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UK Legislation Surrounding Cannabis & Sports

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UK Legislation Surrounding Cannabis & Sports

Cannabis is a plant family that includes many species such as Hemp and Marijuana. Although Hemp and Marijuana come from the same plant family, they have distinctly different purposes and uses. Hemp and Industrial Hemp refer to the strain of cannabis that is grown for agricultural products such as textiles, seeds, and oils. To grow hemp within the UK, you will require a drug licence from the Home Office.

Marijuana is known for its flowering tops of the plant. The flowers are typically bred to have a high THC content – which is illegal within the UK. CBD can be extracted from both of these as well as being synthesised in a lab, however, the end result in the isolation of the CBD compound would be the same.

CBD is completely legal in the UK. CBD is not a controlled substance and therefore there are no restrictions over its use – however, that’s not to say that all cannabis oil can be used legally. Although CBD is completely legal there are strict restrictions over its THC content. Currently, CBD oil in the UK can only have a maximum 0.2% THC content. Any CBD oil with a higher THC content is prohibited within the UK.

CBD is different from medical cannabis, as medical cannabis contains both CBD and THC. Medical cannabis became available on NHS prescription on 1st November 2018. Medical cannabis still very strictly regulated, and only able to be prescribed by specialist consultants – such as those in neurology or paediatrics – and only in instances where there is “clear published evidence of benefit”.


CBD Governance in the Sports Sector

As of January 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of banned substances. This allows athletes to use CBD alongside their supplements and nutrition plan without fear of suspension.

WADA was created by the international Olympic committee in 1999 and is the regulatory body that is used by many sports organisations around the world. The list of prohibited substances now clearly makes an exemption to CBD. This is the result of extensive research into CBD and the many potential benefits it presents, as opposed to potential negative impacts on the body.


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