By Emily Ledger
There are only six months to go until the most promising athletes from around the world will meet in Japan for the 2020 Olympics. The use of CBD will be permitted among Olympic athletes, but will it carry a risk?
The world Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances in 2017. Since then, a large number of sporting icons, such as US footballer, Megan Rapinhoe, have discussed their use of the Cannabis derivative. Many, like golfing champion, Bubba Watson, have signed endorsement deals – particularly in the US.
Some have even gone as far as to carve out their own brand in the growing industry, like British Rugby players, Dom Day and George Kruis.
Sports stars and athletes are drawn to CBD because it may soothe anxiety, and aid in pain relief and healing. As awareness around the cannabinoid increases, so too does the number of companies incorporating the product.
However, various scandals around false advertising and product contents have triggered a backlash on the industry. In June 2019, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) published its findings that only 38% of the 30 CBD oil products tested by a third-party lab contained within 10% of the advertised CBD content.
Similarly, in the US, the Foods and Drugs Agency (FDA) wrote to 15 CBD companies last year, regarding their products. The products were found to falsely advertise levels of the cannabinoid, and/or make false medical claims.
In a statement. the FDA claimed:
“As part of these actions, FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain.”
The current unreliability of the CBD industry is a cause for concern for many sporting event organisers, including the Olympics. Following the World Anti-Doping Agency dropping the ingredient from its list of banned substances, PGA recommended against the use of CBD products.
While the industry remains unregulated, there remains a chance that illegal levels of THC may be present.
THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency. Athletes could face suspension and investigation if they test positive for the cannabinoid.