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Who are the top athletes using CBD oil, and what do they say about it?


Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is becoming more popular as an all-natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Athletes of all levels have started to buy CBD oil to help manage pain and inflammation related to their sports. CBD oil can have many other benefits, such as helping with anxiety and depression and improving sleep quality. Some athletes use it to recover more quickly from injuries, while others use it in lieu of over-the-counter pain relievers. This article will look at some top athletes taking CBD oil and what they have to say about it.

Benefits of CBD Oil

Studies have shown numerous benefits of CBD oil. It contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving [1]properties, which can help with conditions like arthritis,[2] chronic pain,[3] and migraines.[4] CBD oil is also known to help with anxiety and depression,[5] improve sleep quality,[6] which is vital for athletes who need to be well-rested to perform their best.

"Research on the effects CBD has on sleep disorders is still preliminary," according to Sleep Foundation.[7] "Some people who use CBD for chronic pain report sleeping better. Currently, it is unclear whether these patients sleep better because of the pain relief or because CBD directly affects their sleep," it added.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved just one CBD product[8] as a prescription drug to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in people older than one year. When it comes to other potential benefits of CBD oil, the jury is still out as FDA is not approving any other CBD products for medical use.

Who Are the Top Athletes Using CBD Oil?

Now that we know some of the benefits of CBD oil, let's look at some of the top athletes taking it. The following five athletes come from various sports, including football (soccer), American football, rugby, and mixed martial arts. Each one has their own story on why they started using CBD oil and what benefits they have seen. While some use CBD oil for pain relief, others use it for overall health and well-being.

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe is an American professional soccer player and Olympic gold medalist. In 2019, Rapinoe won the Ballon D'or,[9] the most prestigious individual honour in soccer, for her stellar performance both on the national and international level, including winning a fourth World Cup with the US women's national soccer team.

Rapinoe has been very vocal about her use of CBD oil as a pain reliever, stating that it helps her recover quickly from the aches and pains of soccer.

"CBD has become part of my all-natural recovery system that I use throughout the day to help with pain and inflammation, stabilize my mood and get better sleep," she told Forbes[10] magazine last year.

"Instead of taking Advil or other pain management meds, I've almost exclusively substituted with Mendi CBD products...I use them right after training, pop in a gummy, gel capsule or oil drops for pain and to calm me down, then another gummy in the afternoon to relax, then the night tincture right before bed for better sleep. It's truly part of my entire day," she added.

Nate Diaz

Nate Diaz is an American professional mixed martial artist best known for his stunning 2016 upset victory[11] over Conor McGregor, who was the favourite to win. Diaz has competed in the UFC since 2007 and is known for his aggressive fighting style.[12] Though Diaz has never won a championship match in the UFC, he has been victorious in numerous bouts and has won 15 UFC bonus awards[13], the third-most in UFC history.

Like Rapinoe, Diaz has openly promoted the use of CBD oil for pain relief. He has even been seen vaping CBD oil after matches.[14]

"It's CBD," said Diaz when asked what he was smoking after a 2016 match. "It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that."

George Kruis

English rugby union player George Kruis is a lock for the British and Irish Lions, England's national rugby union team. The 31-year-old athlete made his debut in 2009[15] when he played for Saracens FC against Northampton Saints in the LV Anglo-Welsh Cup. Since then, he has become one of the most successful English rugby union players in history, winning three European titles.[16] He now plays for Panasonic Wild Knights, a Japanese rugby team.

"Sleep was definitely one of the things it helped with for me," said Kruis in an interview with BBC[17], referring to CBD oil after he had an ankle injury in 2018.

"But I also have low-level chronic pain, and I was able to reduce the amount of painkillers I was taking," he added.

Ben Franks

New Zealand rugby union player Ben Franks is a prop who has played for the All Blacks (New Zealand national rugby union team), the Hurricanes, and London Irish. He won two Rugby World Cups with the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015.

Franks says CBD oil helped him recover quickly from the injuries he sustained during his long and illustrious career.

"I felt the benefit straight away," he said in a video interview [18]posted on Hemp & CBD Media. "I was sort of amazed we had not heard about it sooner."

In 2019, Franks teamed up [19]with former England rugby player James Haskell and cannabis biotechnology firm CiiTECH to start Impact Sports, a line of cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oils and balms.

Eugene Monroe

American football player Eugene Monroe was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars eighth overall in the 2009 National Football League (NFL) Draft. He then played for the Baltimore Ravens, where he stayed until retirement in 2016. Though he never achieved great success in the NFL, Monroe is notable as one of the first professional athletes to advocate for CBD oil for pain management. He has called on the NFL to remove cannabis from its list of prohibited substances.

"This is medicine," said Monroe of cannabis in an interview with Rolling Stone,[20] "and although people are able to consume cannabis and enjoy it recreationally, the application we are talking about is its medical application. We don't see the NFL trying to control players' alcohol consumption or tobacco consumption. In fact, the NFL advertises those things. Cannabis is less damaging, less dangerous, less addictive than both of those."

How to Take CBD Oil

When you buy CBD oil, the manufacturer will provide you with directions on how to take it. Apart from these directions, there are a few general guidelines to follow when taking CBD oil. CBD oil can be ingested in several ways, including orally, sublingually (under the tongue), or via vape. Knowing how to take CBD oil is essential, as the method you use will affect how long it takes for the CBD to take effect and how long the effects will last.

Oral ingestion of CBD oil generally takes the longest to take effect,[21] with the effects lasting longer than other methods. That's because when you swallow CBD oil orally, it is absorbed by the digestive system and passes through the liver before entering the bloodstream. Sublingual ingestion is believed to be faster-acting but shorter-lasting, as the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the tissues under the tongue. Vaping CBD oil is thought to be the fastest-acting method[22] (30 seconds) as it enters the bloodstream immediately upon inhalation.

Regardless of how you take it, CBD oil is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. This means that its effects will be systemic, not localized. It's recommended to start with a small dose and gradually increase the amount as needed.

You should also be aware of some potential side effects of CBD oil, including drowsiness, dry mouth, and light-headedness. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not take CBD oil.

As the popularity of CBD oil continues to grow, more and more athletes are using it to manage pain and inflammation. CBD oil is non-addictive and does not contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. It's legal to buy and sell CBD oil in many countries, including large parts of the US. Lastly, don't forget to buy CBD oil from a reputable retailer to ensure you're getting a high-quality product. Not all CBD oil is created equal, so be sure to do your research before buying it.

[1] Cherney, K. (2017). Using CBD Oil for Pain Management: Does It Work? [online] Healthline. Available at:

[2] (n.d.). CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know. [online] Available at:

[3] Argueta, D.A., Ventura, C.M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V. and Gupta, K. (2020). A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, [online] 11. Available at:

[4] Cherney, K. (2017). CBD Oil for Migraine: Does It Work? [online] Healthline. Available at:

[5] GoodRx. (n.d.). CBD for Depression: What Are the Benefits? [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[6] Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041.

[7] Sleep Foundation. (2021). Is Cannabidiol a Safe and Effective Sleep Aid? [online] Available at:

[8] Office of the Commissioner (2019). What to Know About Products Containing Cannabis and CBD. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at:

[9] Kuper, S. (2019). Rapinoe wins Ballon d’Or but is so much more than a soccer star. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[10] Herrington, A.J. (n.d.). Cannabis Takes The World Stage At The Tokyo Olympics. [online] Forbes. Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[11] Okamoto, B. (2016). Diaz upsets McGregor by 2nd-round submission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[12] Richardson, A. (2013). Breaking Down UFC 158’s Nick Diaz. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[13] Jr, A.G. (2016). UFC “Vegas” Bonus Winners Are ... [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[14] Sarkar, R. (2019). Nate Diaz: 3 instances of the UFC star endorsing cannabis consumption to his fans. [online] Republic World. Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[15] Mail, S. (2009). Saracens blown off track after losing at Saints. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[16] fourfive. (n.d.). About Us | CBD Supplements & Vitamins. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[17] Gwilliam, L. (2018). Why rugby players take cannabis oil products. (n.d.). BBC Sport. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[18] Tommy (2019). Rugby stars James Haskell & Ben Franks discuss taking CBD and new brand Impact Sports - Hemp & CBD Media. [online] Hemp & CBD Media. Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[19] NZ Herald. (n.d.). Former All Black’s new products not allowed in New Zealand. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[20] Rafferty, S. and Rafferty, S. (2017). Eugene Monroe on NFL, CTE and How Weed Changed His Life. [online] Rolling Stone. Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[21] Organics, J. (n.d.). How Long Does CBD Last? - Joy Organics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2022].

[22] Gill, L.L. (n.d.). How to Safely Use CBD: Should You Inhale, Spray, Apply, or Eat It? [online] Consumer Reports. Available at:

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