Cannabis and sport: Is it a healthy connection?

Policy makers and sportspersons remain divided over the issue of athletes being allowed to use cannabis to improve their physical and mental health, especially cannabinoids which have demonstrated significant therapeutic qualities.

October 2018 saw cannabis becoming legal and regulated in Canada. However, cannabis is still on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list. Furthermore, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) recently released a statement declaring that Canadian athletes are subject to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP), and that the use of cannabis under CADP is banned. But a host of prominent athletes are hoping that the CCES has a change of heart and have a signed a petition to that effect, calling WADA’s 2021 Code Drafting Team to remove cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the other natural cannabinoids, from the agency’s banned list. Their key argument? Using natural cannabinoids and cannabis in its various forms - CBD oil, hemp oil, etc) has vastly improved their quality of life by alleviating pain (inevitable, especially in full contact sports like hockey) and anxiety issues.

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Canadian professional ice hockey left winger, Zachary Rinaldo would know. “I got off medications when I was 21 years old and started instead using CBD. It has changed my life and opened my mind to a new way of healing my body, not only for my anxiety but for all the head trauma and other physical body trauma that I have sustained throughout my career in professional hockey,” he says. Currently playing for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL), Rinaldo is known for his aggressive play on the ice. His passion for the game is legendary but his path to success hasn’t always been smooth. Not many fans know that Rinaldo, as a teen was plagued with anxiety and sleep issues and had to be on medication for the same since the age of 18. The Hamilton native will be sharing his story at the Hempfest Hamilton- a landmark two-day event where experts from the industry will gather to discuss all things cannabis.

Image: Zachary Rinaldo, Nashville Predators (NHL)

Rinaldo is in august company. Major sportspersons, including Mike Tyson and Canadian Ross Rebagliati (who won a snowboarding gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics) are all proponents of the leaf. American footballers are another cohort who have supported the use of cannabis in mitigating pain and inflammation, incurred due to repeated trauma to the head and body during play. According to researchers at the University of Miami, CBD might have an important role Tom play in the successful treatment of a concussion. Additional benefits of CBD include easing muscle strain and spasms, preventing damage to the spinal cord and one of the greatest benefits, especially for athletes- pain management post training.

To know more about the health benefits of CBD, be sure to attend Hempfest Hamilton at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Saturday, June 1st (12pm - 6pm) and Sunday, June 2nd (12pm - 5pm). This is also an amazing opportunity to meet Zac Rinaldo who will be speaking on the Main Stage at Hempfest Hamilton on Saturday, June 1st from 1:15pm - 2pm and will be available for a Meet & Greet following his presentation.

Tickets are available at or Cash/Credit at the door.

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