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Is your CBD oil "THC-free" as claimed? Maybe not.

Many athletes have begun turning to cannabidiol (CBD) oil as a more natural way of managing pain. However, varying levels of THC in CBD drops and vague labeling can land some in serious trouble. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) permits the use of CBD, all other cannabinoids are still prohibited for athletes participating in global competitions.

Are there CBD oils that do not contain THC?

According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to create a “pure” CBD extract or oil free of any other cannabinoids like THC. Olympic silver medalist Devin Logan learned this lesson earlier this year, receiving a three-month suspension from competition after testing positive for THC in December. Logan reportedly had been using a CBD product that listed only “trace amounts of THC” on the ingredients label; however, independent testing of the product following her positive test revealed significant THC levels. 

Relying on product labels could spell trouble for athletes

As has been the case with nutritional supplements, CBD product labels appear to be unreliable indicators for athletes and consumers.

Logan’s case was the first of its kind in the United States, but according to a study by the American Medical Association, other athletes are likely at risk of making this mistake. The 2017 survey found that 69% of the CBD products examined contained different levels of CBD than indicated on the label. Even more concerning, 21% of the products tested included THC – some at high enough levels to cause intoxication or impairment.

As we have discussed previously on this blog, lack of clear and accurate labeling on supplements can put the careers of unsuspecting athletes on the line. Until rules regarding cannabinoids change or labeling becomes more reliable, and with the increased acceptance and prevalence of CBD oil as a pain management tool, more and more athletes will likely need an advocate who can help them mitigate the damage of a positive test caused by a bad CBD oil product. 

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