BIG3, the professional 3-on-3 basketball league that features former NBA players, announced Wednesday it has become the first U.S. pro sports league to permit the use of cannabidiol (CBD), an ingredient in marijuana, for pain management and recovery.
The use of CBD oils and other products has gained popularity across the United States in recent years. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), not CBD, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives users a “high.’’
“Despite many states around the country making efforts to decriminalize or legalize cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, professional athletes who could benefit medicinally are prevented from doing so by league outdated mandates,’’ BIG3 said in a news release.
CBD was removed from World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances this year and THC remains on the banned list.
The BIG3, entering the second week of its second season, said its policy goes into effect immediately.
“More than a dozen countries, including Canada and Israel, have approved CBD-based medications for both professional athletes and consumers,’’ the BIG3 said. “In the U.S., the shift is beginning to happen as the medication is not only used for pain management, but preferred over the powerfully addictive opioids and pain-relief drugs that are often the only other option.’’
On Monday, Epidiolex became the first drug containing CBD to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Epidiolex is used to treat seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, according to news media reports.
The BIG3 noted that Al Harrington, a 16-year NBA veteran who is a co-captain in the 3-on-3 league, has been a strong proponent of the use of medical marijuana and CBD. Viola, a company owned by Harrington, is a leading brand and supplier of cannabis products in Colorado, Michigan, Oregon and California, according to the BIG3.