Are you an athlete considering using CBD to help you train and perform at your best?
If so, you’ve probably got some questions about CBD’s legality in the sporting world.
Luckily, I’ve got the answers.
In this article, I look at the legality of CBD for athletes and whether CBD supplements show up on drug tests.
Understanding the Legality of CBD
CBD’s legal status varies from one country to another.
Below, I’ll take a look at the general legality of CBD across The US and Canada.
Remember, this is general information and you should always consult your local laws to ensure what you’re doing is legal.
In the US, the legality of CBD products depends on how they are made.
As I’m sure you know, CBD can be extracted from cannabis and/or hemp plants.
Unlike the cannabis used to make marijuana, hemp strains have been specifically bred to contain low concentrations of THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that gets us high.
Instead of being used to make marijuana, hemp is grown for industrial purposes and can be used to make fiber, paper, food, and more.
I’ll look more at the difference between hemp and cannabis below.
In the US, hemp-derived CBD is legal across all 50 states given they only contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%).
In fact, hemp CBD products are legal in a lot of countries across the world, given that their THC concentrations sit below a certain threshold.
Products made from cannabis, on the other hand, are illegal in The US.
Even if they contain only trace amounts of THC, cannabis-derived CBD products are treated as byproducts of the cannabis plant.
Therefore, they are illegal under federal law.
Now, you probably know that some US states have legalized cannabis and its derivatives.
Depending on the local laws in these areas, you may be able to buy, possess, and even produce cannabis and cannabis-derived CBD products.
However, according to the US Federal Government, cannabis and it’s derivatives are considered Schedule 1 Substances with no known medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.
In Canada, cannabis became legal on October 17th, 2018.
Under the new Cannabis Act, adults can now safely and legal buy, use, and cultivate cannabis for recreational and medical purposes.
Note that Canadian cannabis law also varies from one province to another.
The Difference between Hemp and Cannabis
The US and many other countries make a clear distinction in their laws between hemp and cannabis.
To help you understand these different regulations, here’s a quick overview of the differences between cannabis and hemp:
Both cannabis and hemp are technically the same species of plant, but they have been bred for different purposes.
Hemp, for example, can be used to make:
- Building materials
- Cosmetic products
- … and much more.
It has been specifically bred for these purposes and to contain only trace amounts of THC in accordance with the laws in the US, EU, Canada, etc.
Hemp plants still produce flowers like cannabis, but they have been bred to be more fibrous plants.
The cannabis used to make marijuana, on the other hand, has been bred to produce high amounts of THC.
Whereas hemp typically only contains around 0.3% THC, the cannabis used to make marijuana can contain up to 30%.
Since hemp is such a useful plant, most countries have adapted their laws to allow for hemp production while penalizing the production/distribution of marijuana.
CBD in Sports: Is it Legal?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re well aware of the health benefits of CBD and its ability to help you train and perform better.
But, like many other athletes out there, you’re probably worried whether CBD is a legal supplement in the sports world.
Well, I’ve got good news:
This is a big deal, seeing that CBD has a plethora of health benefits that can help athletes perform at their best.
It’s also big news because WADA governs the anti-doping standards of the Olympics, the UFC, and many other international sporting leagues.
Note: Remember that, while CBD is no longer a banned substance under WADA, other natural and synthetic cannabinoids and their metabolites are.
Cannabinoids and Drug Tests: Will CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
To answer this question, it helps to have a basic understanding of how drug tests work.
Drug tests look for THC metabolites in the body.
There are 3 basic types of drugs tests commonly used at work or by anti-doping organizations; urine tests, blood tests, and hair follicle tests.
They all work the same way; by testing a sample for metabolites of a specific drug or supplement.
When testing for cannabis, drug testers look for traces of THC-COOH (or THC-11-oic acid), a by-product that your body produces when it metabolizes THC.
THC metabolites have a half-life of around 7 days and, in extreme cases, can be detected in the body up to 90 days after consuming cannabis.
If you test positive for these metabolites on a urine, blood, or hair-follicle test, you’ll typically have to undergo a secondary Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) test.
These tests are more accurate and account for the margin of error of the preliminary test.
Hemp Derived Supplements Should Not Set Off a Drug Test
As I mentioned earlier, hemp-derived CBD products contain only trace amounts of THC that are very unlikely to produce a positive reading on a drug test.
However, if you take large doses of CBD (over 1000mg per day), you may get a positive reading on some preliminary drug tests.
Nonetheless, even if you take such high doses of CBD, the follow-up GC/MS tests will still read negative.
Now, if you take cannabis-derived CBD products with higher concentrations of THC, remember that you also run a higher risk of a positive reading.
Hence, I usually recommend sticking to hemp-based CBD products.
Or, if you want to be extra careful, you may want to consider CBD products made with pure CBD isolate.
If you must use cannabis-derived CBD products, try to use products with equally low concentrations of THC to hemp-based products so as to minimize your chances of a positive reading.
Find the Best CBD Supplements for Athletes
I’m an amateur triathlete that regularly uses CBD in the form of oils, creams, edibles, and more.
Ever since I’ve started using CBD, I’ve noticed huge improvements in my recovery, performance, and sleep.
So, if you’re looking for a natural, safe, and legal way to help your body perform at it’s best, CBD is definitely the way to go.
Make sure to check out my homepage for in-depth reviews of specific CBD products and brands designed for athletes.
Also, for more information on the benefits of CBD, make sure to check out my other blog articles.