Pro sports stars who use CBD to boost athletic performance & pain recovery

Cannabidiol or CBD is gaining in popularity, especially among fitness buffs and even professional athletes.  It’s natural healing properties help relieve muscle pain and inflammation while also promoting a better night’s sleep that is so desperately needed for the body to repair torn muscle tissue.  The great thing about CBD oil compared to conventional marijuana alternatives is that hemp-based varieties are largely non-psychoactive.  In other words, the user rarely gets high.

CBD-containing products include capsules, pills, and edibles, and the Coca-Cola company is said to be in serious talks with Toronto-based Aurora Cannabis to produce a new line of CBD-infused soft drinks.  However, more and more athletes are discovering that vaped CBD gets into the bloodstream much faster, which means that the user receives the healing benefits more quickly, too.  It’s also much easier to control the dosage, something that former professional athletes find particularly appealing. 

Ryan VandenBussche, NHL Enforcer (Retired)

As an NHL Hockey player, Ryan VandenBussche had the unique privilege to play alongside many of the world’s greats, including Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier during his stint with the New York Rangers.  At just 19 years old, he found himself living a life that most teenage athletes could consider a dream.  He was already a minor league player.  Over the next 14 years, VandenBussche established a reputation as being one of the toughest enforcers in the NHL.

However, that badge of honor came with a significant price.  Throughout his expansive career, he encountered innumerable on-ice brawls with bare-knuckle competitors and multiple battles with fast-flying pucks.  His aggressive playing resulted in several broken bones, lacerations, and even some surgeries.  And while the scars would eventually heal, the pain would still linger well into his retirement years.

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Team doctors would often prescribe the top athletes a variety of different painkillers, and it wouldn’t take long before Ryan found himself a national statistic.  He, too, had become addicted to opiates.

“The trainers and doctors were part of the team, and handing out a lot of opiates and anti-inflammatory medicines was just the way things were done…You’re young and dumb, and you get introduced to Vicodin and OxyContin and Percocet after a game. Then you go out for a couple of ‘pops’ on top of it. Before you know, you’re dependant.”
-  Ryan VandenBussche , AthletesForCare.com

Ryan would eventually overcome his addiction demons, largely thanks to his introduction to CBD.  In fact, VandenBussche became such a big fan of cannabidiol that he purchased a 54-acre farm in Ontario in 2017 which is now the home of New Leaf Canada, a medical cannabis research and development facility.

David Ahrens, NFL Linebacker (Retired) 

Much like VandenBussche, David Ahrens endured his fair share of cuts, scrapes, and broken bones as a professional football star.  He is also one of the 136 former professional members of the Indianapolis Colts who signed on as plaintiffs in a 2011 concussion lawsuit against the NFL.   And just like his hockey playing colleague, Ahren’s team physicians also prescribed many types of opiates to relieve the pain.

“All the doctors ever gave us was codeine, Tylenol-Codeine No. 3, and other stuff…In the beginning of my career, it was handed out like candy. We had to play. There was no care about player health—only your performance was important.”
“I enjoyed a 10-year playing career…I have taken more pain pills in that time than most people have in their lifetime. I wish I had known about the benefits of CBD much earlier,” 
-  David Ahrens, Men’s Health

Ahtren’s has said that drug abuse was so prevalent in the NFL that the team’s medical staff would regularly hand out pills to players on the bus while traveling to and from away games.  Few records were kept, and some players were even allowed to secretly hide beer under their seats to help boost the pills’ effectiveness.   Now retired, David is a vocal advocate of CBD for pain management even years after his professional sports career has come to an end.

Other professional sports stars who strongly support CBD as a holistic alternative to opiates include UFC fighter Mickey Gall, female MMA fighter Gina Mazany, Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims, formerly of the Detroit Lions, and Eugene Monroe, retired lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. 

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(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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