The Great Debate: Should Major League and Competitive Sports Permit the Use of CBD?

football player green jersey

Another football playoff is fast approaching, which means approximately 100 million viewers will tune in to see which team will win, which team will lose, and which commercial is the best.

Football can be a brutal sport, one that’s filled with fervent fans, passionate plays, and career-ending injuries. As it battles baseball for the top honor of America’s pastime, football has become a Sunday staple in households across America. Schedules are built around what time the game is on and communities are built as groups gather in homes and bars to root for their favorite team. For the younger generation, football players – and superstar athletes, in general – have become role models.

That is why the governing bodies of sports organizations need to reexamine their stance on the use of CBD among their players. More and more, as athletes are put on a pedestal, and as their professional and private lives intersect on social media, their actions can have a major influence on those who follow them. With people looking to the sports industry as leaders, it’s important those leaders consider smarter recovery options for their injured players. The opioid crisis, in particular, continues to claim lives every day and was the leading cause of injury-related death in the US in 2017. Athletes are not immune to those statistics. This backdrop of addictions is bringing a trend of seeking out holistic, natural options for recovery to the foreground—as well as living a healthy lifestyle, overall.

Rob Gronkowski “Gronk” Has Become the Face of CBD in Competitive Sports

Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is a perfect example of one such athlete who advocates natural alternatives to recovery and healthy living. Up until very recently, football was one of Gronk’s greatest joys in life. That is until injury after injury started to zap that joy right out of playing the sport he loved so much. In an effort to rid himself of the pain he felt, Gronk sought out holistic, and natural remedies for his pain management. That’s when Gronkowski discovered CBDMEDIC™.

CBDMEDIC’s Active Sport Pain Relief Ointment, in particular, brought Gronk some relief, especially for his low back pain. From there, his desire to live a healthier lifestyle began to take shape, and he wanted others to do the same. Most notably, he believes his teammates still playing the game to should have access to naturopathic drugs instead of internal NSAIDS and powerful addictive opioids to help them deal with their pain and their injuries so they could stay in the game a bit longer—not to mention to hold on to their love of the game a bit longer.

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Gronk CBDMEDIC Active Sport Ointment
Seeing firsthand what an OTC drug product infused with THC-free CBD oil could do for him, Gronk is now joining the fight to try to change the perception surrounding CBD in the major league and competitive sports. If you have not heard Gronk’s first plea to governing bodies of major league sports to update their positions on CBD, you can see his first press conference and read the story by visiting our blog, CBDMEDIC™ Scores a Touchdown with Gronk, the New “Mr. Recovery™.

The Major League Football Forum on CBD Sparks Controversy

Currently, the use of any CBD or CBD-related product is forbidden within the football major leagues—and many other competitive sports leagues. In January 2020, however, the football stakeholders went on a fact-finding mission in order to explore the efficacy of CBD as part of a wellness regimen, based on scientific research conducted by companies selling CBD-infused products.

The forum was held in response to players pushing for the allowance of cannabis products as an alternative remedy to manage their pain.

As it stood, the football leagues banned the use of cannabis, as a result of the potential negative side effects associated with marijuana use (and its active ingredient THC). This ban, unfortunately, extends to CBD given it is derived from hemp (which is also part of the cannabis family). After further research and discussion, the major league football associations concluded that the cannabis-derived products shall remain a banned substance, as a result of limited scientific evidence supporting a correlation between CBD and its role in alleviating and treating pain.

The football leagues submitted a potentially pivotal white paper that highlights the pros and cons of conventional and alternative pain management treatments, noting that interest of medical cannabis and CBD is growing in the United States, despite the complicated “state of the science” behind these controversial products.

They conclude the white paper by acknowledging that CBD is a promising compound, but further human studies are needed to make a final verdict and that THC should be approached with caution.

If you are interested in following studies of cannabinoids for pain management, here are 9 studies the National Institute of Health (NIH) has co-funded with the National Center for Complementary Medicine (NCCIH).

Change is Happening in Competitive Sports

If you’re in favor of CBD and/or medical cannabis use in competitive sports, don’t give up. Changes are happening, thanks in part to the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA).

In 2018, WADA removed CBD from its list of banned substances. (THC, however, remains on that list of banned substances). Since then, others have followed suit.

World competitive sports and American baseball, hockey, and college sports associations have revised their positions on cannabis-derived products.

This move away from CBD’s classification as a banned substance could be huge for major athletes. WADA and other sports leagues removing CBD from the banned substances list could also signal a potential shift on the horizon, forcing other major sports organizations to reexamine their position on the substance, especially when more and more athletes, like Rob Gronkowski, are finding solace in products containing CBD only after they’ve given up their sport.

How do you feel about the use of CBD in professional sports? Leave a comment and share your voice.

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Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It has not been approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat, prevent, cure, or mitigate any diseases or conditions. We use CBD in our products for cosmetic purposes only.

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