The Olympics and CBD: A Not-So-Secret Embrace
By Meredith Summers | February 15, 2018
The Olympic athletes of this year’s games draw attention for a number of reasons. Some people are inspired by their hard work and dedication. Some people love sports and want to watch the best of the best give it their all. Still, some just want to cheer their country on from the sidelines.
But even people who don’t watch the games can appreciate the skill and talent these athletes possess, and the time it’s taken them to improve. Onlookers may not be able to feel the athlete’s pain exactly, but they know all that extreme activity will eventually take its toll. When it comes to practical solutions for that pain, you might be surprised at what athletes are now allowed to take.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has a tough job when it comes to determining what is and isn’t allowed for athletes. There are new and ever creative ways for athletes to get around the laws, as they attempt to get whatever edge they possibly can. With the high stakes on the line and potential endorsement deals hanging in the balance, it seems like they’ll stop at nothing.
In the past, CBD was a strictly banned substance. (The nonpsychoactive chemical isn’t generally tested for, but it was still officially illegal.) Olympic athletes weren’t allowed to use it to medicate their injuries or to help calm their nerves about their next match. But the agency changed their minds this year, and athletes can now rely on CBD to get them through the most important games of their life.
WADA’s change may be partially based on the World Health Organization’s findings for CBD. Just a few months ago, they debuted a very public report that said there was zero potential for abuse with CBD. And while there are countless benefits to CBD, there’s nothing to suggest that taking it would give you an unfair advantage in an athletic competition. It may help strengthen the athletes' bones but not in a way that will cause them to jump, ski, or skate better than they ever have before.
WADA is still firmly against THC, or the psychoactive component to cannabis. They’re still testing athletes for this chemical. However, athletes won’t fail a drug test if they’re taking true CBD because it contains a negligible amount of THC. What’s more, there more than 650 official athletic organizations who are making CBD available to their athletes! That’s quite a turn around from even just a few years ago!
Athletes take cannabis primarily to help them reduce inflammation, but they promote it for a variety of other reasons. Many say it brings them clarity, calm, and balance both on the proverbial field and off. If that sounds too homeopathic to you, remember that these are Olympic contenders — not hippies in a drum circle.
Not a Perfect World
South Korea as a country is still saying ‘no’ to cannabis, regardless of what WADA says. And official sponsors aren’t exactly lining up around the block to endorse athletes who take CBD either. All this adds up to the fact that most athletes probably won’t be taking it while they’re over there (or at least, they won’t be bragging about it if they are.)
But that doesn’t mean no one is speaking out about how great CBD can be. There are plenty of people all around the world talking about it. Some are athletes, some are shut-ins, some are moms, some are children, etc. It’s safe, it won’t make you high, the side effects are mild and it’s proven to be effective. Thankfully WADA and the WHO are waking up to these certainties, and hopefully, the FDA will come to the same conclusion.