Relationship Between NFL and CBD Products Continued

CBD Products & The NFL PART 2

In a narrow 1019-959 vote, NFL players and owners decided to pass a new collective bargaining agreement containing amendments to the regulation of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) use.

Previously, there was a sense of ignorance from the league when the joint NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee decided there was not enough evidence behind CBD, specifically.  Although not every player voted, the majority vote was enough to ratify the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).  It is acknowledged by the NFL that CBD research has proven to be more promising than detrimental to a person’s health.

CBD Products Winning As THC Takes A Back Seat

One of the first discussion points was removing suspensions for violating the law regarding THC possession or consumption. The last CBA was strict as players with a positive THC test faced up to a 10-game suspension and mandatory enrollment in a substance abuse program. Each player starts in Stage One. Players won’t be suspended for their first positive test, nor for ANY amount of positive tests for banned substances (other than steroids or performance-enhancement drugs).  An additional change is that league tests for THC will be less frequent and the quantity of the drug allowed in the body system is raised from 35 to 150 nanograms, which is taken by urinary sample. Drug tests will be designated only for the first two weeks of training camp, as opposed to testing from April through August. Any player with a positive test is still subject to fines from the league based on the amount of violations against that player. Salary fines are also enforced for unexcused failure to appear for testing and failure to comply with testing or medical care, per violation. Each individual positive test is evaluated by a board of appointed medical professionals to determine whether you need any kind of treatment. If it is decided that a player may need more medical care or substance abuse help, the player shall be recommended to advance to Stage Two of the new treatment program. In the result that a player does not comply with necessary testing or clinical care more than three times, they may be suspended for an undetermined amount of games under the new agreement, which also applies to drug offences or arrests. Below is a graph of the new disciplinary regulations of cannabis tests in the NFL:


Although THC is technically still a banned substance, CBD has been removed from the league’s drug policy as players are allowed to treat themselves with CBD products. As the NFL previously continued to turn a blind eye to the promise of CBD to treat neurological trauma, players and medical experts had spoken out about their own views.  High-profile names such as former Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski and former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, both Super Bowl winners, are among a number of players to explore the CBD industry.

CBD May Become A Staple Product For NFL

Back in May 2019, Davis helped launch Defy, a CBD-infused performance drink, as his own way to promote the efficacy of the particular compound. “It’s a beautiful thing. It’s worked for me. It’s worked for a lot of players,” Davis, stated in a previous CBD interview. He continues to explain his relief of inflammation flexibility and migraine prevention. “Hopefully sooner rather than later…CBD will be something that players who are currently playing will be able to use as a measure of taking care of the pain management, the inflammation.”

Prior to the NFL CBA ratification, Matthew Mintz, MD, a Maryland-based physician who uses CBD oil in his treatments, noted that some CBD products may contain some THC. So in opening the door to CBD, the NFL had to change its rules on THC use as well.

“Full-spectrum CBD has trace amounts of THC that, while having no psychoactive effect to make a player ‘high,’ would likely be picked up on a drug test,” Dr. Mintz said. “The problem with allowing CBD isolate products but banning full-spectrum CBD is that there is evidence that, because full spectrum products have terpenes and other cannabinoids (including THC), these products are likely more effective. Thus, I think the bigger issue and huge negotiating point, will be whether or not they drop testing for THC.”

CBD Products Aid Athletes

PART 1 stated that CBD products and the effects on athletes haven’t been studied completely. Perhaps, if there were more evidence on the neurological effects of CBD, then there wouldn’t be so much controversy surrounding Antonio Brown and his refusal to switch helmets. Maybe the fact is that CBD is more efficient at protecting the brain from subdural injury, either in the short term or long term, and the NFL was trying to protect its’ stance and total income.

CBD products are still known to be highly misleading, but there are two main types, CBD isolate (or broad-spectrum CBD) and full-spectrum CBD. CBD isolate should not contain any THC. While it is possible for your body to naturally convert CBD to THC, it is rare. Full-spectrum CBD products can contain up to 0.3% THC. Unfortunately, with regulations on these products currently low, studies have found that 69% of CBD products are mislabeled and 43% actually have more THC than advertised.

Can consuming a CBD product result in a positive THC test? The answer is no, depending on the legitimacy of the product and type of pain relief required. For the most part, the risk of failing a drug test is low when you are taking CBD but it is not 0. There will be a trace amount of THC depending on the brand and type of product. Although the new drug policy has been relaxed, NFL players still have to be aware of what they are putting in their body before taking CBD products when millions of dollars are on the line. GRAPH