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Athlete Perspectives on Hemp

With the explosion of the Hemp market people are turning to Hemp tinctures, lotions, capsules, and gummies for Hemp’s various potentials. The idea of athletes using Hemp while competing is generating some controversy. But, a growing number of athletes are consuming Hemp relax gummies during competition. Although Hemp is non-psychoactive, there’s some confusion around the legality of this practice, and its status as a valid medicinal treatment versus a performance-enhancing drug could be called into question.

Hemp has taken off in the world of professional golf in particular, with several high-profile athletes embracing the compound. A video of Phil Mickelson taking Hemp during the PGA Masters tournament went viral, and Charley Hoffman has been utilizing Hemp as part of his treatment. Hoffman credits Hemp for a number of changes in his life.


Naturally, fans are curious as to whether or not Hemp would be a strike against an athlete if it showed up on a drug test. In 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency officially removed Hemp from its list of banned substances. However, not every institution is on the same page. On the other hand, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) bans any substances chemically related to cannabis, so while it doesn’t explicitly list Hemp, it’s better for athletes to be on the safe side and avoid consuming it. Based on these rules, it’s technically legal for some athletes to consume Hemp prior to competing, but even a few drops of a poor-quality Hemp tincture from a shoddy retailer could land a competitor in hot water.

Since Hemp is not THC, it seems like consumers would be in the clear, but not all Hemp is created equal. Currently, some retailers are still playing fast and loose as far as regulations are concerned, meaning that some Hemp products could contain detectable levels of THC. Luckily for athletes and others who are concerned about quality control and drug testing for employment, the FDA plans to conduct further research on Hemp to determine best practices for regulation.

In a May 31 hearing, [FDA] officials raised concerns about dosage levels, long-term use of Hemp, how it interacts with other drugs, and claims that Hemp can be used to treat specific illnesses. Hemp makers say they welcome FDA oversight, as it would bring enhanced legitimacy.

Based on the rapid expansion of this market, Hemp isn’t going anywhere, and in the future, it’s likely that we’ll see clearer and stricter regulations concerning how athletes can consume Hemp. But in the meantime, athletes interested in consuming the cannabinoid need to ensure that they’re playing by the rules.