CBD in Sports

Posted on Monday July 8, 2019

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 known cannabinoid compounds found within the hemp plant. Hemp oil can be extracted from the hemp plant and this oil will have a substantial CBD composition therein.  It  has no psychoactive effect unlike its better known cannabinoid counterpart ‘delta-0-tetrahydrocannabinol’ (THC). CBD is believed to have a number of health related and relaxation properties. It is frequently consumed in the form of an ingestible oil but can also be consumed through vaping, topical creams and even drinks.

© Highland Pharms

Is CBD Legal?

CBD is not a controlled substance and therefore is legal in the UK. The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 initially paved the way for CBD consumption in the UK as it permitted hemp cultivation under a Home Office licence for the first time.

It is lawful to sell products containing CBD in the UK without the need for a licence, provided that no medicinal claims are made about the products. The popularity of CBD products in the UK has grown exponentially as consumers seek to benefit from its relaxation and wellness properties. Many users claim that regular use of CBD substantially improves the quality of their sleep.

Benefits for the Sports Industry

In 2017, both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) removed the prohibition of CBD use in-competition, which was seen as a major step in the sports industry. Since then, we have seen the CBD industry grow substantially.

Many well-respected athletes have publicly displayed their support for CBD, in particular, in respect of the improved quality and quantity of sleep it provides them with. Eugene Monroe “became the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of CBD to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries”. However, Monroe is not the only sports personality to promote CBD as dietary supplement for professional athletes.

Chris Camozzi, US MMA fighter, stated that CBD has changed his life. He claimed that a combination of CBD oil and blood flow restriction therapy healed his knee injury faster than his doctors had ever seen. Camozzi further declared: “I have other friends in the UFC I’ve sent bottles to who are also seeing amazing results”.

© Chris Camozzi Twitter

Athletes are not just benefiting from the use of CBD. We are now seeing athletes starting their own CBD-related businesses. This demonstrates that athletes are considering CBD as an extension of their brand portfolio. Chris Camozzi is the owner of an online MMA retailer for training gear and apparel which sells a range of CBD products.

England rugby player, George Kruis, recently co-founded the CBD products company, fourfive CBD. Kruis had been drawn to CBD after sustaining rugby injuries. He now uses CBD to aid with sleep and to sooth pain resulting from sporting injuries.

© fourfive cbd

Additionally, former professional boxer, Mike Tyson, now owns a cannabis company in the US. He currently sells various CBD products and has announced plans to open Tyson Ranch, a 418 acre “cannabis resort” with cultivation and extraction facilities, including a luxury hotel, campgrounds and an amphitheatre.

© Tyson Ranch

What next?

The CBD industry is changing rapidly. American CBD company, Green Roads Athletics, recently signed a sponsorship deal with the North American Premier Basketball League. This is certainly a sign of things to come and we expect further commercial deals between CBD brands and American sporting entities.

We also believe it will not be too long until we see the first Premier League club enter into deals with major CBD brands. A deal with a Premier League club has the real potential to boost the CBD industry both commercially and socio-economically.

To find out more about CBD in sports, please contact Robert Jappie, Head of Cannabis Law or Mohit Pasricha, Head of Sports Law.

Robert Jappie

Senior Associate
London
Mohit Pasricha

Mohit Pasricha

Solicitor
London