Will We See Olympic Athletes Using CBD?

Last updated:


Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency officially removed CBD from its 2018 list of prohibited substances. The agency warned, however, that THC (the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis and marijuana) would remain on the list.

While a variety of cannabimimetics (essentially synthetic compounds aimed to mimic the effects of cannabis) are still prohibited by WADA, the agency made it clear that they’ve lifted the ban on CBD:

“Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however,
cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, 

This was great news for a handful of athletes who already chose to use CBD as part of their training, diet, or recovery program.

Now, with the Winter Olympic Games only around the corner, many people are wondering whether we’ll see more athletes turning to CBD in the future.


The World Anti-Doping Agency (or WADA) is an international organisation funded by both the International Olympic Committee and some national governments from around the world. Its core activities include scientific research and education for the sporting community, and the development of a “doping-free” world of sports.

The Agency’s most well-known documents are the World Anti-Doping Code (often referred to simply as “The Code”) and The Prohibited List. The World Anti-Doping Code is designed to bring consistency to the sports world and outline anti-doping rules and standards worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Prohibited List serves as an annually updated document which identifies substances and practices prohibited for athletes in and out-of-competition.


The World Anti-Doping Code combines 6 different areas designed to clarify anti-doping standards around the world.

Currently, the code covers the following areas:

• Prohibited List
• Testing and investigations
• Laboratories
• Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)
• Protection of Privacy and Personal Information
• Code Compliance by Signatories (effective 1 April 2018)

You can read the entire code here.


The WADA Prohibited List is basically the main document identifying practices and methods prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. As of September 2017, WADA officially removed CBD from its 2018 list.


A lot of athletes have already openly declared that they use CBD as part of their training, diet, or recovery strategy.

Arguably one of the most famous athletes using CBD is UFC star Nate Diaz. Diaz has spoken openly about his use of CBD and how it helps both before and after fights.

“It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place”, Diaz said in a press conference last year following his fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 202.

Former NFL players have also spoken about the benefits of CBD for athletes. Ebenezer Ekuban (from the Dallas Cowboys) and Eugene Monroe (from the Baltimore Ravens) have both been quoted for their support of CBD and its beneficial effects for professional athletes.

“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged”, Eugene Monroe told The Washington Post last year. “I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis”.

Monroe has openly urged the NFL to change its standards on THC, CBD, and medical cannabis in general, claiming it is a much better option for managing pain than common opioids.

“It's time for the NFL to change its archaic standards to better protect its players. For too long, I've watched my teammates and good friends battle with opioid addiction and leave the game with a long road still ahead; it's time to make a change”, Monroe writes on his website.

Other athletes, both professional and amateur, have come forward about their use of cannabinoids like CBD. Thanks to WADA’s removal of CBD from The Prohibited List, we will likely see even more athletes using the substance in the future.



Sign up to our newsletter and enjoy 10% off one order

Which product do I need?
As Seen On: