Is CBD the next big thing in rugby?

CBD for Rugby Players

Is CBD the next big thing in rugby?

Some of the biggest names in world rugby have been turning to CBD to help with the physical impact of the game.


Why are players turning to CBD?

Being one of the most physically demanding sports there is, sleep, diet and physical conditioning have been the main ways players recover, often within very short gaps between games. When these are not enough to ensure post-match recovery, players  have turned to painkillers to help them manage their injuries. In some cases, players have even turned to much stronger opioids but more often they tend to use anti-inflammatory medication like naproxen or ibuprofen. However, over use of these medications can often lead to stomach problems with the anti-inflammatories, or even major addiction problems with the opioids.1 

In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to get hold of the stronger pain killers, as legislation has tightened up. Players have starting looking for alternatives, and one of the more popular choices has been CBD oil.

Can CBD help?

Some of the top players in the game have been using CBD oil to manage all sorts of health matters. 

Scottish number 10 Finn Russell has said he uses CBD oil before bed in the days following big matches, as it helps him to sleep better.

Jim Hamilton, former Scotland second row player, has seen similar sleep benefits, but also has found it helps him cope with aches and pains he suffers years after his professional rugby career.

Jerome Kaino, All Black back row player, has found that in addition to helping him sleep, CBD has had a significant impact in helping him to manage fluid build up and inflammation in his knees after intense training sessions and matches.1

Find out more about the science behind CBD, click here.

Are they breaking any anti-doping rules?

In research carried out by Professor Graeme Close’s group from Liverpool John Moores University in 2020, they asked 517 professional rugby players about CBD use. Around 25% of players said they had used it at some point, and around 8% were still using at the time of the study.2 

After the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the antidoting list in 2018, more and more professional rugby players have started using CBD products to help them manage their sleep, pain and inflammation day to day.3

The worldwide governing body for rugby, World Rugby allows CBD products as long as they contain levels of THC (the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of cannabis that creates the ‘high’) below the WADA  threshold for THC, which is a banned substance over a certain amount.3

 

Is this ‘protein shake’ of the future?

 Lack of research on CBD products has made rugby unions and clubs wary about recommending it as a supplement, however, the anecdotal evidence for the benefits of CBD to athletes seems to be very strong, leading to more and more people using it. It does seem likely that taking CBD supplements will become the norm, and with the global value of the CBD market predicted to soar to £14 billion by 2024, I think its safe to say, CBD is here to stay.1

 

References

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/57415192
  2. https://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/england-countries/the-problems-with-cbd-oil-explained-114019
  3. https://www.world.rugby/keep-rugby-clean/banned-substances/substance-factsheets/cannabidiol 

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