A defiant act by an MMA fighter transformed global policy on athletes using CBD oil.
When MMA fighter Nate Diaz took a few drags from a CBD-laden vape pen during a press conference, he put his career at risk. Instead of hurting him, the act influenced an important change to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s policies, and helped reduce the stigma around hemp.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of cannabis or industrial hemp which doesn’t cause people to get high. Instead, its beneficial properties includes reducing inflammation. Now, many more professional and top-ranking amateur athletes will be able to use CBD, because recently WADA removed cannabidiol from its list of banned substances.
In this article, we’ll look at why athletes use CBD, and why this change matters for everyone, not just those who compete at sports.
After Nate Diaz vapes CBD at press conference, WADA changes global anti-doping rules
Diaz surprised reporters when he used a vape pen during a press conference after his August 20, 2016 loss against Conor McGregor, who at the time was the featherweight champion mixed-martial arts fighter. Visibly bruised from the fight, Diaz explained that his vape contained CBD oil, and went on to tout CBD’s benefits to the assembled media:
It helps with the healing process and inflammation and things like that, so you want to get these for before or after the fights, in training. It’ll make your life a better place.
However, CBD was on WADA’s list of banned substances and also banned by its national equivalent, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). UFC fighters are tested for prohibited substances after the fight and, according to the rules at the time, were prohibited from using banned substances during a window that begins 6 hours before the pre-fight weigh-in and ends six hours after the bout.
Even though Diaz had already been tested (and that test eventually came back clean of all prohibited substances including CBD), the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) would have been in their rights to suspend or punish him for the public infraction.
A defiant act by an MMA fighter transformed global policy on athletes using CBD oil. We’ll look at why athletes use CBD and why this change matters.