Athletes are always pushing their bodies to the limit. As a result, they are prone to experiencing pain, concussion, inflammation, and many other conditions. The use of cannabidiol (CBD) has become mainstream today. As an athlete, you probably think if it is illegal to use CBD. Well, it is not according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In September 2018, the agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances.

Although WADA permits athletes to use CBD, the agency has not reversed its law on the use of cannabis. Therefore, if you test positive for other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, you may be subjected to punitive measures. For those who don’t know, CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant. Apart from CBD, the most popular cannabinoid in this plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for making you feel “high” when you use cannabis. Thankfully, most CBD products on the market are derived from a variety of cannabis known as hemp, which contains low levels of THC. U.S. laws require hemp plants grown in the country to contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC.

WADA warned athletes to take care must be taken when choosing CBD products to ensure it does not contain a high level of THC. “Cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC,” the agency said in a statement.

You may be thinking what does this mean? Well, it means you are free to use CBD as an athlete. Many professional athletes including MMA fighter Nate Diaz and NFL linebacker Derrick Morgan use CBD. However, you must make it a point to check the THC concentration level of any CBD product that you plan to use. If the THC concentration is higher than 1 percent, it may show up in drug tests, and you’ll have a hard time explaining why you have a banned substance in your bloodstream. Reading the THC concentration level on the label of a CBD product is not enough; you need to check the manufacturer’s website for third-party lab test results too. Also, only buy CBD products from reputable brands.

There are many benefits of CBD for athletes including providing relief from pain and inflammation as well as speeding up recovery times. Nate Diaz told the press that he uses CBD before and after his training and fights for this reason. It also reduces pre-match anxiety, provides increased mental clarity, protects you from neurological damage as well as improves your sleep and mood. Overall, CBD strengthens your maintains homeostasis and puts you in a good state to put up your best performance.

Unlike many medications that athletes take for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia, CBD does not have any severe side effects like affecting your kidney or causing you digestive problems. The most side effects of CBD are relatively minor, and they only occur when you overdose on this compound.

It is a good idea to consult your physician before you use CBD to determine the right dosage and also so a health expert can monitor your health and progress.