Professional Sports Leagues Start To Acknowledge CBD Oil Benefits
More and more athletes are being turned on to CBD’s superpowers every day. It’s being used by some of the world’s most celebrated athletes - Lawrence Taylor is a good example. And back in August of 2016, at a UFC 202 post-fight press conference, fighter Nate Diaz spoke candidly about vaping CBD. Check out the video below.
But there’s still a little bit of “reefer madness” going around in the wide world of sports, and not every major sports organization is keen on the idea of allowing players to partake in this Liquid Gold oil that is CBD.
However, many top organizations are starting to see the light and realizing that pro athletes should not be deprived of the benefits of CBD just because some other variety of the species of plant has psychotropic properties (We’re talking about marijuana, of course).
Here’s a look at some of the pro sports organizations that are on board with the fact that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties could be a godsend for some athletes.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
Recently, at the start of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officially removed CBD from its list of banned substances becoming the first major sports organization to acknowledge that CBD-rich hemp extracts used in CBD oil are not the same as marijuana. The decision to remove CBD from the list was made back in September of 2017. Not only was it great news for athletes, the move prompted debate about the rules regarding CBD in other sports organizations.
Today, thanks to that decision, thousands of athletes are now allowed use CBD without the fear of consequences.
National College Athletic Association (NCAA)
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is known for having the strictest marijuana testing threshold. Although CBD is not listed on the NCAA Banned Drugs List, the rules state, “Any substance that is chemically related to one of the above classes, even if it is not listed as an example, is also banned.”
However, during a meeting in December of 2017, the NCAA voted for a recommendation that would adopt WADA’s list of banned drugs—which does not include CBD. This recommendation will need to see support from the NCAA governing members if it is to move forward, but it’s a good first step.
National Football League (NFL)
Football players often experience painful, sometimes debilitating, injuries. And opiates and anti-inflammatories are commonplace. Today, many current and former NFL players are pushing for more research on CBD as a potential treatment for pain and inflammation as well as for traumatic head injuries.
Ebenezer Ekuban, a former defensive end in an interview with The Washington Post said, “I think in due time, the NFL is going to realize that CBD is not a performance-enhancing drug. If anything, it helps with anxiety, helps with concentration, it helps with pain.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he is opposed the use of recreational marijuana but is willing to defer to the league’s medical advisors on the potential benefit of CBD.
The current NFL collective bargaining agreement expires in 2020. The renewal of this agreement provides an opportunity to list CBD as a separate compound from THC.
National Basketball Association (NBA)
Former NBA star Al Harrington has been a strong proponent of the use of medical cannabis in sports and has his hands in medical marijuana businesses in three states. Harrington spoke to Player’s Association President Chris Paul about the possibility of the union making a push toward removing CBD as a banned substance. He says that NBA management seems open to the idea. That’s all we know about the NBA in regards to CBD at this time.
National Hockey League (NHL)
Hockey is one if the most physically demanding sports. Like in the NFL, NHL team doctors often prescribe painkillers to keep players going. However, unlike the NFL, cannabis is not on the NHL’s list of banned substances. However, players are still tested for cannabinoids under the NHL/NHL Players Association (NHLPA) Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. There is no punishment for players that test positive for cannabinoids, but the results are submitted to the NHL/NHLPA committee for statistical review. If high levels of cannabinoids are found in a player’s system, they may be ordered to undergo a mandatory assessment by a doctor.
With more and more U.S. states legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana, pro sports organizations are starting to reevaluate their policies on the use of CBD. Acknowledgment that CBD and marijuana are not the same things is a good first step towards giving players a viable alternative to addictive painkillers.