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Meet the 15 Pro Athletes Advocating for CBD

It seems like everyone is talking about the benefits of CBD these days. You probably know someone who swears by this wonder substance to reduce their anxiety or lessen their pain. Now, athletes are becoming evangelists. This is in large part due to the passing of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that made CBD legal for supplemental use.

Under the bill, CBD is now considered to be a crop regulated by the Department of Agriculture. Before the passage of the Farm Bill, it was considered an illegal substance to be handled by the Department of Justice. This new distinction makes it easier for professional athletes and other well-known figures to talk about the benefits of CBD, also known as cannabidiol, without fear of repercussion or conflicts of interest. 

It’s no surprise that many are praising CBD in its various forms to help in a variety of ways. Many athletes use CBD for pain reduction. They are excited to talk about their success with cannabinoid, and it should come as no surprise that several athletes have joined business ventures promoting it. Take a look below to discover more about this miracle substance, along with a list of 15 pro athletes advocating for CBD. 

CBD Use and Athletics

You may wonder whether CBD use is allowed in professional sports. After all, performance-enhancing substances are questionable for athletes at all levels, but especially among the pros. Fortunately, any uncertainty was cleared up in 2018 when two agencies associated with sports regulation, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), removed CBD from their list of prohibited substances.

This is true only for natural cannabinoids. Synthetic ones are still banned, as is THC, the compound in marijuana that produces psychoactive effects. Because naturally occurring CBD doesn’t get you high, it gets the green light. 

Benefits of CBD for Athletes

Before we move on to our list of athletes who endorse CBD, let’s look at the benefits CBD can provide in athletics. Athletes in nearly every sport experience pain and soreness due to regular athletic performance and injury. Fortunately, CBD has been shown to relieve pain. Less pain means athletes can perform better.

Another factor that can negatively affect athletic performance is anxiety. Getting nervous before an event is natural, but it can also impede focus and cause an athlete to be off their game. CBD can help lessen anxiety. Cannabidiol relieves inflammation and oxidative stress from intense exercise, improving energy levels and lowering fatigue.

An added advantage of CBD is that it is an all-natural remedy for relieving minor injuries and pain. Many athletes, especially those at the professional level, avoid putting synthetic chemicals or medications into their bodies.

Now that you know a bit more about CBD for athletic performance, let’s move on to discover which pro athletes are actively endorsing this much-hyped chemical compound. You may be surprised to learn that your favorite athlete is a fan. 

1. Megan Rapinoe

That’s right, the much-loved women’s soccer star is a massive proponent of the benefits of CBD. Megan Rapinoe signed her first sponsorship deal since winning the World Cup with the CBD company Mendi.

Before the win, Rapinoe had been serving as a board advisor and strategic consultant for the brand. What’s notable about Mendi is that its CEO is Megan’s own sister, Rachel Rapinoe. Rachel said in a press release that “CBD has been integral in Megan’s training and recovery program for years.” 

2. Nate Diaz 

Nate Diaz is a well-known Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter who has been advocating for the benefits of CBD. He’s so gung-ho that he was even seen vaping CBD at a press conference after losing a fight to Conor McGregor.

What was notable about Diaz’s action was that the compound had not yet been removed from the banned list. He freely told reporters what he was vaping and that it was to reduce inflammation and promote healing after a fight.

3. Derrick Morgan 

Derrick Morgan, professional NFL linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, is also a vocal fan of CBD. He recently went public about his cannabinoid use and said it was to enhance his training routine. He’s often heard advocating for the use of CBD among the athletic community.

Morgan frequently talks to other NFL members about ways they can benefit from the use of this fantastic chemical compound. He’s particularly interested in the role of CBD on brain health, as concussions are common among pro football players. 

4. Riley Cote

Riley Cote is a retired NHL right winger. He’s been on the CBD bandwagon since reading the book Hemp for Health back in 2012. Hockey is a highly physical sport, known for fighting among players.

Those physical encounters can be incredibly damaging to the body. Cote estimates he’s been in over 250 fights and credits CBD with lessening the damage done to his body as a result of all this wear and tear. CBD can aid in recovery from trauma and blunt force.

5. David Ahrens

A retired NFL linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, David Ahrens joined 135 other Colts players in a concussion lawsuit against the NFL. It’s now well known that repeated blows to the body and head can cause significant damage. Players can suffer serious long-term effects of concussions, including the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Ahrens turned to CBD as a more natural option after using opioids to treat his chronic pain. He’s an advocate for the nonprofit organization Athletes for Care, whose mission is to promote social change and to spread the word about CTE and its risks to athletes. 

6. Bubba Watson

You might think that golf is a relatively easy sport on the body, but it has its own unique physical issues. Repetitive arm and shoulder rotation can take a toll, as can the bending and walking involved.

The well-known golfer Bubba Watson is a two-time Masters champion and CBD proponent. This athlete praises CBD for its versatility in assisting with athletic performance and recovery. He’s praised the compound for its sleep benefits and ability to ease inflammation. It also helped to lessen his sports-related anxiety and reduce his body pain. 

7. Ryan Vanden Bussche

This former NHL pro had a long 14-year career. Along the way, Ryan Vanden Bussche had his fair share of bumps and bruises, including 20 concussions, along with multiple broken bones and surgeries. Being aware of the side effects that can come with opiates, he opted to try CBD for his pain management and recovery.

The benefits to the brain are something he takes into consideration, particularly after having endured so many concussions. He’s been sharing his experience with CBD for a while now. 

8. Jake Plummer

Jake Plummer had a 10-year career as an NFL quarterback. During that time, he sustained several injuries and suffered a great deal of pain. Plummer discovered the benefits of CBD as an alternative to opioids for pain management. 

He and other former players recently took part in a public service announcement titled “When the Bright Lights Fade.” It’s for a fundraiser promoting natural wellness and recovery through CBD use. 

9. David Wells

Former MBA baseball pitcher David Wells had a long and widely known addiction to a prescription painkiller, Percocet. Even during the height of his career with the two-time World Series–winning New York Yankees, Wells was abusing the drug. 

He credits CBD with his recovery, as he was able to gradually switch to using the substance while still reaping the pain-relieving benefits. 

10. Jay Williams 

Former NBA star Jay Williams is a known advocate of CBD. He’s a fan of the topical benefits it offers for pain and inflammation. He uses CBD on his skin for these purposes, as well as to calm his anxiety. 

Topical CBD use through salve, lotion or cream is something you don’t hear of as much as consuming through tincture or vaping, but it offers some serious benefits. Just ask Williams. It’s good to see a professional athlete using his platform in such a unique way.

11. Chris Camozzi 

In his time with the UFC, mixed martial artist Chris Camozzi has taken some hard hits. As a result, he suffers from pain and inflammation. Camozzi has reportedly been using CBD to aid in his wellness routine and relief of symptoms for a while now. 

He discovered its use after he received a severe knee injury. He credits CBD with making his career in this rough sport far easier by easing his recovery and lessening his pain. 

12. Eugene Monroe

Eugene Monroe, a former defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, was the first NFL player to come out publicly in support of the benefits CBD can offer to athletes. He retired in 2016, having suffered a particularly devastating concussion the year before. Monroe says he’s still dealing with the pain that has resulted from his long football career.

In his retirement, he’s been a proponent of the advantages CBD offers for pain as an alternative to traditional prescription painkillers like opioids. This all-natural chemical compound doesn’t have the potential to become addictive and is safer overall. Monroe was also part of the “When the Bright Lights Fade” campaign, along with Jake Plummer. He’s a strong proponent of CBD and uses it in topical and vape forms. 

13. Yair Rodriguez 

You may recognize UFC fighter Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez as the winner of the featherweight fight on the TV show The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. Rodriguez praises CBD for helping ease his recovery between training sessions.

He’s also a mixed martial artist who holds a black belt in taekwondo. In addition to aiding in his workout recovery, Rodriguez feels CBD has been helpful in improving his nightly sleep. He’s a tireless advocate of CBD and its healing properties, and often speaks to the public on this subject.

14. Marvin Washington

As we’ve seen, retired NFL players tend to deal with aches, pains and cognitive issues long after they leave the game. Marvin Washington is no exception. This former NFL defensive end now uses CBD to help manage those issues as part of his regular wellness routine.

Washington has been part of the movement to end the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug in the challenging of the 1970 Controlled Substance Act. He says he uses a CBD tincture daily. He’s also a user of topical salve when needed to relieve soreness in his muscles and joints.

15. Mike Tyson 

Yes. That Mike Tyson. The controversial boxing champion is now a well-known advocate for both marijuana and CBD. You may have seen him in the news promoting his new venture, Cannabis Resorts, his 40-acre farm in California City. There, he welcomes people who would like to grow or smoke marijuana.

His company, Tyson Holistic Holdings, also owns Tyson Ranch, which sells its own marijuana strains. Through this venture, Mike Tyson is working to promote the benefits of CBD and to raise awareness of CTE, the debilitating brain disease caused by repetitive bodily trauma in contact sports. Tyson Ranch sells specialty CBD products, including a drink. They’re one of the largest manufacturers of CBD isolate in the nation.

We’ve looked at 15 of the most vocal professional athletes who advocate for the benefits of CBD, but there are many more. Pros from various backgrounds and sports swear by cannabidiol for its pain-management, anxiety-relieving and brain-healing properties. If you’re an athlete, or even if you’re not, CBD might be just the thing to alleviate any similar issues you are experiencing.