Sports are a fun and beneficial way to stay in shape while also doing something that you love. In fact, well over half the population of the UK alone participates in a sport at least once a week.
When practising sports semi-professionally or professionally, however, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. One of these is staying “clean”, meaning not consuming any drugs or performance enhancers.
Recently, with the rise of CBD popularity, there have been questions raised about whether CBD is safe to use when practising sports; and whether or not it will cause you to fail a drug test.
Should you worry about taking CBD while practising sports? Will it cause you to fail a drug test?
3 Types of CBD and Their Impact on Sports
There are 3 different types of CBD available in the UK now: Isolates, Broad-Spectrum, and Full-Spectrum CBD. This is what you should know about them before consuming CBD while practising sports:
- Isolates are the “purest form” of CBD available and are either presented at a 98% or 99% purity. They come in various forms, including crystals, powder, and liquid form. But they can also be incorporated into “Isolate-based” products.
What makes CBD isolates so special? The fact that they don’t include any THC or any other cannabinoids, just CBD. CBD Isolates are safe to use when practising sports.
What makes Broad-Spectrum CBD so special? The fact that you can get CBD and other nutrients from cannabis and hemp plants, but no THC. Broad-Spectrum CBD is safe to use while practising sports.
Of course, by law it cannot contain enough THC to make you high, but it contains enough that may show up on a drug test. Full-Spectrum CBD can cause you to fail a drug test and is therefore not the best option when practising sports.
Full Spectrum CBD and Sports
Full-Spectrum CBD contains THC. The legal limit in the UK is of less than 0.2% THC, which keeps the THC content of all CBD products well below that which could cause psychoactive effects.
There is a popular theory called the “entourage effect” which supports the idea that CBD works best in the body when taken with THC.
But nonetheless, Full-Spectrum CBD does contain THC -- enough to show up on a drug test. This means that if you are subject to random drug tests (or any drug tests) for your sport, you can be in danger of failing it.
Although there are drug tests, and strong encouragement towards players to stay away from using any types of “street drugs”, there are still loopholes in the system. There is a very good example of this in the Chris Long case.
The Chris Long Case
Chris Long is a former NFL professional player. He was with the Philadelphia Eagles and celebrated two SuperBowl victories with his team over his 11-season career.
Recently, he retired from his long NFL career. This allowed him to talk about his experience with the team, and what it was like to be under a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
One of the subjects he touched was his use of cannabis while on the team, and the way drug tests work for NFL players.
In one interview he had with The Dan Patrick Show, he stated that he had long been using cannabis throughout his sports career. He states that “If not for [the use of cannabis], I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it.”
The importance of cannabis use for Mr Long was very much emphasised in this interview, and he stated that if it weren’t for the help of cannabis, many players are “going to reach for the sleeping pills ... going to reach for the painkillers ... going to reach for the bottle a little bit more.”
The fact that cannabis gave Chris Long and other NFL players so much relief was both great and hard. NFL players are tested annually for drugs, THC being one of them. But this is where the loophole is.
According to Mr Long, “[testing once a year] is kind of silly because, you know, players know when the test is. We can stop.” This strongly suggests that although players do use cannabis, they can stop and allow it to flush out of their system before the test.
By what Chris Long states in his interview, we can get an idea of why people in sports are using cannabis and the implications that it causes. We also get a view into the way professional sports deal with testing for drugs, etc.
But what if there is another option for people practising sports? Well, there is. CBD (specifically isolates and broad-spectrum) can be a way that athletes can use cannabis-derived products to enhance their daily lives, instead of using cannabis.
CBD and Sports According to UK Laws
According to current UK laws, athletes still have to remain far away from narcotics and drugs (yes, including THC). But there is no rule or regulations yet that specifically state that CBD is prohibited.
Why? CBD is non-psychoactive. THC and CBD are two completely different cannabinoids. One of them is non-psychoactive (CBD), and the other one can produce psychoactive effects if taken in larger amounts.
Therefore, CBD itself will not cause you to fail a drug test -- it’s the small traces of THC in certain CBD products that can. So what can you do if you are an athlete who has to pass drug tests, but wants to incorporate CBD into your life?
Stick to taking CBD Isolates or Broad Spectrum CBD! Neither of them should contain any THC, and therefore should not be a threat. But you always want to make sure to double-check any product that you want to buy.
Make sure you are buying from reputable brands that provide third-party lab results so you can be sure just how much CBD and THC are in the product.