Sports and CBD: What You Need to Know

Published April 2020. Updated July 2021.

In Spring 2020, when COVID became a presence in our everyday lives, athletes and non-athletes alike became increasingly more aware of their overall health, with a heightened focus on bolstering  the immune system. Consumers took the time to research what functional ingredients would strengthen their immunity, help them sleep better, and decrease stress levels, which lead to them purchasing products with ingredients like CBD.  

As more professional athletes like Gabby Douglas, Kerry Walsh-Jennings, Megan Rapinoe, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Hawk, and Magic Johnson extol the virtues of CBD for a variety of sports-related health concerns including post-activity recovery, consumers who participate in athletics have gained interested in what the cannabinoid might do for them.   

If you are an athlete who is curious about using cannabinoids including CBD but don’t know where to start or what to look for, here are some frequently asked questions and answers. 

Table of Contents 

What is WADA, and how does it interface with international and national sports governing bodies in terms of determining anti-doping and drug policy? 

What is each major athletic association/league’s stance on CBD and cannabis? 

Is CBD legal in every state? 

What’s the difference between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD? 

Are all CBD products THC-free? 

What should consumers look for when selecting a CBD product? What should they look for on a product label to make sure there is no detectable THC in it? 

Will CBD show up on a drug test? 

Are there any side effects after ingesting CBD? 

How long does CBD stay in your system after ingestion? 

What is WADA, and how does it interface with international and national sports governing bodies in terms of determining anti-doping and drug policy?

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, was formed in 1999 as an international, independent agency to coordinate the fight against doping in athletics. In 2004, it introduced “The World Anti-Doping Code,” the core document that aligns anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities around the world. It works in conjunction with six International Standards which aim to foster consistency among anti-doping organizations in various areas: Testing; laboratories; Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs); the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods; the protection of privacy and personal information; and Code Compliance by Signatories. This unified approach addresses problems that previously arose from disjointed and uncoordinated anti-doping efforts. 

One of the largest international governing bodies is the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They recognize other federations for individual sports: The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), and the Association of the IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF). The IOC has an Olympic Charter which sets rules and expectations for Olympic athletes (https://www.wada-ama.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/ioc_anti-doping_rules_tokyo2020.pdf). IOC defines doping as the occurrence of one or more of the antidoping rule violations as laid out in the charter. The rule topics include: Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample; use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method; evading, refusing, or failing to submit to sample collection; tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control, and possession of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.  

In 2018, WADA declared CBD an acceptable substance. It is the first major agency to acknowledge CBD as a compound separate from marijuana (THC). That said, the organization does caution athletes using CBD to be aware of the THC levels in the CBD products they are using. Their guiding document states, “Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”
 This is the current list of Sports Organizations that have accepted the code:  

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/code-signatories 

What is each major athletic association/league’s stance on CBD and cannabis? 

Each has their own stance on cannabinoid use, and they vary drastically.  

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association)  

Following WADA guidelines (see above), use of CBD is allowed, but THC is not. 

NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)  

Cannabinoids are listed on the 2020-2021 Banned Substances List, specifically, “marijuana; tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., spice, K2, JWH-018, JWH-073).” CBD is not listed as a banned cannabinoid; however, the document also states, “Any substance that is chemically related to one of the above classes, even if it is not listed as an example, is also banned!” One can infer from this statement that CBD would also be banned, as it is chemically related to the marijuana plant. That said, the only cannabinoid they test for is THC.   

MLB (Major League Baseball) 

  In December of 2019, MLB became the first professional sports league in the US to remove cannabis from its list of banned substances. In a press release, MLB in association with the Players League commented, “Natural cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program’s list of Drugs of Abuse. Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties’ Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player’s Club or the Commissioner’s Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids.” Players are not allowed to enter into commercial arrangements with cannabis companies.  
 MLS (Major League Soccer)  

If a substance is banned by the US Anti-Doping Agency or FIFA, it is banned by the league. Following WADA guidelines, use of CBD is allowed, but THC is not.  

 NBA (National Basketball League) 

Cannabis (CBD and THC) is one of many substances banned by the NBA/NBPA Anti-drug Program, but it did not test players during the 2020-2021 season for cannabis. In the past, if a player tested positive for THC, he had to comply with subsequent testing and may be required to seek treatment. What remains unclear is whether hemp-derived CBD would trigger a suspension. Prior to 2020, players were randomly tested four times a year and could not exceed the THC threshold of 15ng/ml.  

 NFL (National Football League)  

The NFL’s current drug policy prohibits the use of THC and synthetic cannabinoids. If a player consumes hemp-derived CBD oil with 0.3% THC or more, they might be disciplined. The most recent collective bargaining agreement ended the policy of suspending players for a positive cannabis test. If a player tests positive during the first two weeks of training camp, the test is reviewed by a group of medical professionals appointed by the players and league. That board then decides if the player needs treatment. 

 NHL (National Hockey League)  

The NHL essentially has two drug policies. The first is the performance enhancing drug policy which bans drugs such as stimulants, growth hormones, anabolic agents and drugs that are considered to give players an advantage. The second is the SABH program (Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health). This program was designed for the specific purpose of dealing with issues of substance abuse for players in a confidential manner. If they determine a player’s drug test features “abnormally high levels” of THC, they will contact the player, recommend they enter the SABH, in which they’ll develop an individualized treatment plan, but they are not forced to go.  

 WNBA (Women’s National Basketball League) 

Cannabis and its byproducts are listed as prohibited substances in the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The WNBA has a specific marijuana program in the anti-drug section of the CBA. 

 USA Triathlon  

Under USADA and WADA, CBD is an acceptable substance for triathletes to use. In fact, they have created a partnership with a company producing CBD products. 

Is CBD legal in every state?

Purchasing CBD is federally legal if it does not contain more than 0.3% THC, but some state laws have put restrictions on buyers. In Virginia, for example, people can only buy and possess CBD if they have a prescription.  

What’s the difference between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD?

Hemp and marijuana come from the same family of plants, Cannabis Sativa L. Hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD contain different levels of THC. Hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC content, while marijuana plants contain higher levels of THC. For more information, check out our blog, Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate: What’s the Difference? 

Are all CBD products THC-free?

No. Most CBD products are likely to have trace amounts of THC, particularly if the CBD was sourced from marijuana plants as opposed to hemp plants. Most CBD products contain non-detectable THC; products featuring CBD isolate have 0% THC in it. 

For more information, check out our blog: Hemp-Derived CBD Vs Cannabis-Derived CBD 

What does non-detectable (ND) THC mean?

Some companies offer CBD products with non-detectable THC. As mentioned above, the industry and legal standard for THC concentration in CBD products derived from hemp is less than 0.3% THC by weight. This means that a CBD product may legally contain up to three parts of THC for every 1000 parts of oil by weight. To determine if a product is within this legal limit, reputable CBD manufacturers have their products tested by third-party labs to obtain a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The letters “ND” indicate this “non-detect” level of THC in a product. The THC amount in said product is too small to be detected by the instruments used in third-party testing. 

Will CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD should not show up on a drug test, but there have been cases of people using CBD products testing positive for THC. It depends on the quality and composition of the product the person is taking, as many CBD products contain trace amounts of THC. Hemp-derived CBD products are less likely to contain THC because they are legally required to have less than 0.3% THC content. Athletes who want to use CBD products but are afraid of failing a drug test should look for products featuring CBD isolate. 

What should consumers look for when selecting a CBD product? What should they look for on a product label to make sure there is no detectable THC in it?

When it comes to product selection by the consumer, it’s important to look at company websites and read product reviews. Most importantly, the consumer should look for products that have been tested for quality and safety throughout the production process and that the product has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) This document is a lab report that verifies the chemical makeup of the product. 

Product labels display dosing information, milligrams of CBD, serving size/servings per container, CBD oil source, manufacturing date, batch and lot number, license numbers and third-party verification.  

If you are looking specifically for a product with no detectable THC, make sure the product is hemp derived. To do this, ask for a copy of the Certificate of Analysis (COA). Many product websites and retailers have the COA available online. Cross check the CBD concentration on the product label with that on the COA. If they match, and the COA  indicates “ND” for D9-THC,  then there is no detectable THC in the product. 

Are there any side effects after ingesting CBD?

Harvard Medical School physician, Peter Grinspoon, states that side effects of CBD can include “nausea, fatigue and irritability.” CBD can also “increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does.” If you decide to try CBD and take other medications, consult with your doctor about possible interactions. 

How long does CBD stay in your system after ingestion? 

This depends on the way you ingest CBD. Also take into consideration that each person processes cannabinoids differently based on our unique body compositions. To learn more about consumption methods, check out our blog: Consumption Methods For Your Lifestyle.
 

Resources 

https://www.wada-ama.org/en 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 

https://www.projectcbd.org/ 

https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/ 

How 4/20 Can Be A Way of Life and Doesn’t Mean You’re High!

4/20 can be a way of life

The term “4/20” has one of the most interesting and legendary origin stories in stoner culture. Despite the dramatic–though apocryphal–connections to police codes and hidden numerology, it actually comes from a story about a group of California high school students in the 70s bent on locating an abandoned cannabis crop in the nearby San Rafael forest. They met at 4:20pm each day to search for it, and eventually “4/20” became their code for getting high. The students had connections to the Grateful Dead fanship, and the term soon caught on with Deadhead subculture, eventually amplified into widespread consciousness through High Times magazine in the 90s. Today it is a global phenomenon, emblematic of stoner culture and the Prohibition era that necessitated speakeasy-style coded language. It’s definitely not a secret anymore! 

Though we don’t condone the stigma attached to the pre-legalization market, 4/20 doesn’t have to live in the realm of cannabis leaf sunglasses and Bob Marley wallhangings. 4/20 as a way of life means embracing the range of cannabis-derived products that can improve your happiness and well-being. 

Be Like Snoop; Smoke Weed Everyday! 

More and more people in the modern cannabis marketplace are embracing the concept of maintenance dosing, but that doesn’t mean they are getting high. CBD, THC’s non-intoxicating partner, can be optimized at smaller daily or ongoing dosages. In aggregate, these smaller doses can soften waves of stress rather than allowing them to peak and responding after the fact. It’s a proactive, rather than reactive, approach. Maintenance dosing also allows consumers to take advantage of the myriad low-dose products on the market. For many, a single low dose of CBD may not be enough to feel an effect, but when taken regularly, those doses add up to a meaningful difference in quality of life.    

Think Outside The Bong 

Most of our customers aren’t necessarily looking to light up. SōRSE emulsion technology appeals to those who want a more predictable, cleaner-feeling cannabis product. Expanding the concept of 4/20 to include beverages and topicals takes it beyond the smoke session and into everyday life. Layering is an adjacent concept, based on the idea that using multiple consumption methods yields a symphonic, presumably better tolerated, effect. For example, one can use a suppository, a topical, and an edible to treat certain types of discomfort. As a wider range of cannabinoids becomes available, using multiple consumption methods can be a way to diversify and amplify the effectiveness of your products.    

Be Proud, Get Loud 

Attitudes about cannabis are changing. Lazy stoner stereotypes and stigmas belong in the past. Did you know that cannabis users are more, not less, likely to exercise? That Bill Gates, Carl Sagan, and Steve Jobs have all used cannabis to decrease stress and enhance their creativity? As time wears on, Michael Phelps’ cannabis scandal seems more and more ridiculous. Every day it gets a little easier to be out as a cannabis consumer. Whether you enjoy the non-intoxicating calmness of Mad Tasty or want to get elevated with Major, you are reaping the benefits of cannabis. Hemp and marijuana are the same plant; the only difference is their percentage of THC. Instead of using CBD to distance and abstract from the illicit associations of 4/20, we should embrace all the cannabinoids as useful and complementary parts of a wondrous plant. 4/20 as a lifestyle means taking advantage of all the different ways cannabis can make your life better. 

COVID-19 & CBD: A Look Back at March

COVID-19 & Medical Cannabis Patients: What You Need to Know

We can all agree that March has been a hard month for so many reasons — reasons we can’t explain to our friends, family, coworkers, or clients. 

While it’s easy to focus on all the negatives that have come with the COVID-19 crisis, we need to focus on the positives to help us get through it. People are making a point to connect with one another, whether it’s over the phone, via Facetime or through Zoom. Teachers are getting creative as they teach their students remotely, many restaurants have shifted to their menus to take-out, people are making masks for healthcare workers, musicians are livestreaming performances and DJs are hosting virtual dance parties. 

In many ways, the virus that has pushed people physically apart has brought us closer together.  

Cannabis as an Essential Business 

COIVD-19 has also forced government officials to think about what businesses are essential, and which aren’t. Something that is essential is “absolutely necessary” or “extremely important.” Grocery store – essential. Hair salon – non-essential. Gas station – essential. Clothing store – non-essential. Cannabis dispensary – essential. 
 

When San Francisco Mayor London Breed first announced the city would begin its shelter in place order on March 16 that would begin the next day at 12AM, the city had designated cannabis dispensaries as non-essential businesses, and they would have to close that evening until the order was lifted. 24 hours later, her position had changed; the Department of Public Health announced the decision had been reversed, acknowledging that cannabis dispensaries are essential. 

In a tweet on March 17th, the Department of Public Health stated, Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.” 

 

In all of the states where cannabis is recreationally legal, dispensaries remain open. Many have had to shift the way they do business – such as offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery services, or limiting the number of people who can enter a dispensary at one time. Most states where cannabis is medicinally legal have made allowances as well – ensuring that medical card holders will have continued access to what they need. 

  

The fact that cannabis dispensaries, which carry many different types of products – CBD, THC, CBN and alike – have been granted this designation of “essential business” is an indicator of how public interest in cannabinoids has grown in the past few years and how people are more accepting of the cannabis plant in general. Last year we saw public interest in CBD explode, followed by huge growth in the CBD marketplace, which led to oversaturation. Currently, there has been a spike in e-commerce CBD sales. After conducting a survey recently, the Brightfield Group reported that 4 in 10 CBD users planned to use CBD more frequently because of the virus. They also stated that 49% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers plan on using more CBD in the weeks and months to come. During a health crisis such as this one, people are more inclined to practice self-care for their mental and physical wellbeing – and for many, CBD and other cannabinoids are part of their daily healthcare routines.  

Increased Demand and Increased Safety Protocols 

There is no doubt that in the past two weeks, we’ve seen an increase in demand for cannabis products – both CBD and THC. Dispensaries in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver have had a steady stream of customers in their businesses – while also being extremely diligent about people keeping a safe distance apart and only letting in a certain number of customers at a time. Dispensaries have also been creative in how best to serve their customers, including offering curbside delivery to cars pulling up outside their businesses. This not only means that sales are up in dispensaries, but for the growers and product producers supplying the dispensaries. One of our THC partnersGreenMedLabs in Washington State, which produces cannabis beverages, has seen their orders triple in the past two weeks, while online orders for Mad Tasty, a CBD sparkling beverage powered by SōRSE, are up 40% since March 7th. 

Cannabis dispensaries being deemed essential businesses was and still is big news, especially for those who have been using cannabis for years and understand the benefits the plant has to offer. Those people have not been afraid to express themselves to government officials over the past few weeks, to say, “I need this. It is essential for my health, for my well-being. And my well-being matters.” 

SōRSE — Here to Help 

At SōRSE, the quality and safety of our products has always been our highest priority. As we continue essential operations through the COIVD crisis, we can confidently rely on the measures we established to ensure product safety. The processes, practices, and protocols in our Quality Management System are all the more relevant now, and we are confident that they meet or exceed all current published guidelines. Nonetheless, we added additional steps to ensure the safety of our employees and products.  

 

When news of the virus first broke, the management team asked that all personnel not directly involved in production work from home and take all CDC recommended precautions to stay safe. We instituted additional cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces, and our co-mans have done the same.  If any employee or their family member shows symptoms of COIVD-19 or any other illness, we require them to self-quarantine for 14 days. We are relieved to report that at this time, our team remains healthy and symptom-free. 

 

It appears that we are in for another month of social distancing to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. While we know that this situation is difficult on many levels for so many people, we want to remain positive, continue to help our customers, and keep each other’s spirits up. Next month, April, is just around the bend. It’s a time when we can make all 30 days a literal 4/20. We’ll still celebrate the cannabis plant, our essential need, and all it has to offer. We will just have to do it inside and from afar. 

 

We know that this situation is impacting our partners in different ways. If you have questions that need answers, we’re here to help. 

 

How Pearl Mixer Eased the Pain of Nerve Damage

XRAY image of broken collar bone.

Often when people think of cannabis, the old tropes and clichés about stoners, lack of motivation and partiers come to mind. It’s what the stodgy status quo has tried to instill in the minds of the people for decades. But, when you get down to the nuance of it, the nitty-gritty of human lives and the benefits cannabis can offer them, the picture turns into something much different and much more clear.

Take John, for example. Every day, John experiences physical pain. “I wake up with the feeling that somebody is dragging their fingernails along the nerves inside my entire arm,” he says, “causing the tendons to feel as though they are engulfed in flames.”

The result of an operation, John now has ten titanium screws and two titanium rods inserted in his body. “I spent eight hours on an operating table,” he explains, “turned over once, like a pig on a rotisseries, to repair the near-fatal nerve and degenerative disc problem [I have]. I am thankful for Pearl Mixer every day,” he says.

In an era when elected officials all across America are struggling to find solutions to the increasing and scary opiate epidemic – where sick people of mind and body are abusing drugs they buy both from shady sidewalk deals and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals – John says he has not had to succumb to that type of result or temptation, thanks in large part to the much healthier and available Pearl2O. “I should probably be addicted to opiates,” he admits, “but I’m not because I’m lucky enough to live in a state with legalized cannabis for my pain management and well being.”

An experienced cannabis patient over the years due to his ailments, John says he’s happily made Pearl Mixer a part of his daily regimen. He puts the tasteless and odorless creative water in his coffee each morning and in his Gatorade in the afternoon after physical therapy sessions and exercise. “It works for me,” he says, succinctly. “It reduces and almost eliminates the nerve pain.”

And while some might try desperately to keep many under the assumption that responsibly managed cannabis is harmful and should not be proliferated let John’s story resonate, let it change your mind. Let his words sink in and let his relief and healing be the new conventional cannabis association. “Pearl Mixer takes the nightmare out of my day,” he says. “Everyday.”

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficiency of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. If you are taking any medication or are under treatment for any disease, please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using these products.