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CBD and Drug Tests: What NFL Draft Prospects Should Know

Today the NFL begins testing for drugs
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The 2020 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and the league is getting ready to welcome a whole crop of new players to their ranks. In April, over 300 college players will be drafted or sign as free agents with NFL teams. These rookies will have a lot to deal with a lot, from just trying to make the team to learning their playbook to adapting to life as a professional athlete.

Leaving the life of a student-athlete behind and becoming a professional can be very difficult for many young players. The money, freedom, and the responsibility that comes with being a professional football player can be tough to navigate for some. There have been many young players over the years who have not dealt with this transition well and have been cut from the team, arrested, or failed drug tests.

This is why NFL rookies have to be extra diligent about who they hang around with, how they spend their time and what they put in their bodies. This last part is incredibly important because the NFL has a long list of banned performance-enhancing and recreational substances. If players test positive for any substance that runs afoul of the program, even if it is not illegal, they can be in for serious consequences. That is why there are a few things NFL Draft prospects need to know about CBD and drug tests.

CBD and Drug Tests

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an extract from the Cannabis Sativa plant that has all kinds of benefits for people’s mental and physical health. Daily CBD Mag had a more comprehensive explainer on what exactly CBD is but what you need to know in terms of drug testing is that CBD comes from the same plant and is related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that gets you “high”. However, CBD does not have any of the psychoactive properties that THC does. This is why CBD is legal throughout most of the U.S. 

So, will taking CBD trigger a positive drug test for NFL Draft prospects? The answer is no… but maybe yes. For the most part, the risk of failing a drug test is low when you are taking CBD but it is not 0. This is something NFL prospects have to think long and hard about before taking CBD products when millions of dollars are on the line. 

There are two main types of CBD products, CBD isolate (or broad-spectrum CBD) and full-spectrum CBD. CBD isolate should not contain any THC. While it is possible for your body to naturally convert CBD to THC, it is rare. Full-spectrum CBD products can contain up to 0.3% THC. Unfortunately, with regulations on these products currently low, studies have found that 69% of CBD products are mislabeled and 43% actually have more THC than advertised. 

Because of these stats, everyone who is subject to drug testing should be very careful when purchasing CBD products. To find some of the better CBD products on the market, check out this list from Cool Things Chicago

Benefits of CBD 

So, with there being a risk of failing a drug test due to CBD, why would NFL Draft prospects take it to begin with? Because CBD has a lot of mental and physical health benefits for people in general and many of these specifically help with ailments that football players suffer from most.

Research has shown that among the wide variety of benefits that CBD can have, reducing inflammation and chronic pain is a major reason that people use the product. With the amount of punishment that professional football players take, many are looking for non-pharmaceutical ways to alleviate their muscle and joint pain. CBD is a great alternative to painkillers because there are little to no negative side effects and CBD is not addictive. CBD is also known to improve the length and quality of sleep which helps bodies recover faster.

On the mental health side, CBD can also help with concentration and focus which is good for the players on the field. Off the field, while there are no definitive studies that have yet concluded that CBD helps with CTE, it is known to help a range of other brain-related issues such as anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. If you are interested in learning more, the site CBDKyro has a lot more information on all the medical research that has been done about the benefits of CBD.

New Collective Bargaining Agreement

One recent piece of good news is that there are currently negations taking place that would seriously decrease the NFL’s drug testing and penalties for THC. The NFL owners currently have a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) offer out to the players. The deal covers everything under the sun when it comes to NFL, team, and player relations, including drug testing. If the players vote to accept the new CBA, the rules on testing and punishment for THC would be greatly reduced. While the current offer doesn’t take THC off the banned list entirely, it does mean the NFL would be less likely to seek out and punish players for THC use.

Additionally, according to Alex Kapinski at NJGamblingFun “On the other side, while many of the players see this as a step in the right direction, many want to see marijuana fully decriminalized in the NFL. The CBA is currently being voted on by players who have until May 12 to vote and a simple majority is needed to pass it. If it is not passed, the players will play under the old CBA – and the old CBA drug testing rules – at least until next offseason.”


Navigating the complicated world of CBD and drug testing is just one of the many complex issues NFL Draft prospects have to deal with as they enter the NFL. While CBD can be incredibly beneficial to pro football players, it does come with the danger of possibly failing a drug test if they use the wrong product. Hopefully, like most of America, the NFL will come around soon and make CBD fully legal so future NFL Draft prospects do not have to worry about this problem.


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