CBD for the Win - What Weed Has To Do With The Future of Sport

I know what you're thinking: Why is Akeem writing about weed? Is he a high, crazy or deluded young professional? Is he telling our children to do drugs? 

The answer: NO.

But today I do want to acquaint readers with cannabidiol, or CBD for short - one of at least 113 active cannabinoids found within cannabis and hemp. CBD is a chemical that has no psychoactive properties and is poised to have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people globally. This is due to its potential use as a key ingredient in medicine, providing the ability to help treat diagnoses like inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, decreasing the need for the prescription of opioids. For this reason, scientific studies like the one found here, and recommendations such as this, have become more prominent in recent years. As an increasing amount of doctors and scientists have become consumed by the unlimited potential of this chemical an increasing number have become motivated to find ways to unlock its full capabilities. 

My interest in CBD was made firm last year when the World Health Organization (WHO) made a preliminary report that there was no public health risk or abuse potential for those who use it (WHO Report). Further, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has decided to take CBD off its Banned Substances List for 2018. This means that athletes participating in competition regulated by the WADA drug code - including the Olympic Games, FIBA Basketball World Championships, FIFA World Cup, etc. - will no longer be suspended for using CBD as an instrument for maintaining health, reducing inflammation, rehabilitation, and training. More information about this decision can be found in this article and in WADA's Summary of Modifications.

In my opinion, these two decisions made by international regulatory bodies will have a notable impact on the future studies of cannabidiols and medicine and its use as an active ingredient in sport; though more research and evidence is needed, findings thus far are promising. Eventually, CBD based medicine will take over the market for athletic therapy as professional athletes will aim to decrease recovery time in athletic training, limit opioid use, and assist in player safety in contact sports, for example, by decreasing the threat of brain damage in professional football.  

Recently released Market Data from Stats Canada shows that across the nation there is an increasing amount of Active Registrations for Cannabis for Medical Purposes. As the stigma surrounding this powerful plant begin to soften, the social value of its uses will become more prominent - and these are some of the changes I will be paying attention to.

To wrap up and be clear: I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR YOUTH RECREATIONAL USE OF CANNABIS. The government of Canada, when the legalization of recreational marijuana passes, will put age limits on the ability to purchase similar to what we see with alcohol; and as a former university athlete, I understand how cannabis use would have limited both academic and athletic development if I was a daily recreational user in my youth. Instead, what I am proposing is that readers be prepared for change and for you to do your own due diligence on the subject instead of blindly dismissing it. The stigma attached to smoking shouldn't be attached to CBD itself as there are many alternative routes of administration (i.e. it can be ingested as an oil, or rubbed on your skin as a topical).

One day soon it will be a CBD-infused product that sporting fans can thank for keeping our top athletes healthy so that we can go to sporting events, be entertained, and root for our local sports franchises to bring our cities championships. And that's why it's important we pay attention to the changes occurring around us, continue to learn and continue to cheer: CBD for the Win!

- Akeem Gardner, HB.A., LL.B.

**Note: Clicking on italicised words will take you directly to the source**