While most of the top sports leagues ban the use of cannabis, pro athletes can benefit from hemp-derived CBD provided they avoid products containing THC.
Athletes at all levels have started to discover the positive effects CBD can provide as they train and compete. Even professional athletes in top sports leagues are augmenting their training regimens by incorporating CBD supplements before, during, and after workouts, practices, and competitions.
Why Would Pro Athletes Take CBD Oil?
Many pro athletes have found CBD supplements beneficial for keeping their bodies healthy and capable of performing at a high level. If you’ve trained seriously for any sport, you know how the intensity of training can place an enormous level of stress on the body. Now imagine being a professional athlete, where you’re constantly pushing your body to its peak.
Derived from cannabis plants like hemp, CBD oil is a botanical extract that is naturally abundant in CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is an all-natural cannabinoid that interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network that keeps many of our functions in balance.
Athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL have found that CBD supplements offer an all-natural way to keep their body at their best and boost performance. Sleep, metabolism, and immune response are just some of the functions important to athletes that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping in homeostasis.
Does CBD Oil Violate League Rules?
While CBD supplements are non-psychoactive, because they’re derived from cannabis, pro athletes need to be careful about the supplements they take to avoid violating their league’s respective substance abuse rules.
Most major sports leagues prohibit the use of marijuana and require their athletes to take regular drug tests. These drug tests typically test for the presence of THC, the well-known compound in marijuana that causes a high, or the primary metabolite of THC, carboxy-THC.
CBD oil supplements made from hemp contain only trace levels of THC. By definition, hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This means that athletes who take CBD oil made from hemp instead of marijuana have very little risk of testing positive.
With that said, if an athlete were to take an extraordinary large volume of CBD oil, even if derived from hemp, theoretically there is a chance that the THC could build up and cause a positive test.
For athletes or anyone else interested in avoiding THC, completely THC-free CBD supplements are now available. Dixie Botanicals® Isolate, a 99% pure powdered CBD supplement, can be vaped, dabbed, taken under the tongue, or added to foods and beverages. The small amounts of THC and other waxes and plant material are removed through an additional filtration process.
However, anyone concerned with passing the most stringent drug tests, such as blood, hair or nail tests, are cautioned to avoid hemp products altogether, including hemp seed oil, hemp seeds and hemp protein.
CBD in the NFL
Because of the high impact and intensity involved in playing in the National Football League (NFL), CBD supplements are popular among NFL athletes. League and players’ union sources have said that most commonly used cannabis substance among NFL players in CBD oil.
Current and former NFL players like Kyle Turley and Jake Plummer have become advocates for CBD, pushing for more research into how the cannabinoid’s natural benefits can benefit those managing the physical stress of playing in the NFL.
The NFL does not test for CBD. Players in the NFL are drug tested once in the offseason and they’re considered in violation if their urine test finds 35 nanograms or more of extracted THC per milliliter of urine.
There has been a longstanding debate on whether cannabis should be allowed by NFL players. In the coming years when the player’s union and the league renegotiate the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), it’s expected that the rules prohibiting cannabis will be adjusted.
For now, NFL players can use CBD oil in their training regimen without violating the rules of the league by choosing supplements completely free of THC.
CBD in the NBA
Like the NFL, the National Basketball Association (NBA) prohibits players from using marijuana, but not specifically CBD. Players are randomly tested up to four times throughout the season and the threshold for a positive test is 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter. After the first infraction, players must participate in a substance-abuse program. After a second positive test, players are subject to a maximum $25,000 fine. A five-game suspension is imposed after a third violation.
While there’s been some rumblings among NBA officials about changing the league’s stance on marijuana, as of now there doesn’t appear to be any adjustments coming soon.
Luckily, NBA players can experience the natural benefits of CBD and not violate league rules by avoiding products containing THC. Retired NBA player Al Harrington discovered the natural benefits of CBD toward the end of his playing career and has said he believes today’s players could benefit from regular CBD supplements.
CBD in the MLB
The Major League Baseball (MLB) and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program strictly prohibits the use of marijuana. Of all the major sports leagues, the MLB’s policy is among the harshest, imposing a lifetime ban after the fourth positive test. The league does set a high threshold of 50 nanograms THC per milliliter for a positive test, however, and players are only tested if the league or union officials have reasonable cause.
Many MLB athletes have found that CBD oil can be beneficial for getting through the treacherously long MLB season schedule, which consists of 162 games over approximately six months. Former MLB All-Star David Wells now advocates for CBD, saying recently that, “I wish I knew about it back when I played because I would’ve been all over it.”
MLB players can avoid violating their league’s drug program by only taking CBD supplements that are free of THC.
CBD in the NHL
Many argue that hockey is the most physically demanding sport out there, meaning CBD oil could be particularly beneficial for hockey athletes as they manage the athletic, strength, and endurance demands of their sport.
The substance abuse policy in the National Hockey League (NHL) is unlike that of any other major league. While NHL players do undergo limited drug testing, the league does not include cannabis on its list of banned substances so there’s no punishment for using cannabis products. The league does screen for marijuana and THC, but positive tests are only used for data collection purposes.
This means that NHL players can incorporate CBD oil supplements into their training regimens without worrying about violating league rules.
Learn More About CBD for Athletes
Incorporating CBD supplements into your training sessions can be an innovative way to make your workouts more effective. When CBD oil is made from hemp, it’s non-psychoactive and safe for competing athletes of all levels.