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CBD use by professional athletes in competition is allowed by the WADA, but is CBD usage still a risk to test positive for using performance enhancing substances?

Published on 20 June 2021 at 10:31

CBD en doping

Reakiro EU Compliant, third party lab tested, from soil to table controlled,  products


As early as January 2018, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) removed the hemp-derived cannabinoid CBD from the banned performance-enhancing substances list. The WADA also raised the THC threshold from 15 nanograms per milliliter of urine to a whopping 150 nanograms per milliliter of urine.

The introduction of extracts obtained from hemp as an ingredient in sports supplements became a fact. Gradually you see more and more professional athletes who openly admit and even promote the use of CBD sports supplements. Where in the past you could only go to specialized suppliers for your CBD supplements and you could find the CBD supplements in a separate category at the drugstores, you now see the products popping up everywhere and CBD is found also among the other sports supplements without CBD in the sports category at the drugstore. It will not be long before you will also find the CBD supplements in your grocery store next to the protein powders and pre-workouts. Whether or not promoted by well-known professional athletes who are regularly checked for banned performance-enhancing substances.

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CBD Holland & Barret
CBD Holland & Barret

CBD sport supplements  placed in the sports category at  Holland & Barret in the Netherlands and in the UK

RISKS FOR professional ATHLETES who are REGULARLY CHECKED FOR banned substances in competition.

The reasons for choosing a product with CBD as an ingredient for a professional athlete include the alleged pain and anti-inflammatory benefits for muscles and joints, the faster recovery time from strenuous exercise due to improved sleep and homeostasis and the stress-reducing benefits of the supplements with CBD as an ingredient. To get straight to the point: it is not completely without risk of being tested positive when you use CBD sports supplements, which are now available everywhere!
The extraction methods of the CBD with traces of THC from industrial hemp that are below the THC threshold of 150 Ng per milliliter of urine recently raised by WADA are complex. Considering the fact that, in addition to CBD and THC, there are over 100 other molecules present in the hemp and cannabis plant, such as: CBG, CBN, CBC and CBE, which are not excluded from the banned performance enhancing substances list of the WADA .

Although the risk is minimal due to the fact that the tests do not always specifically look for the presence of, for example, CBG or CBN in the urine, but the risk that a banned substance from the hemp plant is found still remains.
This is also the reason why the major sports associations such as the NOC NSF have not yet included the use of CBD sports supplements in the list of clean and safe supplements for its athletes. Even though you increasingly see major international sports events, such as the CrossFit Games, UFC and Bellator competitions, being sponsored by CBD brands, the risk of a positive result from a test for the athlete is not excluded. Sports associations therefore advise their athletes not to use CBD sports supplements in competition or shortly before competition. The risk is the responsibility of the athlete.

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CBD Sponsor Games

Torian Pro CrossFit Games Semifinals 2021


There are already CBD sports supplement brands (such as the brands shown in this article) that have started working closely with laboratories that can certify a product as clean and safe for the use by professional athletes in and around competition These tests scan for the presence of hundreds of banned substances that are listed on the WADA list, including the aforementioned CBG, CBN and CBD molecules from industrial hemp, but as long as those certifications are not yet there and are also not present on the CBD products that you can now find among the other sports supplements on the shelves of the drugstore,  professional athletes should not take the risk in and around competition. The big dilemma is the complexity of completely isolating CBD from the plant. It is sometimes said that almost the only way to completely isolate CBD is a synthetic version, but it is also sometimes said that synthetic versions are often made with the intention to work around regulations. In the blog CBD Isolate, Broad Spectrum & Full Spectrum. What is the difference? you can read more about the different ways extractions are executed.
For the amateur athlete there is no reason at all not to use the products. All the benefits that the products can offer like pain, recovery, stress and inflammation are a good reason to choose a CBD sports supplement over a sports supplement without CBD.

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It is therefore important for the professional athlete to know exactly what substances are present in a CBD sports supplement, but also in any other supplement, before it can be used in and around competition. Work only with a brand who has their products certified by your sports association and or medical team. That  does not mean that this is not important for the amateur athlete or anyone else who pursues an active lifestyle. Of course you want to be sure that the supplement is safe. Gradually, more and more experts in the field of CBD and Sport are joining around the world. Be well informed about the products and get educated before you start using a supplement. That goes for all sports supplements in general, but for CBD supplements in particular.


Roald Tromp aka Grandpa CBD is the founder of CBD SPORTS, Public Speaker with a background in Sports Leadership (CIOS Overveen), Sports Nutrition, Professional and Home Fitness Equipment and Education, Master in Sales & Marketing, Ex-Baseballer, Footballer, Alpine Skier , Skate- and Snowboarder, Tennis & Ski teacher and  CrossFit and MMA addict.


Copyright Grandpa CBD June 2021.
Publication of this article or parts thereof is only permitted with the permission of the author.


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