The landscape for cannabidiol (CBD) in the world of sports opened up in 2018 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officially removed it from their banned substance list. CBD has since integrated itself into the hands of athletes in countless sports, and rightfully so as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. This year’s Tokyo Olympics set a clear example for the current global opinion of CBD being acceptable for athletes, as well as signaling a worldwide authoritative push against tetrahydracannabidiol (THC).
This example was set when runner Sha’Carri Richardson was restricted from competing due to the detection of THC in her drug screening prior to the Olympics in Tokyo. Although CBD has been removed from WADA’s banned substance list, THC has not yet been removed, although the allowable threshold has been increased over the past few years. Shortly after Richardson’s Olympic restriction was announced, people started questioning why Megan Rapinoe, a member of the USA Women’s Soccer Team who helped earn the team Bronze in Tokyo, would be allowed to play when she is publicly affiliated with Mendi, a company that sells CBD products. The answer for Rapinoe being able to play was simple, the products she endorses and uses contain CBD, and not THC.
The global attention CBD and THC received from the Olympics aren’t the only connection between athletes and hemp or cannabis. Several former professional athletes either own and operate or invest in hemp or cannabis businesses. One former NFL player, Chris Hetherington, is the Founder and CEO of Peels, a CBD product company that makes its CBD from orange peels using a propriety process.  This surge of interest in CBD, even not derived from hemp or cannabis, is something that we can expect to see continue. As far as the global acceptance of THC in sports, it’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen, and the chances of being sooner than later seem likely as more states in the U.S. and countries around the world continue to legalize cannabis and hemp.
1- Southeast Ag Radio Network. New CBD Comes from Orange Peels. 2021. https://southeastagnet.com/2021/08/06/new-cbd-comes-orange-peels/