not) to allow their athletes to use it. Concerns began after some reports suggested cannabis use might give athletes an unfair advantage, and that it had the potential to alter their decision-making abilities. Despite many other studies that showed cannabis enhanced athletic performance and had many beneficial effects, the ban remained.
After the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in 2018 which legalized hemp, WADA dropped CBD from its list of banned substances, allowing athletes to use it however and whenever they choose.
CBD, THC & Cannabis: How Do They Differ?
The WADA ban was broad and included all parts of the cannabis plant, including both of its two strains: marijuana and hemp. CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp, whereas its sister THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) comes from marijauna and is best known for being the compound that gets you high. Because the two are so closely linked, people often confuse one for the other. THC has the potential to alter one’s ability to make decisions because it’s an intoxicant, but CBD is not, so WADA’s decision to remove it from their list of banned substances just makes sense.
Pro Athlete CBD Advocates
With its new legal status, CBD has gained popularity among athletes, especially since the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also stopped testing for it. After years of dealing with the adverse side-effects of over-prescribed opioids, many athletes say they use CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, as well as to improve their performance (and their lives).
Athletes have jumped on the CBD train for countless reasons, but many have reported using CBD to aid in exercise-induced inflammation, workout recovery, stress, chronic pain, and more.
Here are some notable CBD users and advocates in professional sports:
Colby Covington – MMA fighter
Derrick Lewis – MMA fighter
Derrick Morgan – NFL linebacker
Isaac Thomson – MMA fighter
Mike Tyson – Unified heavyweight champion boxer (retired)
Gina Mazany – MMA fighter
Ryan VandenBussche – NHL enforcer (retired)
Eugene Monroe – NFL offensive tackle (retired)
Chris Camozzi – MMA fighter
David Ahrens – NFL linebacker (retired)
Riley Cote – NHL winger (retired)
David Wells – MLB pitcher (retired)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik – kickboxer & MMA fighter