CBD Gets Approved by WADA For Olympic Athletes

CBD gets approved by WADA1. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently approved of CBD (cannabidiol) use for athletes and sportspeople all around the globe in 2018 and a lot of people have questions. If you’re one of them then you’ve landed at just the right page.

CBD products have been attracting people and so it was natural for Olympic athletes and other professional sportsmen to want to get a taste of all the wellness that is raved on about. Now the athletes finally have a natural (and legal!) cure to all their joint and muscle pain and inflammation problems. One that is free of side effects and is not addicting unlike other NSAIDS and opioids which have more side effects than healing effects on the human body.

CBD not only provides pain relief and inflammation recovery through its analgesic and anti- inflammatory properties, but also supports major human body systems; all the while regulating sleep and working against symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It is not hard to see why CBD is of particular interest to the sportsman community. It practically alleviates all of the major conditions and symptoms they face during their dynamic career.  However, CBD is not allowed to be used in whatever form, quantity and quality. WADA has issued certain guidelines regarding it which we’ll be discussing in detail ahead.


what is cbd? WADA, Olympics and CBD

CBD is short for Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is an active component of a variety of Cannabis Sativa plant (Hemp). First discovered in 1940, it accounts for up to 40% of the plant.

The plant itself has a lot of therapeutic effects and most of them can be credited to CBD. CBD is currently being studied as a possible effective treatment for multiple health conditions like different neuropathies (nerve damages causing extreme pain in all the areas around), anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease) etc.

Cannabis (Hashish, Marijuana, and Bhang) is psychoactive in nature, which in simple terms, means that it acts on your brain and hyper activates it to get you “high”. The active component of Cannabis responsible for the high is TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) and it is because of this very compound that marijuana has mostly only been used (and abused) for recreational purposes and why every Cannabis plant and compound is stereotyped into thinking that gets you high.

CBD is derived from Hemp, which as mentioned above, is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant. This variety contains naturally low THC and high amounts of CBD. CBD itself, therefore, cannot get you high.

Read more about Types of CBD Concentrates.

Legality of CBD

After the Farm Bill was passed in the USA in 2018, CBD containing 0.3% THC or less became legal in almost all states of the US. The UK, Europe, Scandanavia, Australia and some parts of Asia followed closely behind. Almost every country has their own legal laws surrounding CBD though. Example, only 0.2% THC level is permitted to use in France and Sweden and HongKong have a strict 0.00% THC rule.

CBD, therefore, although legal in many countries, is not viewed as the same throughout the world. Here another important concept of what kind of CBD you’re consuming comes into play.

There are three types of CBD:

  • CBD Isolate
    99.7% Pure CBD. No other Cannabis compound whatsoever.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD
    CBD containing other Cannabinoids, Flavonoids, Terpenes, Essential oils etc but no THC.
  • Full Spectrum CBD
    Broad Spectrum CBD with the addition of THC. The exact amount may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, although most only add about 0.3% in it. Read more about What is Full Spectrum CBD?

The other Cannabinoids (including THC) are believed to display an “entourage effect” in combination with CBD and so they enhance the effects of CBD.

Now that you know which variants may contain THC, steer clear of Full-Spectrum CBD products if your country has strict THC laws.

CBD Gets Approved by WADA: What is WADA?

what is wada?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was first founded in 10th November 1999 in LausanneSwitzerland by the International Olympic Committee. Its purpose was to prohibit the use of illegal substances by the athletes in sports. The agency is active since then and fully active in ensuring doping-free sport all over the world by the support and aid of countries from around the world.

WADA publishes an annual list of prohibited substances and all athletes, in or out of competition are regular screened for them. Any trace of such banned substances, found in an athlete’s blood or urine samples can lead to suspension, disqualification, stripping of medals and even a lifelong ban from sports.

According to WADA’s prohibited list, THC, general Cannabinoids and any natural or synthetic Cannabinoids that mimic the effects of THCs are strictly forbidden for use for athletes, and before 2018, CBD, under the general Cannabinoids list, fell under the same prohibited category for athletes.

CBD Gets Approved by WADA: What are the Olympics?

The Olympics is the world’s leading international sporting event categorized into the summer and winter Olympics. Thousands of athletes from over 200 nations participate in the Olympics which normally take place after every 4 years.

Their official logo is composed of five intertwined rings that represent the five participating continents of the time: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. While the six colours (the white background and the colours of the 5 rings) symbolize the colours that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.

There are 4 Types of Olympics directly conducted by International Olympic Committee (IOC).

  1. Winter Olympic games for snow and ice sports
  2. Summer Olympic games.
  3. Youth Olympic games for athletes aged 14 to 18.
  4. Paralympics for athletes with disability conducted by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and recognized by International Olympic Committee.

CBD Gets Approved By WADA: Achievement Unlocked

CBD Gets Approved by WADA

2018 was the year for CBD. On January 01, 2018, WADA’s new and updated list did not contain CBD in it. The Winter Olympics of 2018 were the first Olympics to be held after the law passing.

WADA stated that they had made this decision keeping in mind the health and wellbeing benefits of CBD. Unlike opiods pain medications, CBD has found to be “non-intoxicating and with no potential for dependency, according to a WHO report”

Cannabis, hashish and marijuana remain prohibited.  Products; including foods and drinks containing Cannabis, are also prohibited. And as mentioned above, all synthetic cannabis that mimic the effects of THC are also prohibited in the WADA journal.

Even though this was a big win for all CBD enthusiast, a problem, clearly highlighted by WADA, still remains.

A study published by the American Medical Association (AMA) in November 2017 found mislabeling offenses in some CBD products. The research found that 69% of the products examined contained lower levels of CBD than what was stated on the label. The THC was also misleading and 21% of the products had enough THC content to produce intoxication or sensory impairment.

As per a general guideline in sport, THC has a reporting threshold of 150ng/mL, which means that anything below this level will not be picked up or reported by the WADA accredited laboratories urine drug test. All other unregulated cannabinoids, especially THC, are prohibited in-competition at any presence level and do not have a reporting threshold. Their presence in any amount in your system during the in-competition period is strictly prohibited.

Due to the mislabeling issues mentioned above, if an athlete happens to use a CBD product that contains some amount of THC but they stop using a product in time to help ensure that any THC is cleared from their body, then the use of a CBD product will not cause the athlete to incur an anti-doping rule violation. How long does CBD stay in your system (ATTACH LINK) depends on a lot of factors and is a story for another day.

How CBD can help Olympic Athletes?

CBD interacts with the receptors in our body’s EndoCannabinoid System, which is a natural, fully functional system with or without the use of Cannabis, responsible for regulating sleep, memory, balance, anxiety and a whole lot of other bodily functions.

CBD therefore, attaches with these endocannabinoid system and exerts therapeutic effects.

CBD generally regulates sleep, improves metabolism, boosts immune function, improves mood and helps with anxiety and depression symptoms

The scientifically proved properties are its pain killing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and neuroprotective ones that have proven to provide relief for nausea, various types of inflammation disorders and pains. You can find the details for the type of pains here “CBD for pain”.

Lastly, CBD blocks signals from NMDA receptors (which cause the brain’s hyper-activation, leading to anxiety) and enhances the signals from GABA receptors in the brain which bind to neurotransmitters and ultimately help you relax.

So now you know how Olympic athletes can include it in their daily training regime for sore muscles, relaxation, anxiety and body regulation without fear of repercussions.

CBD Gets Approved by WADA: Athletes that use CBD and advocate for it

Gabby Douglas, Olympic gymnast: uses CBD for pain relief.

gabby douglas uses CBD as CBD gets approved by WADA in 2018

Kerri Walsh Jennings, Olympic beach volleyball player: uses CBD for sleep.

cbd gets approved by wada kerri walsh jennings

Lolo Jones, Olympian athlete: uses CBD to increase recovery speed.

CBD Gets Approved by WADA-Lolo Jones

So far, there isn’t a lot of data on the health risks of CBD. Initial studies suggest is it fairly well tolerated, and that it is not likely to cause dependence or abuse as seen with THC.

The only adverse side effects that have been reported appear to be related to its interactions with prescribed anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, heart and some other medications.

Synthetic cannabinoids although, are different from natural ones and thus pose a significant risk to users. These synthetic compounds bind very strongly to brain receptors, which is why their effects could be powerful and also, unpredictable. It is therefore imperative that you only buy CBD sourced from organically grown Hemp from reliable companies who make sure their products are properly labelled and third-party tested.

Will CBD Show up on a Drug Test?

This is a primary concern for many athletes. A simple answer to that is “no”, if your CBD product is pure and does not contain any other intoxicating compound. General drug tests screen for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, tricyclic antidepressants, PCP, barbiturates, methadone, benzodiazepine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and oxycodone. None of these have any link to CBD and therefore, there is no probability of a test picking it up.

As far as it showing up on a test meant to screen for marijuana use, researchers found that CBD was not picked up by either of two commercially available tests used to screen for marijuana.

The only thing athletes should remember is to buy CBD products that contain either no THC or only under the legal limit. Also, not buying from authentic companies can also be a risk due to the mislabeling issues. CBD typically stays in your body system for 2- 5 days, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. For some people, CBD can stay in their body even for weeks because of their slow metabolism. Moreover, if you are on any other medically prescribed drugs then they can also interfere with CBD metabolism, causing its decreased excretion from the body.

CBD Gets Approved by WADA: Conclusion

The removal of CBD from banned list of WADA is a good news for athletes all over the world. Now athletes and sportsmen can reduce their pain, relieve anxiety and depression symptoms, calm their nerves, get a better sleep and improve their performance all with a simple natural and legal solution.

Although CBD has no known side effects, there is a risk of mislabeling and impurity of the CBD products. This may not only create health hazards for the athlete but also risk their next drug test, putting their career at risk of humiliation or suspension.

I am a 34-year-old father of three that lives in Sweden. I´ve changed my life with the help of CBD and I have a profound interest in the research surrounding CBD. You can read more about me here.

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