With the boom of CBD in full effect, you or I may think nothing at all of waking up and eating some CBD gummies. CBD has never been more accessible, with consumers being able to find the best CBD oils and the best CBD gummies with just the click of a button, delivered straight to their door, but things are very different for professional and collegiate athletes. Starting their morning with a CBD gummy could cost them everything, costly fines, getting them kicked off the team, or having their scholarship revoked; all very serious consequences for a thing that most of us would see as inconsequential. Why does a league commissioner or association president care what an athlete puts into their body, as long as it grants no competitive advantage? Should a league commissioner or association president be able to tell athletes what they can be able to put into their body, as long as it grants no competitive advantage? Players say no, investors say yes, but eventually compromises will be reached and an agreement will be made, because everyone wants to see the games go on.

The National Basketball Association is one of the largest stages in the world for professional sports players to perform on, with over eight billion dollars in estimated revenue earned just last year alone. This is all thanks in no small part to the players who go out on the court night after night and play to their bodies and spirits’ limits, all to the delight of fans, coaches, and team owners. So, it becomes the responsibility of not only the team organizations themselves, but also the fans as well, to ask themselves if they are doing everything they can to maintain the health and well-being of these players, both while they are on the court and for years afterward.

Typically, many of the agreements between players, team owners, and league officials are agreed upon with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), a formal document that is agreed upon and signed by both sides. While much of the document stays the same from season to season, changes are of course made to keep up with the changing times and protect the most immediate concerns of both sides. Most recently, one of the topics being most discussed between players and the league has been about CBD, THC, and overall, how far the league can restrict players from what they put in their bodies to maintain their health.

Currently, most major league sports organizations still see CBD as a “by-product of marijuana”, and liken CBD to THC, which does cause psychoactive (“mind-altering”, or “high-inducing”) effects. However, this is completely unfair to CBD, which does not cause any psychoactive effects, or for users to feel “high” in any way. It is unfortunate, but the stance of many sports associations around the globe is still very archaic when it comes to health, medicine, drugs, and especially CBD. While the NFL very recently loosened its punishments, testing, and restrictions on marijuana and “marijuana by-products” (CBD), pretty much all other major league associations still outlaw both in all forms, though the way that each deals with infractions to those rules and regulations differs greatly. While Major League Baseball is known to have a more stern fist when it comes to punishments handed out for drug use and drug abuse, the Major League Soccer (MLS, FIFA) and National Hockey League has a reputation for being more amicable and understanding when it comes to these matters. The NHL has famously said that it would not fine or suspend players that tested positive for marijuana, but rather them to a behavioral health clinic, while also stating that they have no specific CBD policy, essentially allowing players and organizations to make their own judgement call when it comes to CBD usage. Many within the National Hockey League hope that CBD, and its ability to treat pain and anxiety, may become a healthy alternative to the frequent use of opiate painkillers by the heavily-battered players. Hopefully, too , the NBA takes notice soon of what the NHL is doing and saying with CBD.