cbd sports ukDecember 15, 2021
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 documented the detection of THC in some CBD products at levels higher than is currently permitted by the FDA.
NB. THC has a reporting threshold in urine of 150 nanograms per milliliter. Other cannabinoids on the Prohibited List do not have a reporting threshold, meaning that the detection of even the smallest amount in urine will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding ( AAF) .
It is difficult to extract only CBD from the cannabis plant meaning that most CBD products will contain a mixture of compounds that are derived from the plant (including THC). CBD products that are derived from industrial hemp claim to contain low concentrations of THC. However, the following factors may influence the levels of THC within CBD products:
Indeed, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) routinely publish quality control issues found in US manufactured CBD products. The same risks apply to UK manufactured products.
What is UK Anti-Doping’s position regarding the use of cannabidiol products in sport?
What are the risks of using cannabidiol products for athlete’s subject to the rules of anti-doping?
Is third-party batch testing a solution to minimise the risk of ingesting cannabidiol products that have a high THC content or that contain other cannabinoids that are prohibited in sport?
CBD is one of around 110 known cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. It has a different chemical structure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive compound that illicit drug users use to get “high”. CBD does not have this effect.
What is the status of cannabidiol in sport?
CBD is not currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. As a result, it is permitted to use in sport. All other cannabinoids (including but not limited to cannabis, hashish, marijuana, and THC) are prohibited in-competition. The intention of the regulations is to prohibit cannabinoids that activate the same receptors in the brain as activated by THC.
What is the composition of cannabidiol products?
These factors make it challenging to provide a definitive answer on whether use of a product would lead an athlete to ingest enough THC to incur an AAF should they be drug tested in-competition.
A study published by Forensic Science International in 2018 also detected 5F-ADB (a prohibited cannabinoid) in commercially available CBD e-liquids in the US.
The use of any CBD product is at the athlete’s own risk. As a result, CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements. That being, if an athlete did use a CBD Product that led to an Adverse Analytical Finding for THC (or any other prohibited substance), their use of this product would not mitigate their fault.
What is cannabidiol?
There is a growing number of cannabidiol (CBD) products that can be purchased in forms such as oils, extracts, vape and e-liquids. This advisory note aims to provide information about the status of CBD within sport and the risks associated with the use of CBD products for athlete’s subject to the rules of anti-doping.
Despite the permitted status of CBD, athletes must still consider the risk of inadvertently ingesting a CBD product that either has a higher THC concentration than expected or contains another cannabinoid that is prohibited in sport. This may occur if:
Manufacturers may conduct their own testing – the reliability of these in-house testing programmes is unknown. Additionally, third-party laboratories who do screen CBD products for THC may not screen products for the presence of other prohibited substances. As a result, athletes should not rely on such test results as reassurance that the product they wish to use has a low THC content and is free from containing other cannabinoids that are prohibited in sport.
Our favourite? The potent 520mg that has a peppermint flavouring. In general, CBD can have quite a bitter taste so the minty freshness that this oil brought was a welcomed change. You can apply one to eight drops up to three times a day – with no more than 25 in 24 hours.
CBD oil (also known as cannabidiol) is made from the stalk, stems, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain high amounts of active, therapeutic cannabinoids.
Healthspan is probably one of the most well-known supplement suppliers on this list and is beloved for its quality, reputable products with the expert seal of approval from the likes of sports teams, nutritionists and medical professionals.
Jacob Hooy – 5% CBD.
Their CBD oil is light in colour and texture, and one of the best tasting on the market with its fruity, floral flavour.
This has won several ‘best CBD oil in the UK’ accolades and for good reason: it’s one of the purest products on the market and offers options ranging from 500 to 1000 and even 1,800mg (which is only recommended to seasoned users), in the form of oils, balms and gummies, allowing you to choose the most effective option based on your health needs.
If you’d like to support a smaller boutique company, Holistic Hemp fits the bill. Using plants grown on small European farms, the pesticide and chemical free flowers are handpicked (unlike most on the market) meaning the oil is high quality. It even has a full floral flavour (thanks to the plants they choose) that offers a pleasant taste without interfering with the benefits. Offering 5, 10, 15 and 20 per cent options in various forms, this brand mixes hemp with cannabis seed carrier oil to create a full-spectrum product containing a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
The Original Alternative also grow their own hemp across Europe and use CO2 extraction with low pressure and heat—it also worked wonderfully.
Love Hemp is a premium mid-strength CBD oil with an earthy flavour, rich texture and a gentle but effective result.
Trial and error is a necessary part of the process to find a product that works for you, because what works for one person won’t necessarily have the same effect on others.
As well as better sleep, this variant really helped us drift off faster and feel calm and Zen-like.
Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
According to The Home Office, the legal limit for cultivation is 0.2 per cent TCH and 1mg for products.
The brand is completely transparent about its ingredients and actually offer certified batch reports on their website as well as 24/7 customer service.
CBD oil cannot “get you high” as the Home Office “only issues licences for cultivation of plants from approved seed types with a THC content not exceeding 0.2%”.
Endoca takes our top spot due to sincere quality control and honest manufacturing, both of which result in a product that works very well and helped to enhance the quality of sleep.
Ok so this CBD oil is not going to be winning any taste competitions anytime soon. As the instructions suggest it is best not to swallow for as long as possible after you ingest. Squeeze the pipette under your tongue with 10 drops per day as the absolute maximum. Our tester suggests keeping a tasty treat on hand or at least some water to disguise the acrid taste. But as for the effects, that’s where this CBD oil hits its stride.
After placing the oil just under the tongue, it can take around 30 minutes to kick in. We found it best to create a routine and use it just before bed as it made us feel very mellow and had a great effect in promoting a deeper and longer sleep. It didn’t trigger any crazy dreams or anything out of the ordinary (which we would have liked!).
Taking around 8 drops before bed ensured I got a full night of good quality sleep. The Cannabidiol is CO2 extracted and lab tested, which ensures it is rich in natural cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and phytonutrients. There are a range of potency ranging from mild to extra strong.
Just 3 or 4 drops of this relieved painful cramps as effectively as paracetamol. Provacan is a brand developed by CiiTech, who have partnered with leading cannabinoid researchers in Israel and the UK to develop the product. They publish detailed lab reports of ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re taking. It may be pricey, but a little goes a long way.
To avoid making the same mistake, look out for these buzzwords:
A small British brand that’s relatively new to the scene, Bud & Tender use both CO2 and ethanol for extraction and filtration.
The brand has one of the most extensive ranges of CBD oils that span from the lower, beginner concentrations to options for the seasoned CBD-er. There’s high strength, super strength, turmeric-infused, one with optimal absorption, a cannabis-free iteration and an oil designed specifically for night-time.
“We want the UK’s sport bodies including the RFU, the FA and even Sport England to step up and commit to research which looks at the benefits of CBD and medicinal cannabis so the industry can fulfil its potential.”
The UK-based firm cites recent events in the US, where the NFL and its Players Association (NFLPA) committed €846k ($1m) supporting research into the plant’s effects on pain and athletic performance in American football.
Current regulatory positions within UK sport remains unclear as authorities tackle the legal ramifications of taking cannabis, cannabinoids and non-pharmacologic treatments to support or enhance sporting performance.
UK regulatory position
The authority warned though that, if an athlete did use a CBD Product that led to an Adverse Analytical Finding for THC (or any other prohibited substance), their use of this product would not mitigate their fault.
The UK Anti-Doping’s position regarding the use of CBD products in sport permits its use but it is at the athlete’s own risk. As a result, CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements.
“We are hearing from countless customers about the benefits of CBD, not just from athletes but from anyone who leads an active lifestyle, they are telling us that CBD helps with pain management, sleep disorders and anxiety,” says Dom Day, co-founder, Fourfive.
Individual sports governing bodies that include Sport England have so far been reluctant to show any leadership or foresight on the topic, adding to the confusion and inconsistent guidelines.