In a stunning move, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently removed Cannabidiol (CBD
Oil) from its banned substance list in 2018. The oil was previously banned by WADA.
In 2018, FC Fighting, a sport requiring its fighters to have extreme amounts of endurance and
an ability to heal at a high-speed rate, allowed its participants to use CBD oil. The removal of
CBD oil from WADA’s prohibited substance list is great news for participants in other sports
where the substance was once previously banned. This truly could prove to be a game-changer
that will influence the healing and athletic performance of many athletes who play in a wide
variety of sports.
CBD Instead of Pain Killers
CBD is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties. And since CBD derived from hemp
lacks the psychoactive THC that CBD derived from cannabis has, now there will be more of an
opportunity for athletes in a wide variety of sports to reap the oil’s benefits without worry
about backlash from WADA. Some time back, MMA athlete Nate Diaz testified that he wished
he had known of the healing benefits of CBD oil instead of using painkillers to treat his chronic
pain. He also testified that the painkillers were very addictive and did not do much, if anything
at all, to eliminate the pain. Diaz also said that he was able to see a clear difference and
improvement in his pain once he began taking CBD on a regular basis. Many professionals in the
athletic arena believe we will all soon see the benefits of using CBD oil in sports as the number
one go-to for the management of pain and inflammation.
CBD first entered MMA sports with Diaz back in 2016 after the fighter failed to beat Conor
McGregor by a majority decision in the UFC 202 main event. Diaz, who was seen vaping CBD at
the post-fight press conference was questioned by reporters.
“It’s CBD,” Diaz said. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So, you
want to get these before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”
Truly, Diaz’s comment was groundbreaking for MMA fans and other athletes who participate in
full-contact, combat sports. Diaz also testified that he believed that all athletes should look into
using CBD for pain and inflammation management over prescription painkillers.
Diaz’s Public Warning From the USADA
Sadly, subsequently, Diaz was given a public warning by the USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping
partner, because the MMA athlete openly admitted to using cannabinoids in a competition.
Back in 2016, the USADA’s in-competition window ended six hours post fight. This has also
recently changed because the UFC and USADA changed the UFC’s anti-doping policy. So, now
the in-competition window now closes after the post-fight drug test is administered. Therefore,
if Diaz used a CBD vape now in a post-fight press conference, under new rules, he could not be
penalized by the USADA if he took his post-fight drug test. In fact, as of January 1, 2018, Diaz
could legally vape CBD during a pre-fight press conference if he so chose to do so.
Cannabidiol, unlike the cannabinoid THC, does not contain any psychoactive properties and is
used solely for medicinal purposes to treat pain, anxiety, inflammation, and depression. So,
contrary to popular belief, CBD oil derived from hemp (like this stuff) is not addictive and will
not make you feel high or mentally altered in any way.
WADA recently published on its website that, “Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Synthetic
cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may
also contain traces of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”
Are CBD Products Risky For Athletes?
CBD oil may still be risky for those athletes who are subject to anti-doping rules. The risk lies in
the potential mislabeling of some cannabis-derived CBD products. A recent JAMA study
published by the American Medical Association in November of 2017 found that 69 percent of
products tested contained varying levels of THC than what manufacturers printed on the label.
Shockingly, THC was found in 21 percent of the CBD products tested, and furthermore, the THC
content of said products was, in fact, enough to cause intoxication or impairment to those who
took the product.
According to WADA testing, a THC threshold of below 150ng/ml in the urine will not be
considered a positive test. And, in addition, there are other forms of cannabinoids on the
WADA prohibited list that don’t even have a reporting threshold, which means that if a test detects even the smallest amount of the substance in your urine, the test will be considered
Athletes need to exercise the utmost amount of care in selecting and using a CBD product that
has the lowest amount, or no amount of THC or other cannabinoids so that they can be sure to
not cause a positive test and a subsequent anti-doping rule violation. Since it is almost
impossible to know how much THC or other cannabinoids are in a cannabis-derived CBD
product simply by reading the label, it is best to look for a CBD product that is derived from
hemp and not from cannabis.
In a recent statement made by WADA in September 2018, the organization said, “Cannabidiol is
no longer prohibited.” WADA further then went on to urge athletes to take precautions before
ingesting any cannabis-derived CBD products in light of the fact that marijuana use remains
prohibited and any and all positive test results will cause extended suspensions.
Since hemp-derived CBD has not been found to be addictive, this is the best type of CBD oil for
athletes because of its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, healing, and depression-fighting
properties. CBD oil derived from hemp also has anti-cancer properties and neuroprotective
benefits for athletes who are prone to traumatic brain injuries such as MMA fighters and
football players. Finally, studies have also found that CBD may also help defeat drug addiction
by blocking reward pathways in the brain that lead to addiction.