By Allie Baker
With National CBD Day falling on the same day as the closing of the Olympic games, we felt it was important to discuss the connection between athletes and cannabinoids.
One of the most notable stories dominating the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was about a woman who wasn’t there at all — Sha’Carri Richardson. After winning the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, Richardson raced into the country’s heart as a superstar sprinter. Just a month later, she was suspended for 30 days and did not make the USA Track & Field Roster after testing positive for THC. Richardson told The Today Show that she used cannabis to deal with “emotional panic” after learning about the death of her biological mother just days before the trials¹.
The news of Richardson’s suspension caused an uproar around the country, especially because cannabis is legal in many states including Oregon, where she took the drug. Everyone from Hollywood celebrities, to elite athletes, to President Biden have chimed in on the controversy².
In recent years, major athletic organizations such as the MLB, NFL, and NHL have all shifted their policies regarding players' use of cannabinoids including THC and CBD.
In light of this news, we’re breaking down the key differences between THC and CBD, the progress of CBD in sports, and how CBD can benefit athletes — both physically and mentally.
THC vs. CBD
A lot of people mix up CBD and THC, so it’s important to make this distinction first. CBD and THC are cannabinoids that are both found in the cannabis or hemp plant. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive, so it does not have the ability to get you high. THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana.
Broad Spectrum CBD undergoes extra processing to remove the THC component to non-detectable levels. Full Spectrum CBD does contain trace amounts of THC (less than .3%), but this amount will not get you high.
CBD in Sports Today
Because growing evidence shows physical and mental benefits of cannabinoids, athletes are turning to it more and more, and their leagues are taking notice. National sports leagues’ stances on CBD and THC have evolved in recent years.
The NHL was one of the first to shift their policy. They removed CBD and THC from their prohibited substances list. They test for marijuana but they do not punish for it, and they have been looking into CBD as a treatment for soreness³. In 2019, the MLB removed CBD and THC from the Program’s list of Drugs of Abuse⁴. Just last month, the NFL announced that the pain management committee of the NFL and the NFL Players Association will provide $1 million in funding for research into pain management and cannabinoids⁵.
As cannabinoids are becoming more and more a part of people’s everyday wellness, we encourage you to educate yourself and experience how they might become a staple in your routine. We believe in the power of CBD to promote emotional health and balance, soothe muscle aches and soreness, and enhance post-workout recovery. We’re here to keep the conversation going, support you on your wellness journey, and provide you with the highest quality products to make your life healthier and easier!