How Athletes are Helping Bring CBD into the Mainstream

February 8, 2019

Pro and amateur athletes have helped more people discover CBD and its natural benefits.

Bolstered by the exciting recovery and performance benefits of CBD, athletes are helping normalize cannabis to America.

Naturally strong willed, committed, and competitive, athletes on the whole have openly embraced cannabis and have willingly incorporated it into their daily routines to help them be at their best.

The notion that cannabis is beneficial for the body goes as far back at ancient China, when it was used by emperor Shen-Nung to boost health. Unfortunately, over time, cannabis and its compounds developed a stigma.

The athletic community has played a considerable role in overcoming that stigma by openly using cannabis products like CBD oil while achieving incredible athletic feats and records.

CBD has benefited greatly from the acknowledgement of cannabis’s benefits by athletes. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the major all-natural cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Today, all types of athletes – professional, amateur, and recreational – use hemp-derived CBD oil products in their day-to-day training.

This has helped spread the word about CBD and its benefits beyond the athletic community. With a greater understanding of CBD and its benefits, people of all ages and physical abilities now use CBD oil products to naturally promote health and wellness.

Ricky Williams, a Pro-Cannabis Pioneer

At the forefront of athletes pushing for the legitimacy of cannabis is Ricky Williams, a former Pro Bowl running back for the National Football League (NFL). Williams admits to regularly using cannabis throughout his 12-season career, despite it being prohibited by the league.

Williams tested positive for cannabis several times while in the NFL, leading to fines, suspensions, and a loss of sponsors. At this time, in the early 2000s, the stigma around cannabis use was strong and Williams was viewed as an undisciplined screw-up.

Still, Williams overall was unapologetic for his use of cannabis and claimed that he was using it for health and recovery purposes. Today he is lauded as a pioneer for playing a crucial role in the growing pro-cannabis views among athletes, professional leagues and governing bodies.

Since Williams’ career ended, scientists have discovered more about the natural benefits of cannabis-derived cannabinoids like CBD. This has led to a new large wave of athletes supporting cannabis and CBD.

While current NFL players are careful what they say about cannabis due to it still being prohibited by the league, a large number of former NFL athletes have joined Williams in taking up the fight for addressing league policies that prohibit cannabis use.

Benefits of CBD - Image of Football Player

Nate Diaz, Unapologetic User of CBD Oil

CBD oil specifically was brought to light for many athletes and fans by MMA fighter Nate Diaz. After falling to Conor McGregor in 2016, Diaz conducted his post-fight press conference while vaping CBD.

When asked follow-up questions about CBD from reporters, Diaz explained that he was vaping CBD to encourage recovery and told his fellow fighters that, “it’ll make your life a better place.”

While Diaz was given a public warning by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for admitting the use of cannabinoids in competition, the public acknowledgement of CBD helped prompt future policy changes related to CBD.

MMA fighters like Diaz and many other athletes competing internationally received good news in 2017 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced it was removing CBD from its prohibited substances list. As of January 1, 2018, CBD is no longer a prohibited substance for MMA fighters or any athlete who competes in an event governed by WADA or USADA.

MMA Fighter - Benefits of CBD

Growing Acceptance By Sports Leagues

While many top sports leagues continue to ban the use of cannabis, a few have started to insinuate they are at least considering changing their policies due to pressure from athletes.

The BIG3, the 3-on-3 professional basketball league started by Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube, made waves in both the pro athlete and CBD industries last year when they announced their players were permitted to use CBD to augment their training and competition. The BIG3, which features mostly former NBA players – such as Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, and Amare Stoudemire – is the first professional sports league in the U.S. to directly permit CBD use.

Additionally, a NBC Sports report from December suggested that the NFL hopes to make changes to its cannabis testing policy during collective bargaining. With league officials acknowledging that the policy needs to be softened, changes could be coming soon.

Each of these announcements has been a big step for the acceptance of CBD and other cannabinoids in competitive sports. However, their influence doesn’t stop there. Because professional and competitive sports are widely followed by fans and sports enthusiasts, their progress toward embracing CBD impacts the mainstream acceptance of cannabinoids and their potential benefits.

Benefits of CBD - Image of Soccer Player

Word of Mouth

The use of CBD oil as a training aid has also grown in popularity among athletes who are not publicly recognizable. All types of athletes now incorporate CBD into their routines, and are helping to spread the word of its benefits to each other and to non-athletes.

Distance runners, swimmers, baseball players, tennis athletes, skiers, endurance hikers, golfers, bodybuilders, and even more unconventional athletes have embraced the rejuvenating benefits of CBD.

Even more athletes are likely to discover and begin using CBD this year. Athletes, a connected bunch, enjoy sharing their training secrets and will continue to help more people discover CBD.

Athletes and CBD - Image of Two Runners

Why Athletes Use CBD

All types of athletes now use CBD products in their training and competition regimens as a way to naturally boost athletic performance and encourage faster recovery.

CBD helps athletes be at their best by supporting the body’s endocannabinoid system, a major self-regulatory network tasked with keeping a wide array of important functions balanced and running optimally. Many of these functions directly influence athletic performance and recovery.

For athletes looking to reach new levels of athletic achievement, a well-operating endocannabinoid system is crucial. Being at your physical best and recovering quickly requires that your endocannabinoid system effectively keep the body balanced.

Taking CBD as an athlete helps support the efforts of your endocannabinoid system. After CBD is absorbed into the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system through its cannabinoid receptors. Through this interaction, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system to encourage it to work more effectively.

Athletes can also take CBD products before, during or after their workouts without having to worry about any euphoric side effects. Unlike marijuana, hemp-derived CBD oil is non-intoxicating. CBD does not trigger any temporary coordination problems, delayed reaction times, sensory awareness issues, or other adverse side effects related to a “high” that would impact performance. And, because there are only trace amounts of THC found in CBD-rich hemp oil, in most cases it will not cause a positive drug test when consumed at suggested servings.

Are You an Athlete Interested in CBD?

You too can capitalize on the performance and recover-boosting benefits of CBD. Learn more about how CBD encourages balance through our blog, or get started with CBD today by visiting the HempMeds® online shop.