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Why Athletes Use CBD Oil

An MMA fighter’s bold step resulted in a change in global policy in an unprecedented way.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was largely influenced in its decision to reverse some of its policies by a small act of bravery by one athlete. Nate Diaz, an MMA fighter, staked his reputation, and career, by puffing on CBD-laden vape pen in public at a news conference. The that simple, but highly risky act was to later lead to a policy change with far-reaching consequences for the sporting fraternity.

WADA recently purged CBD from its list of illegal substances. This has allowed professional athletes to freely use the substance which is known to offer relief for conditions such as inflammation. CBD or Cannabinoid is an extract of industrial hemp. Hemp belongs to the cannabis family which is mostly associated with marijuana.

However, CBD does not exhibit the hyperactive properties (the “high” effect) associated with marijuana.

We look at the effects of the change in policy by WADA for sports professionals and the general public and why athletes, in particular, are enthralled by this decision.




The fight between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor on August 20, 2016, was a game changer for millions of people across the world. McGregor held the mixed-martial arts featherweight title and Diaz was determined to wrestle it away. That never came to pass; Conor McGregor defeated Nate Diaz to retain his title as the featherweight mixed-martial arts champion.

That defeat weighed down on Diaz and the public did not expect him to be in high spirits when he addressed the media in his post-fight press conference. He was obviously battered and deeply disappointed. The big surprise was his appearance with a vape pen and his subsequent rant about his actions.

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He told the assembled journalists that the vape contained CBD oil which he explained was essential in healing the body after such bruising fights. He further touted CBD’s action in relieving inflammation and its potential to make life better for athletes.

As Diaz proclaimed the healing powers of CBD, it remained on WADA’s list of banned substances. The substance was therefore on the list of banned substances across all countries that subscribe to WADA and was hence on the radar of the respective national anti-doping agencies including the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). For every sport governed by WADA’s rules, it is mandatory for athletes to undergo tests for banned substances before and after participation. According to the rules used at the time, UFC fighters were allowed a 6-hour pre and post-fight window.  This meant that the athletes were not allowed to use any banned substance 6 hours before and after the fight.

Although Diaz had tested negative for all prohibited products infused with CBD, his public display of a violation warranted severe punishment from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) according to the prevailing rules.



However, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency merely issued a reprimand against Diaz. The warning was to ensure that such an infraction did not occur again. This led the UFC to change the rules to shorten the window period allowed for athletes to use prohibited substances. It became official that the in-competition window would only close after collection of the sample for the post-fight drug test.

WADA is a foundation which was started by the International Olympic Committee to monitor and coordinate the fight against the use of drugs in sports. The foundation is based in Canada and aims to promote the fight against drugs in sports by promoting educational, scientific research and development activities that deal with anti-doping capacities. The organization also develops the World Anti-Doping Code which guides all affiliated national associations.

When WADA announced that cannabidiol is no longer a prohibited substance, it did not take long for other regional agencies to follow suit. The rules developed by these regional and national agencies are normally closely aligned with those of WADA. Although psychoactive cannabis is still prohibited by both USADA and WADA, there are reports that CBD will, starting in 2018, be removed from the list of banned substances by USADA.

Diaz has been praised for the lending impetus to the push for policy change by WADA and the movement that has coalesced around the need to legalize CBD for use by everyone.

Nate and his brother Nick Diaz who is also an MMA fighter, have been vocal advocates for the legalization of cannabis for a long time. Nate admitted that although he has gotten assistance from industry sponsorships with regard to CBD, he also made a conscious decision to use CBD “organically”  so that his advocacy can be informed from a point of knowledge and first-hand experience.



For Diaz, this was a tough decision that was borne out of the frustration of many athletes involved in tough sports such as MMA fights, which leave competitors in serious pain and their bodies completely battered. This suffering cannot possibly be compensated by the attendant fame or money.

Scientific research has shown that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that helps in treating chronic pain associated with conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. It also regulates gastric motility making it perfect for the treatment of colitis and Crohn’s disease.

CBD has also been found to be a very powerful antioxidant making it an important antagonist of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. These antioxidant properties also make it ideal for the prevention of conditions such as multiple sclerosis and the treatment of some skin diseases. The substance has further been shown to alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

1200mg CBD oil has been effective when used to treat insomnia and the results have helped millions of patients experience stable sleep patterns. CBD’s potent antipsychotic properties have been helpful in treating schizophrenic patients and managing many other conditions.

CBD has a distinct advantage because it does not have any odor and therefore gives you the flexibility to be innovative in different ways to consume it. You can take the oil by mixing it into any other food that suits your palate. Whether it is coffee or cake, CBD oil gives you endless ways to ingest it and get the benefits of nature.

The substance can be vaped (which remains one of the most popular ways), taken as a CBD tincture or gummies. You may be seeking a quick relief from pain, treating a sleep disorder, managing seizures or treating a skin condition – whatever the reason you are using CBD oil, you have at your disposal numerous options to utilize it successfully.

CBD is an extract from hemp and hemp itself has been found to have its own unique health benefits. It has been found to be rich in fiber and other nutrients such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Hemp seeds are also rich in proteins, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, calories, dietary fiber and B vitamins. With a nutty flavor that is delicious, hemp seeds can be incorporated in yogurt or salads and the powdery form can be used in smoothies.



A lot of people downplayed the significance of the policy change by the World Anti-Doping Agency. But for those concerned with the welfare of suffering athletes, it was the first step in the right direction to treat fighters who use substances like CBD and cannabis in a more humane way.

Far from athletes, the move is encouraging for hemp advocates who have been fighting for the plant to be legalized. The professional athletes, being role models, gives them a moral high ground to advocate for social change. This can be used positively for those seeking to advance a just cause.

This change in attitude will help the movement for the legalization of hemp which may lead to the lifting of the ban on cannabis.

Athletes are involved in exercises that impact hard on their bodies. The effects of such intense exercises are very similar to those of caffeine in the body. The consumption of coffee has been shown to cause cortisol levels to rise. CBD oil has the opposite effect on the levels of cortisol and at the same time can boost the consumer’s energy levels. This is advantageous because CBD accomplishes this without the jitters associated with other psychoactive substances such as coffee.

Research has indicated that the endocannabinoid system in the brain is the main originator of a euphoric effect after an intense exercise. When CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System, it reacts with a natural endocannabinoid compound called anandamide. This sets off a calm sensation accompanied by pain-free euphoria. CBD oil is an essential component both before and after intense exercises to manage pain safely for many athletes.

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