The list of therapeutic benefits of CBD is extensive.
Did you know that one of these benefits is the potential to increase athletic performance? And help with athletic recovery?
It’s true. So true that several top athletes are now using CBD as part of their daily health and wellness routine.
Why Athletes Swear by CBD
Professional and amateur athletes alike are no strangers to injury. There are several studies that show CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties and is excellent for managing chronic, acute and difficult-to-relieve pain. Applied topically, CBD has shown to offer localized relief for sore muscles and joints.
Then there’s the fact that CBD has shown to benefit several different types of anxiety disorders, which can be great to ease performance anxiety or pre-game jitters.
The non-psychoactive cannabinoid has also been discovered to be a neuroprotectant for the brain after an individual suffers traumatic brain injury. It’s also shown to reduce neurological damage after trauma has occurred. And in the NFL concussions aren’t just normal, they’re at a six-year high.
In September 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances. This opened the door for pro athletes to use the cannabinoid, which many welcomed with open arms.
It’s no wonder that many top athletes are turning towards CBD. Following are but a few who have found significant relief with cannabidiol.
5 Top Athletes That Use CBD
1. Eugene Monroe/Former NFL Defensive Tackle
Eugene Monroe was the Baltimore Ravens Defensive Tackle from 2013–2016. During his time in the NFL, Monroe was consistently ranked one of the League’s best pass blockers. He was also the first professional NFL player to hype the benefits of CBD. In 2016, after 18 years of playing football, Monroe made the decision to retire, choosing to focus on family and his personal health.
Monroe is the first NFL player who advocated for the use of medical marijuana and strongly supports CBD. He is a part of “When the Bright Lights Fade,” a campaign started by Realm of Caring to raise funds for a series of studies on CBD. Research shows that 96% of former NFL players suffer from a neurodegenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is believed to be caused by repetitive trauma to the head and can cause conditions such as depression, memory loss and dementia.
Monroe says he vapes CBD in order to feel effects right away and also uses a CBD topical on parts of his body that have suffered injury. The benefits of CBD for chronic pain have been studied extensively, which is one reason the former NFL player is such an advocate for the cannabinoid. A lifetime of playing football has led to chronic pain on a scale most people wouldn’t even recognize.
In an interview with ESPN, Monroe said, “I wake up in the morning and my back hurts. And my feet hurt. And my neck hurts. And my knee hurts. My shoulder hurts, and sometimes my hands ache too. And this is every day.”
CBD has saved him from this pain — something he hopes for others to experience as well.
2. Nate Diaz/MMA Fighter
In 2016, UFC fighter Nate Diaz openly vaped CBD during a news conference after his defeat from Conor McGregor. What made this move so controversial was the fact that the substance was still banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
When Diaz was questioned about what he was vaping, he let the media know it was CBD and that the cannabinoid helped with “the healing process and inflammation.” He also let on that he uses CBD both before and after training and fights to make “life a better place.”
Diaz has been the inspiration for several other MMA fighters to use CBD, including “Rampage” Jackson, who says CBD has been “very important.” Jackson says he’s glad that Diaz “stood up for us and made it legal for us MMA fighters.”
3. Derrick Morgan/NFL Linebacker
Tennessee Titans Linebacker Derrick Morgan made headlines in 2016 when he spoke out openly about his use of CBD. Like Monroe, Morgan is concerned about CTE and has researched enough to know that CBD could help.
“A lot of the information coming out about concussion research and CTE caught my attention,” he told USA Today’s For the Win in 2016. “You hear about a lot of former players suffering from depression and dementia. Or the suicides. That’s the glaring extreme end. You don’t hear as much about the guys suffering from those ailments, but not to such an extreme. I realized I had to be as proactive as I could be.”
Morgan, who uses CBD to relieve pain and inflammation, has donated money to a couple of studies at John Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania aimed to examine the effects of medical cannabis on former NFL players. He’s also encouraged other NFL players to consider using CBD over opioids for pain management.
“We’re sponsored by alcohol and beer companies, their logos are everywhere, and look at the damage that does,” Morgan said. “It’s crazy to me that the stigma behind marijuana appears to be preventing further study into cannabis.”
4. Gina Mazany/MMA Fighter
While MMA fighter Gina Mazany didn’t voice her opinion about CBD until after the ban was removed from the WADA, she strongly supports the use of the cannabinoid. Mazany, who is nicknamed “Danger,” says that she likes to take CBD before fights as a way to combat pre-game anxiety.
“There are so many ways that CBD can benefit everyone in one way or another.”
We couldn’t agree more.
5. Cullen Jenkins/NFL Defensive Lineman
Cullen Jenkins has an extensive history in the NFL. He’s played for five different teams since 2003 and helped the Green Bay Packers to their Super Bowl XLV victory. After being cut by Washington in 2016, however, Jenkins found that his football days had come to an abrupt end.
“And you have that sense of, I guess, not of being a failure, but not being good enough as well,” Jenkins said in an interview with sports blogging network SB Nation. “I went through a while where I wouldn’t get out of bed until 2 in the afternoon. You just felt kind of like a bum, or you just felt like — I don’t know there’s a word that I’m looking for to use. You just felt unimportant, I guess. Like you didn’t really matter.”
His wife and cousin were the ones who initially suggested he try CBD oil, which turned out to be something that would ultimately change his life. While Jenkins was skeptical, he said he quickly felt a major change. He contends that his depression and anxiety don’t get to him as much, that his joints feel better and that he can converse with his two teenage daughters without becoming irritable.
Jenkins says that CBD has put an end to the half a fifth of vodka chased by several beers each day. He says he started drinking like this so he could sleep, but the drinking made him sick in the mornings, so he would take pills to relieve this pain and then drink again to sleep. This cycle was one he repeated for longer than he’d like to admit. CBD helped to change everything.
Is There a Place for CBD in Pro Sports?
These are but a few of the famous athletes who swear by CBD.
In June, a monumental move was made in pro basketball when BIG3, the pro 3-on-3 basketball league of former NBA players, announced that they would be the first professional sports league to allow the use of CBD.
“The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners, not property,” said BIG3 co-founder and co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz in a statement after the decision was made. “As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health.”
Other professional sports leagues haven’t yet made the commitment. While removed from WADA, the NFL, NBA and NHL all prohibit the use of CBD by professional players.
This isn’t stopping many of them, though. And many of the famous athletes who have retired from these professional sports leagues and discovered CBD’s benefits are doing what they can to see the cannabinoid available to everyone who needs it.
We imagine that with the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (which legalized growing hemp) that the ban on the use of the beneficial cannabinoid by many pro athletes will one day soon be lifted.