Elite Athletes Are Flocking to CBD. Here's Why..

CBD in Sport

CBD and sport: As more & more sports superstars embrace CBD, we ask...
Can athletes take CBD? Will CBD show up on a drug test? Can I take full spectrum CBD if I play sports?

Here’s everything you need to know about CBD in sport...

Summer 2021 sees the return of sport.

From Wimbledon to the British & Irish Lions tour in South Africa. To England’s roaring success at Euro 2020, to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and not forgetting the Tokyo Olympic Games.

After 18 months of empty arenas, sport is back with a bang for summer.

Conor McGregor

Did you know many of our favourite celebrity sport stars incorporate CBD into their performance prep?

MMA champion Conor McGregor, US women’s football queen Megan Rapinoe, wrestling icon Rob Van Dam, boxing sensation Mike Tyson, and the NFL’s Rob Gronkowski are just some of the famous sports stars publicly supporting the case for CBD.

And they’re not alone.

Some even have their own brands! In February, a cannabis firm backed by David Beckham became one of the first CBD companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. Meanwhile Anthony Joshua is a key shareholder in Love Hemp. Earlier this year he signed a three-year deal to collaborate with the brand on a licenced range of CBD products for athletes! 

Anthony Joshua

If you are an athlete or someone who might need to undergo routine drug testing for professional reasons, there are a couple of things to consider before you start taking CBD. 

We break down the need to know information for athletes of all levels using CBD.

Skip to the bottom of this page to find the best CBD products for gym goers and professional athletes. 

Why do professional athletes take CBD? 

Many athletes incorporate Cannabidiol into their recovery and maintenance routines as this plant extract is known to help reduce inflammation, aid muscle recovery and promote better sleep. All essentials for anyone on track to win gold or finish at the top of the leaderboard. 

Is it safe for athletes to take CBD? 

Studies show that CBD has a high safety profile and that is further supported in the UK by the Food Standards Agency which gives manufacturers strict parameters to operate within.

Only FSA-approved CBD oil and edibles can be sold in the UK.

All of this means that British made CBD products are probably among the safest, best quality CBD products in the world in 2021. The FSA recommends that healthy adults should not exceed more than 70mg of CBD per day that’s about 28 drops of a 5% CBD oil. 

Can you take a full spectrum CBD oil and play sports? 

It is recommended that athletes, or anyone who may be drug tested in the near future, should avoid full spectrum CBD products.

This is because full spectrum, or whole plant extracts, are known to contain small traces of THC. THC is the extract from cannabis that creates a high and is illegal in the UK. 

In performance sports, this is largely banned. As a result, more and more pro athletes are using broad spectrum and CBD isolate products, simply because these are guaranteed to be free from THC. 

Related: Full spectrum CBD products and THC

CBD in professional rugby 

CBD for Rugby

Pro rugby players Dominic Day and George Kruis were among the first sports professionals in the UK to talk about the benefits of CBD for athletes. Both playing with Saracens at the time, the teammates gave CBD a try in 2018 while recovering from injury, only to discover the healing power of this plant extract for themselves. With their injuries behind them, the Wales and England internationals paired up off the pitch to launch fourfivecbd in 2019. 

fourfive CBD oil

Can Formula 1 drivers use CBD oil? 

Formula 1 hasn't commented publicly on the use of CBD among competitors however this sport is presumably as strict as the rest when it comes to THC. 

That hasn't stopped several big names from the tracks coming out in support of CBD. Michael Italiano is a F1 performance coach for McLaren. In June he revealed that he has been using CBD products, adding that he has noticed improvements to his mood, sleep and muscle recovery in his back and knees. 

Former Motorsport Director of Pirelli, Paul Hembery, left the world of motorsport to launch his own CBD brand earlier this year.

Meanwhile Formula E champion Jean Eric-Vergne is also a fan. He recently launched an alcohol-free drinks range with added CBD and nootropics. 

formula E

CBD at the Tokyo Olympic Games 

In January 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) clarified its take on CBD use among athletes. Remember, these are the 1% in sporting circles, the fittest people in the world! What WADA says goes.

The Agency decided athletes could take CBD after considering the mental and physical benefits to their health and wellbeing, but warned against using products which may contain detectable levels of THC. 

In the build up to the 2021 Olympic Games, US track star Carrie Richardson was banned from competing after admitting to cannabis use. This resulted in huge criticism for the Games, with many believing cannabis is not a performance enhancing drug and calls for the decision to be overturned. 

Carrie Richardson

Can MMA fighters take CBD? 

Yes – MMA fighters can take CBD as long as it has been formulated with zero THC as in other sports.

However, as with everything in the nature of sport, there is always someone way ahead of the rest. That’s what is happening in the US state of Nevada, home to Las Vegas, the fight night capital of Mixed Martial Arts and UFC.

In July, the state announced cannabis will no longer be considered a performance enhancing drug. The news comes after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to remove cannabis from the list of banned substances for athletes. 

By default, full spectrum CBD products are now permitted for use by MMA fighters and pro boxers in Nevada, even up to the night before a fight! A world first and something which could spark change in other sports. Watch this space. 

Do golfers use CBD? 

Once the hype around the football, the Grand Prix and the Olympics subsides, it’ll be time for the Ryder Cup, and this time it’s stateside. Prepare to see your favourite professional golfers taking - and maybe even wearing - a CBD brand. 

The PGA has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to cannabis. One example of this being enforced came in 2019 when the world’s pro golf association suspended American Matt Every for three months after he tested positive for cannabis use. He argued that it was on medical grounds but the suspension stood.

That was medical cannabis, what are the rules for golfers using CBD as a wellness product?

The PGA Tour warns players to use CBD “at their own risk”, advising caution and
telling players to do their due diligence before taking a CBD supplement. That hasn’t stopped some of the world’s top golfers from embracing the hemp extract. 

Phil Mickelson was spotted using CBD oil during the 2019 Masters while Bubba Watson (pictured), Patrick Reed and Steve McCarron have been sponsored by leading American CBD brand, cbdMD.

Bubba Watson

Do you need to be an athlete to benefit from CBD? 

No, anyone can benefit from CBD thanks to the Endocannabinoid System! This is the chain of receptors found throughout the body which works with CBD in reducing inflammation and restoring the body to a natural state of balance.

In addition to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits from CBD, scientists believe this internal system in the body may be a key part of keeping our circadian rhythm on track.

This is our natural sleep-wake cycle, it is thought to reset roughly every 24 hours. It regulates how we sleep, how we recover when we rest and how we function when we are awake, all vital when leading an active lifestyle.

Research suggests that when our circadian cycle is off-beat, this can lead to disease and mental health disorders like depression.

We've handpicked 6 of the best CBD products for athletes and those who enjoy an active lifestyle 💪 (All THC-free).

And All set to help you perform and recover stronger. 

  1. Best for post-workout body care: fourfivecbd CBD Thermal Joint Gel, £30 

fourfive Thermal Joint Gel

  1. Best for everyday use: Naked Leaf CBD Daily Drops £52-84 

Naked Leaf CBD Oil

  1. Feeling strong? Take this to assist your recovery: Love Hemp 3000mg Oil Drops, £99.99

Love Hemp CBD Oil

  1. Don’t forget to rehydrate! 💦 Upgrade your hydration station with this: CBD Performance Hydration Additive with BCAA, electrolytes, vitamin B6 and CBD, £24.99

CBD Performance

  1. Beat your next sugar craving with these protein-filled CBD Double Chocolate Brownies from Naturecan. Fun fact, this brand was co-founded by the former CEO of My Protein! No wonder these taste so good. £29.99 for 12 brownies. 

Naturecan brownies

  1. Train harder, recover harder. Manage next day muscle ache with Pure Sport CBD Ginger and Turmeric capsules from £72.99

Pure Sport Capsules

Take a look at our full range of CBD products for sports & fitness here.