With the Winter Olympics in full swing, new regulations regarding the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for athletes couldn’t have come at a better time. In September of 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced plans to remove cannabidiol from the prohibited substance list, which smoothly went into effect January 1st.
This significant ruling seems to be just the beginning and is a huge step in the right direction in the world of sport, as the WADA is in charge of developing the drug code followed by over 660 sports organisations across the world; including not only the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but also the U.S Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Why CBD for Athletes is an Issue
Drugs in sport has always been an issue, but with the reform on the Winter Olympics doping ban on cannabis, athletes now have a fighting chance to recover faster and better. Competitive athletes around the world will be able to utilise CBD for sport, which can will not only shorten recuperation time, but could help minimise muscle and joint pain, inflammation, and improve focus. On top of this, CBD also acts as a neuroprotectant and so works to strengthen neural pathways; a pleasant thought for those involved in rough contact sports with high concussion rates.
UFC fighter Nate Diaz pushed the envelope, when he was notably seen to be puffing away on an electronic cigarette full of CBD after a fight between renowned UFC fighter Conor McGregor in August 2016. During the interview, Diaz, face visibly inflamed, bleeding and bruised, explained that CBD “helps with inflammation and the healing process, stuff like that”. Rather than media attention focussing on the fight, they chose to exemplify his use of CBD for sport, which at the time was classed as a ‘specified substance’ by WADA - its use prohibited during competition times. Diaz faced a public warning from the USADA, but his elder brother Nick Diaz wasn’t so lucky. The elder Diaz was found to have trace amounts of cannabis in his blood and was initially suspended for five years for using drugs in sport, which was then reduced to 18 months.
But it’s more than likely the conversation of cannabis reform in world sports followed after prominent Canadian snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Ross Rebagliati tested positive for trace amounts of cannabis at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. In the wake of the finding, Rebagliati was stripped of his Olympic medal by the IOC, but this was shortly after overturned by the court of Arbitration for Sport, due to there being unclear provisions for marijuana testing during the Nagano Games.
If it weren’t for this though, using natural drugs in sport, or more specifically CBD for sport, may still be in its early stages of rescheduling. Spurred on by the very near removal of his Olympic medal, Rebagliati founded medical marijuana company Ross’ Gold in 2013.
“You can’t win all the votes, but we can definitely help lead the way to cannabis reform at an international level if we can get these international associations to start recognising the benefit (of cannabis),” he said.
As an advocate, athlete and user, Rebagliati is perhaps better qualified to petition for CBD reforms than others. He has asserted his position countless times, and has actively taken up the gauntlet for furthering the cause for this vital plant,
“CBD is one of the most effective substances for treating inflammatory issues, aches and pains caused by the physical punishment world-class athletes must regularly endure to train and compete at a high level,” Rebagliati said.
One such other athlete on the CBD bandwagon is Jake Plummer, a retired NFL player who uses CBD for sport and life, daily. He claimed that it is responsible for giving him a full life after football. “My old injured joints now feel inflammation free… and [I] feel like my whole system operates more efficiently,” he told HoneyColony via Twitter.
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CBD is not Just for Vaping
So now we know what potential CBD holds for those who maintain active and physically stressful lives, but how do you administer it? There are a wide range of ways to do this and it doesn’t always mean taking CBD internally. Diaz has shown his preference for vaping, which is a fantastic way to get CBD into your body quickly and effectively, but may not have as long lasting effects as others.
For athletes experiencing joint and muscle pain, relief has been found through topical creams, ointments and oils, which can be administered directly to the problem area. Other people have found using the sublingual method, meaning that placing CBD oil under the tongue and holding it there can have a more thorough and long lasting effect. But what works for some may not work for others, so it is in your best interest to research what CBD products are available to you and try it out for yourself.
Always do your research when buying your CBD to make sure you are getting the best quality on the market. By visiting websites like Trustpilot, you can find real customer reviews that can direct you to company pages with the best quality CBD available.