Cannabidiol—commonly known as CBD—has become a household word. Seemingly overnight, the compound has made its mark as the most popular natural supplement ever to hit the market. Used for treating inflammation, pain, anxiety, and a wide array of other conditions, its popularity shows no sign of slowing. Surprisingly, even former pro athletes have begun endorsing hemp.
It should come as no surprise that CBD and sports go hand-in-hand. The physical demands athletes face mean that pain is par for the course during their careers. Injuries are common, and addiction to narcotic pain meds is rampant in organizations like the NFL, which has faced numerous controversies over their practice of dispensing narcotics to players. Indeed, the opioid epidemic has affected pro sports pretty hard, and when retirement finally arrives, many former athletes are faced with a lifetime of chronic pain as well as battling an addiction to the medications that keep it under control.
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of banned substances, marking a small victory for supporters of cannabis within the pro sports community. While CBD is still prohibited in certain leagues, much of the stigma surrounding the plant medicine has been removed. Retired players, in particular, have come forward with their stories of how the compound has changed their outlook, improved their health, and given them a better quality of life.
Athletes are not just talking about CBD, either. Many have become actively involved in the growing hemp industry as spokespersons, and several have even started their own CBD companies. Next, we will take a look at a few of them.
Former Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe was the first NFL player to advocate for the use of CBD. He actively partners with Green Thumb Industries, an organization that provides knowledge and education about the benefits of hemp-based products.
For Monroe, the task is personal. After years of the rigors of pro football, he developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The brain injury is seen in over 90% or pro football players. CBD helped him regain his life back due to its neuroprotective qualities. He participates in education surrounding the compound, particularly as it relates to traumatic brain injury. As a philanthropist, his substantial donations have furthered cannabis research.
Monroe is also outspoken about the misuse of opiates in pro sports; the NFL itself is reputed to hand out pain meds freely to its players. Some 70 percent of players surveyed admit to abusing opioids. Team doctors and trainers have turned a blind eye to the damage this practice has caused in the long run. The goal is to get players off the bench and back in the game. At the same time, the safe use of cannabis products like CBD is prohibited. Monroe’s objective is to help change this mindset.
Kyle Turley is another retired NFL player who developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy after receiving over 100 concussions over his 10-year football career. Towards the end, the former offensive linemen suffered from severe depression and addiction that resulted in violent mood swings and suicidal ideation. He credits cannabis for saving his life.
He went on to found Neuro XPF, a company that focuses primarily on the antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits of cannabidiol. He also developed a nonprofit called the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, a group advocating medical cannabis in the treatment of a variety of neurological conditions.
Kevin Moran and Matt Lombardi
In 2017, retired Canadian professional ice hockey center Matt Lombardi joined forces with former Chicago White Sox Pitcher Kevin Moran. The two launched a new CBD wellness company called Beam. Both athletes had found CBD remarkably useful for treating sleep issues, pain, and inflammation. They were so impressed with the results they experienced, they decided to start sourcing their own CBD products.
Beam’s broad-spectrum tinctures contain no THC at all, which is a benefit for those who worry about workplace drug testing. Broad-spectrum CBD products are made by isolating the CBD from all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant matter and then adding them back into the formulation in specific amounts. In this case, all of the helpful naturally occurring chemicals found in the plant are included, but any trace amounts of THC are removed. The company offers a variety of CBD products sourced from organic Colorado hemp.
Floyd Landis came close to winning the 2006 Tour de France until he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Suspended from professional cycling competitions and depressed, he turned to pills to cope with his ongoing mental and physical pain. It wasn’t long before a full-blown addiction compounded his losses.
He began using CBD, and his chronic pain issues improved. After a while, the depression over his crushed career lifted as well. He made a full recovery from his addiction to pain meds and started living a healthy life once again. The impact CBD had on his well-being spurred him to found Floyds of Leadville, a CBD company that focuses on hemp products especially for athletes.
The company carries CBD oil and other hemp-based products, as well as a powdered protein drink mix that is high in CBD. Floyd himself has become an advocate for cannabidiol, and his honesty about his struggles has become an inspiration for others to live a healthier and more productive life.
CBD and professional sports are perfect for each other for many reasons, but you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the many health benefits of cannabidiol. Finding the right CBD product for you can make all the difference in how you work, sleep, and play and may offer some much-needed relief from chronic pain or injuries.