Why the sporting industry needs to allow the use of CBD

While hype-driven CBD products are embedding themselves into almost every industry, the world’s major sporting leagues are still lagging behind.

Earlier this month, the Leaf Desk covered a story on how CBD could be the miracle cure to save athletes from debilitating injuries and brain traumas. However, there is currently no avenue for sporting stars to use the plant-based ailment, and CBD is banned in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and English Premier League.

Former NFL star Rob Gronkowski recently revealed he’s endorsing CBDMedic brand Abacus Health Products after asserting that their cannabidiol products aided his sports injuries, describing the plant compound as the “most safe alternative way that a player can deal with pain”.

“I’m here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their position on CBD, whether that’s the NBA, MLB, or NFL,” said Gronkowski at a press conference.

“It’s just time.”

No safety net for sports stars

CBD has been heralded by many as a millennial marketing scheme with little to no medical benefits. However, according to scientific research, CBD oil can help reduce inflammation and prevent the development of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) – the damage commonly caused to muscles when constantly exercising.

The risk associated with being a professional sports player is huge, with many athletes being one injury away from ending their careers and being left without a safety net of experience in another career path.

Former Stoke City footballer Alan Hudson retired early through injury before eventually becoming homeless, having to survive on pension payments of £500 per month.

Ex-Charlton defender Richard Rufus, who was once touted as the next great English centre-back, also suffered at the hands of numerous injuries, filing for bankruptcy just years after retiring from professional football.

With this in mind, more needs to be done to prevent footballers from overexerting themselves and becoming prone to injuries. Similarly, more should also be done to enable better aftercare for when inevitable injuries arise.

Another issue is that the go-to pain medication for sports stars is often opiate-based. A plethora of former sports stars are now addicted to heroin after initially being given opiate painkillers for sporting injuries – a miserable reality that could potentially be avoided with the use of CBD.

Ex-professional NBA star Chris Herren has been publicly open about his previous struggle with heroin use after starting off on prescription pills while playing for the Boston Celtics.

After his drug abuse ended his accomplished career, Chris now spends the majority of his time increasing awareness about substance abuse and aiding other addicts in recovery via his various projects, books, and films.

Earlier this year, he also opened his own holistic substance recovery wellness centre, Herren Wellness, to help addicts on the path to becoming drug free.

Sports stars blazing the trail for CBD

UFC fighter Nate Diaz is a strong advocate for CBD use in professional sports. As a professional mixed martial arts performer, he has to endure lengthy hardcore workouts every day, and he states CBD “helps with the healing process and inflammation”.

Although he was previously issued a warning for publicly vaping CBD oil during an in-competition period, Diaz and his boxer brother went on to open a CBD-based nutrition company catering towards other sports professionals.

Professional golfer Bubba Watson announced his new partnership with cannabidiol company cbdMD earlier this year, stating that he had personally experienced the benefits of the products.

Former NBA star Lamar Odom recently developed his own line of CBD products called Odom 7 after stating that “CBD is a miracle drug, and it’s a drug I’m proud to say I partake in every day”.

He added: “Any kind of ailment you may have, whether it’s dry skin, to a scrape, to a cut, any inflammation in your body, your joints, your bones, take a drop, put it on, it heals right up.”

Another star-studded partnership with cbdMD was revealed earlier this year as rapper Ice Cube’s basketball league, the BIG 3, announced it would be using cbdMD as a sponsor. Many of the BIG 3 players are retired NBA players looking to rejoin the game.

As a result of the new partnership, cbdMD has become the first business entity to have its company logo emblazoned on the teams’ jerseys during all games.

New athlete-backed sponsors have entered the space after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) created an exception recently for cannabidiol, stating that the substance “is not a cannabimimetic and has no psychoactive activity”, despite the general ban on athletes using cannabinoids.

Does CBD actually work for sportspeople?

According to research from the concussion alliance, CBD has the potential to safeguard sporting stars from brain damage caused from untreated concussions.

CBD contains natural antioxidants that regulate inflammation and excitotoxicity, a process where nerve cells are damaged or killed by excess stimulation by neurotransmitters – a common occurrence if a spinal or brain injury is present.

Using CBD after a traumatic brain injury has been linked to decreased inflammatory cell activation and a reduction of concussion symptoms.

Utilising CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can be beneficial for muscle aches and minor injuries received from common sports-induced injuries such as muscle spasms, minor sprains, and everyday pains from overuse.

Even more convenient than oil and gummies, topical CBD salve can be massaged straight onto affected muscles and joints to deliver relief directly to the required area. As CBD salve doesn’t need to be metabolised, it is the swiftest and strongest method for alleviating pain.   

After sustaining a knee injury and subsequently trying many options including painful  platelet injections, Run to the Finish blogger Amanda Brooks found that CBD was the most beneficial in alleviating her pain.

She revealed that after taking 0.5 CBD oil before a long run following a debilitating knee injury, she managed to “proceed the rest of that week to continue having not just good runs, but faster and better feeling”.

She also mentions that a “2016 study in arthritic rats found that it significantly reduced joint swelling and pain ratings, without the side effects of other drugs”.