Hemp and CBD: A New Horizon for Sports Performance?

Ellie Kormis

Ellie Kormis

ALTIS Director of Education

Changes are in motion for the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) following the passing of the US Farm Bill, which legalized hemp in December 2018.

But what is CBD, and how can it benefit sports performance? We’ll take a look by first exploring the scientific underpinnings of the compound, before learning more from two members of the ISO-SPORT Medical Advisory Board.

CBD is a compound derived from the cannabis family of plants, of which hemp is a species. “CBD starts with the all-natural botanical concentrate that includes the cannabinoids and fatty acids found in hemp plants. Cannabinoids are a class of botanical chemical compounds that deliver an array benefits. CBD is one of the more than 85 of these cannabinoids. It is found in various concentrations throughout the different parts of the hemp plant, and is known to have certain effects on the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS).” CBD Industry Leader – Isodiol explains.

Isodiol, and its subsidiary Iso-Sport, are dedicated to educating the world about the powerful benefits of CBD. As announced in August last year, ALTIS is working in partnership with Iso-Sport to focus on the research and development of CBD products for performance, recovery, and sleep. Moreover, with the introduction of the ALTIS: Iso-Sport Living Lab the exploration, experimentation, and evaluation of new ideas is getting underway, allowing the generation of new knowledge within the natural sporting ecosystem. “This new relationship with Iso-Sport, and the company’s innovation with CBD products is a great step forward toward our goals” explains ALTIS CEO, Stuart McMillan.

To learn more about CBD and its potential use in sports performance, we linked up with Dr Gerry Ramogida and former NFL star Marvin Washington. Dr. Ramogida is the ALTIS Senior Sports Medicine Advisor, is on the ISO-SPORT Medical Advisory Board, is a Licensed Chiropractor in Canada, the USA, and United Kingdom, and has served as a consultant to professional athletes in the MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, and EPL. Marvin Washington is VP of business development for Isodiol International Inc, and brand ambassador for ISO-Sport. Mr Washington is a retired NFL player who played a total of eleven years with three teams: the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.

Marvin Washington is VP of business development for Isodiol International Inc, and brand ambassador for ISO-Sport. Photo credits: Gage Skidmore

Thanks to both Marvin and Dr. Ramogida for their time.  Let’s start with Marvin, with some background on CBDs.

Marvin, in layman’s terms how would you describe CBD?

“CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is the non-psychotropic part of the Cannabis plant and has a lot of exclusive medicinal benefits. There are two main chemicals in the Cannabis plant – THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – the part which gets you high / stoned, and CBD which doesn’t. That’s the best layman’s way to explain it. ”

Dr. Ramogida, what does the current research tell us about the use of CBD?

“The current research is showing Cannabidiol (CBD) to be an effective anti inflammatory, particularly within the nervous system (neuro anti inflammatory) (1,2,4). It has effective anti anxiety properties and displays neuroprotective effects (6,7,8). CBD can improve sleep quality and duration (without altering normal sleep rhythms unlike Pharmaceutical sleep medication), and can help in managing both acute and chronic pain (3).  In addition, unlike opioids, CBD has no psychoactive or addictive qualities. When you combine all of this it appears that CBD has significant potential to be of benefit to athlete recovery and performance.”

When we look at combining this potential along with Iso-Sport, a company who has established the benchmark for quality and purity providing products safe for an athlete population, the opportunity for performance gains through improved recovery and cognitive enhancement becomes very exciting and worthy of investigation.”

Marvin, why has it taken so long for CBD to be recognized as a legitimate medical product?

“Because it was on the banned substance act for the last 80 years along with the whole Cannabis plant, but now that the Farm Bill was passed this past December, it’s off the banned Substance Act – so this is just the beginning. I believe athletes of the 21st Century are going to use CBD as part of their training regimen instead of using the pills and opiates the team Doctors and Trainers are giving these guys. I think they’re going to go back to something natural and plant-based that’s non-toxic and non-addictive.”

Marvin, you have personal experience with cannabis in the NFL, and in particular how medical cannabis can assist people who are struggling with addiction or suffering from pain. What can you share about your experiences here?

“My experience is that recreationally in the NFL, maybe 65-70% of the players use Cannabis; and they’re using it whether they know the medicinal benefits or not. They’re using it as an alternative to opiates. But right now it’s the information age and these guys have all this information at the tip of their fingers. So I would say that a great percentage of them – 25 or 30% are using something natural – which is CBD, and I know of team massage therapists and chiropractors that are using CBD versus Cannabis.”

“When you’re talking about addiction, the NFL has two main issues. First, they have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which is head trauma: Well our Governing Body, the NIH has the patent that says CBD can act as an antioxidant – a neuroprotector for the brain in relationship to concussions, so CBD has the potential to help solve the NFL’s safety issues.”

“The other issue it has is that they have 20,000 former players – who are four times more likely to abuse opiates than general society. We all know what’s happening with general society – we’re getting our butt kicked with this opiate addiction; but whenever cannabis or hemp is introduced into a community the addiction goes down to 25%.”

“So CBD has the potential to alleviate the problem with the NFL’s current and former players. It could also be used with soldiers coming out of the theater of war suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries, as well as soccer players who have concussion issues – wrestlers, and hockey players – really anybody in a contact sport.”

“CBD has the potential to help solve the NFL’s safety issues” – Marvin Washington

Marvin, how else could CBD be used to benefit athlete populations in future products?

“This is just the beginning. There are so many ways you can take it – as a topical for muscle aches and pains, as a tincture for overall wellness and recovery, or for maintenance and wellness with drops and water. I just believe the future athlete is going to supplement with CBD.”

“The best ability that athletes have is availability. I believe this is going to help make athletes available to their team every practice and every game, and help the athlete have a longer career, as they’re not going to beat their body up on the playing arena, then come off the playing field and beat it up with opiates and benzodiazepines: it’s plant over pills.”

And is it safe and approved for tested athletes? If not do you anticipate, it will be in the future?

“CBD can be used by Olympic Athletes according to WADA*, and now that the Farm Bill has been passed, I believe that you’re going to see the NFL using CBD starting next year. The NFL is the biggest ship in the water when it comes to sports. When their ship turns, everyone is going to follow. This Farm Bill was huge. CBD is now off the controlled substance act, it’s legal, and it can be shipped out of state and out of country. This is just the beginning. Athletes can take it now and not test positive as isolate 100% CBD has no THC in it, so there’s no excuses. There’s me and a coalition of athletes that is pushing for sports leagues to use CBD from hemp as an alternative to opiates. This is happening, and this is just the beginning.”

“It’s plant over pills” – Marvin Washington. Photo by Michael Fischer from Pexels

*Note: While the use of cannabinoids are no longer prohibited as per the WADA Anti-doping Code, it is essential that athletes who are subject to testing understand the most important statement in the Code: “You must take responsibility for what you “ingest,” meaning what you eat and drink and anything that may enter your body. The essential rule is this: if it is in your body, you are responsible for it. In legal terms, this is called “strict liability.”  

Further, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) states that Although cannabidiol (CBD) is permitted according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), all other cannabinoids are still prohibited in-competition. It’s important to realize that CBD products may still contain prohibited cannabinoid components, such as THC. Athletes subject to anti-doping rules are strictly liable for any substance found in their blood or urine. As such, there are still risks for athletes when it comes to CBD products.

Also note, until the signing into law of the US Farm Bill in late December, hemp and hemp products such as CBD were not accepted for testing to acquire NSF approval. The CBD within Iso-Sport products however, has achieved approval and certification through the MHRA. The MHRA is the UK and Europe’s equivalent of the FDA. This certification process is extremely stringent and is the process by which pharmaceutical purity and quality standards are ensured for use in the UK and European health care systems. All products are produced in GMP certified labs to ensure quality and purity.

About Isodiol International Inc.

Isodiol International Inc. is the market leader in pharmaceutical grade phytochemical compounds and the industry leader in the manufacturing and development of phytoceutical consumer products.

Isodiol is the pioneer of many firsts for the cannabis industry including commercialization of 99%+ pure, bioactive pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids, micro-encapsulations, and nanotechnology for the highest quality consumable and topical skin care products.

Isodiol’s growth strategy includes the development of over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs, expanding its phytoceutical portfolio and will aggressively continue international expansion into Latin America, Asia and Europe.

To find out more, check out ISO-SPORT’s CBD range.


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Any and all statements made in this article in regard to Cannabinoid and CBD products are not expressed as medical claims. Our intention is to educate, not to suggest results nor to encourage action on the part of the reader. ALTIS is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arise out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within the site. The information contained within the site is periodically updated, there is no guarantee to the accuracy of the information. Nothing on this site is intended to operate as legal advice, please seek your own legal advice.

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The statements and products referred to throughout this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health condition or concern, consult a physician or your health care provider. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing new exercises. We recommend you educate yourselves on the scientific / nutritional facts.


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