CBD and Tokyo 2020 Olympic

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the first to authorize the use of CBD by athletes, but this decision is controversial. We explain why:

For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the use of cannabidiol (CBD) has been authorized for athletes. However, this substance, which has become popular in recent years, attracts criticism and hypocrisy when it is used in elite sport.

Megan Rapinoe for example, American footballer and LGBT icon, who announced that she uses CBD to improve her performance, was criticized for promoting her sister's CBD brand in an article on forbes.com.

Meanwhile, sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was suspended from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for Cannabis.

Controversy over the discrepancy in how cannabis and its other forms like CBD are perceived has led people to allege hypocrisy and racism by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Olympic anti-doping agency.


CBD and Tokyo 2020 Olympic
CBD and Tokyo Olympics 2020

“There is a lot of science behind CBD for its medical use,” says Mike Barnes, a professor of neurology and member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

He explains, among other things, that CBD calms, and can help with anxiety in general, which is beneficial to high-level athletes.

“There is always stress in sporting competitions, so reducing anxiety can be very helpful for them as well as the general adult population.”

Another way that CBD benefits athletes is in aiding sleep, which is a recurring problem among high-level athletes, especially those who travel a lot and are regularly jet-lagged.

CBD also helps with pain management. Mike Barnes emphasizes that it is not a cure for severe pain, but can be useful for relieving post-exercise muscle stiffness or simply the pain that comes with being a high-level athlete.

There are several ways to consume CBD, but most of the time, athletes use it as an oil, ingesting 2-3 drops under their tongue. However, even if some athletes have used it in recent months as part of their training regime, they will not be able to use it in Tokyo, as the country's anti-cannabis laws are very strict.


In 2017, without specifying the reason, WADA removed CBD but not other cannabinoids from its list of prohibited products. She said: “All natural and synthetic cannabinoids are prohibited, with the exception of cannabidiol. Cannabis, hashish and marijuana are prohibited. Food and drinks containing cannabinoids are also prohibited.

This is very hypocritical according to Barnes: “By playing devil's advocate, you could say that in form, certain forms of cannabis can make you more creative, more focused... This can actually give you an advantage over someone who don't use it.

Another reason for this ban is that THC stays in the body for 5 to 7 days, while the effects wear off within a few hours. It can therefore be detected during urine checks or blood tests. “I'm sure some athletes were penalized because they had THC in their body but no effects,” adds Barnes.

Although the laws are not yet completely in favor of athletes, CBD is starting to become more and more used by athletes.

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