What is CBD?

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With the legalization of cannabis officially enacted recently in Canada, the substance has found its way to the forefront of many discussions about its health effects. While its use recreationally is now much more familiar to the public, for years cannabis has had an established place in the healthcare sector.

One of the elements of cannabis that has been growing in popularity recently in the health and wellness world is the use of cannabidiol, known more simply as “CBD”. There are numerous studies that suggest CBD can aid with things such as pain, inflammation and anxiety to even more serious conditions such as cancer, type one diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

The important thing to keep in mind, despite being from the same plant, CBD is a very different compound than THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the most prominent compound in the cannabis plant and is the substance that causes the high one would feel when consuming marijuana.

According to Medical News Today, “unlike THC, it [CBD] is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body.” These changes in the body are what result in the health benefits that many are experiencing.

There are a wide range of CBD products out on the market today, so it can be consumed in a variety of ways. Products such as chewable gummies, creams, vape pods, beverages and some foods are made with CBD contents, but the most common form is the CBD oil.

To put a sports slant on this story, former National Hockey League player, Paul Bissonnette, mentioned a sponsorship partnership with a CBD oil company called Urbal Activ on his podcast Spittin’ Chiclets. Bissonnette’s perspective on these kinds of products is interesting as this would be quite a development if CBD products became prominent in the professional sports circle. Athletes push their bodies to great lengths and are commonly forced to medicate in order to push through the rigors of a full season. Painkillers are damaging long-term and can be very addictive. Wouldn’t a natural product with no addictive properties be just what professional sports need today?

According to an article by Nick Kovacevich in Forbes, the first North American professional sports league to take the plunge in allowing CBD use by its players was the BIG3 basketball league. The league, commissioned by Ice Cube, made the announcement back in June through a press release.

“In the U.S., the shift is beginning to happen as the medication is not only used for pain management, but preferred over the powerfully addictive opioids and pain-relief drugs that are often the only other option,” according to the release. “Professional athletes who could benefit medicinally are prevented from doing so by league outdated mandates.”

It seems like BIG3 is moving in the way of the future as the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) also announced it was removing CBD from its banned substances in late 2017.

The big four leagues probably won’t be too far behind and they shouldn’t be either if CBD is a safe and natural solution to the problem of their players’ health condition. If the NFL acts, the other leagues will certainly follow. It appears that marijuana usage is already at a major high-point anyways in the league, so it would make sense if CBD were allowed. Former NFL tight end, Martellus Bennett, voiced his experiences with the prominence of marijuana when he played in the NFL in a podcast interview.

“I want to say about 89 per cent,” said Bennett when asked how many players he believed used marijuana. “There are times of the year where your body just hurts so bad. You don’t want to be popping pills all the time. There are anti-inflammatory drugs you take so long that they start to eat at your liver, kidneys and things like that. A human made that. God made weed.”

CBD would appear to provide the perfect compromise for these athletes and their leagues. At this point, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before CBD takes a role in athletic health maintenance at the highest level. It’ll be interesting to watch how things progress.

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