Is CBD Good for Athletes?

Is-CBD-Good-for-Athletes- An increasing number of athletes are singing the praises of CBD for everything from muscle recovery to alternative painkillers. The conversation around CBD in the athletic world is a familiar one to those who know about cannabidiol, with some espousing the potential benefits of the cannabinoid, and others being standing stoically by their doubt. 

With athletics and sports, the conversation is a little more complex, as there are legal questions to consider as well. 

The Legality of CBD in Sport

For a long time, cannabis of all forms was outright banned by regulators in all sports and other athletic competition. While this has changed, the trace amounts of THC present in CBD have got athletes in trouble in the past, as 11-time Ironman competition-winning Lauren Goss discovered after being banned for six months from competition prior to last year’s World Championships after using a CBD cream. 

This is where, as is so often the case with laws and regulations surrounding CBD, things start to get a little murky. CBD is, technically, permitted in sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency (or WADA to its friends) but other cannabinoids are not, and as Goss (who also lost sponsorship deals as a result of her ban) learnt, even trace amounts of THC as found in CBD products can be flagged by doping tests and have severe consequences. 

The Advocates of CBD for Athletes

Cannabis itself is something that many former athletes such as retired NFL great Rob Gronkowski, retired NBA stars like John ‘Spider’ Salley and Matt Barnes advocate, as does current golfer Bubba Watson (although it’s probably fair to assume that getting high doesn’t give you much of a boost when it comes to playing golf, apart from maybe adding a certain level to your appreciation of your aesthetic environmental surroundings).

Even the late David Stern, during his time as commissioner of the NBA, said that medical marijuana should be allowed for players.

It is no surprise, therefore, to see these stars also advocating CBD, but as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid (one that doesn’t get you high) CBD is not banned from sports, and therefore there is more freedom for the prospective benefits to be considered. 

Quick disclaimer, we are going to delve pretty much headfirst into the world of hearsay here, these are opinions that have been expressed, and while you are free to draw your own conclusions, we do need to state that anecdotal evidence is not considered to be fact in the same way scientific evidence may be. 

One of the first people to speak out about CBD was retired NHL hockey player Riley Cote, a notorious tough guy for whom getting into punch ups with other players was a large part of his job description (hockey is crazy). 

Repeated trauma to body and brain left Cote with chronic pain, but his use of CBD twice a day has, according to a Wired interview, be a “game-changer”. 

Another athlete currently advocating for the use of cannabidiol is Megan Rapinoe, the outspoken USA football (fine, soccer) player who rose to public attention in 2019 after an amazing World Cup performance and her less than subtle interview style. 

Rapinoe has teamed up with her twin sister on a CBD brand aimed at aiding athletes in recovery. In an interview, Megan says CBD helped her with sleep regulation, post-workout recovery, and more. 

Is There Truth in It?

If you know us at all, you know we can’t give a straight answer to that question, because there simply isn’t one yet. 

Research is happening, but it’s going to be a while before we know for sure whether the benefits claimed by some athletes are scientifically verified. 

That being said, we’re also not coming out and saying that these athletes are lying, as far as we’re concerned, if they say it helps them, then it helps them, but the various reasons this could be true is why anecdotal evidence cannot be enough on its own. 

Our best advice is read through this, and the linked interviews, and see how you feel. If it’s something you want to try, then we are here to help. 

Do you find CBD aids you in post-workout recovery or any other aspect of athletics or fitness? Do you have an opinion? Let us know in the comments below.


The products we sell do not have proven health benefits. While research is being carried out, these products are not, and should not, be considered to be medical products.

Any information we give in these articles is taken from scientific research, but should not be considered as a statement of fact. Links and information included in these articles do not reflect the opinion of Plant & Hemp. Any link to scientific studies is for information only, and not intended as a proof of any specific fact, or to validate any specific opinion.

We are simply bringing you the information needed to make an informed decision on what you want to use CBD for, and what you are comfortable using our products for.

CBD products should not be used as a replacement for any prescribed medication, under UK and International Law.

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