Why Some Athletes Are Using CBD

Consumer use of cannabidiol (CBD) has gone up significantly since 2014. The Farm Bill was signed into legislation in December 2018 stating that CBD oil that has been derived from hemp is now legal nationwide. Through this legislation, hemp is now removed from the federal list of controlled substances. It is now estimated that CBD consumer sales will reach approximately 1.15 billion dollars by 2020.

RELATED: What Is CBD? A Primer for Beginners

Not Prohibited in Sport

Cannabidiol is a natural compound that is derived from the buds and flowers of the hemp plant. CBD is different from the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has a different chemical makeup which has psychoactive properties. CBD does not have such properties, so there is no risk of intoxication from smoking or ingesting it.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) permits use of CBD for athletes. Other cannabinoids that contain the psychoactive properties like THC are prohibited in competition. When athletes use this natural compound, it is important that they only use pure CBD extract from the Cannabis plant that does not contain THC.

In recent news reports, NHL player Riley Cote stated that he and other NHL players he played with used CBD. According to NFL player, Martellus Bennett, he used CBD for pain and inflammation issues and so did approximately 89 percent of other NFL players.

Better Than Addictive Drugs

Smoking or ingesting CBD is not addictive like marijuana that contains THC. Some athletes have chosen to use CBD rather than use marijuana–which is not legal in all fifty states–or other pain relievers like opioids, which are highly addictive and dangerous.

Reduce Pain and Inflammation

More athletes are beginning to use CBD for reduction of pain and inflammation in their bodies. Athletes play hard and many times experience chronic pain due to the nature of sports and ensuing injuries that occur. It is important to note that use of CBD works with the Human Endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your body to positively interact with pain receptors connected to the neurotransmitter system in your brain. Using CBD could augment the receptors for homeostasis and better balance in the body.

Decrease Seizures

A seizure occurs when there is an abrupt surge of electrical activity in the brain. When someone is in the midst of a seizure, there are varying degrees to how this individual will act or look during the physical event. This excitement of the brain cells stops messages being sent from other brain cells. If someone has seizures, they don’t have a disease. However, they are experiencing symptoms of other types of disorders in their body that are negatively affecting proper brain function. Some athletes are using CBD oil to help their body’s ECS reduce the effects of seizures.

Reduce Anxiety and Improve Mood

Some athletes are using CBD to interact with the ECS in their body to decrease anxiety and improve mood. People who smoke marijuana, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), experience a feeling of a “high” due to its psychoactive properties. Cannabidiol (CBD) binds to the receptors in your ECS for possible mood improvement and reduced anxiety.

The effects of CBD derived from the Cannabis plant is still under scrutiny from some in the sports industry. However, more open-minded individuals are seeing the possible benefits of CBD use for decreased pain and inflammation, reduced seizures, and diminished anxiety and improved mood during and after their sports career.

RELATED: 4 Ways That CBD Can Help You Get More Out Of Your Workouts


1. Total US Cannabidiol (CBD) Consumer Sales – https://www.statista.com/statistics/760498/total-us-cbd-sales/

2. Athletes: 5 Things to Know About Cannabidiol – https://www.usada.org/five-things-know-about-cannabidiol/

3. Cannabis for the Win: Sports Leagues See The Light on CBD – https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickkovacevich/2018/08/01/cannabis-for-the-win-sports-leagues-see-the-light-on-cbd/#373eb2448577

4. What is a Seizure – https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics/what-seizure

5. Can CBD Oil Help Anxiety? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319622.php

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