Both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency have removed CBD from their lists of prohibited substances in 2018. Now, UFC is researching the benefits of CBD for its athletes.

The eight-year program will examine hemp-derived CBD as a treatment alternative for pain and inflammation for MMA athletes

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Canadian company Aurora Cannabis have just announced an eight-year partnership to launch a clinical research program to examine the potential of hemp-derived CBD products as an effective treatment for pain, inflammation, and healing wounds. Research from the program, which will benefit mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes, will be used to create hemp-derived CBD cream, among other things.

Partnership Goals

The program will focus on the health and wellness needs of high-performance and nonprofessional athletes, including recovery. UFC President Dana White said that in a sport this physical and competitive, many athletes already are using some sort of CBD product. The goal of the partnership is to prevent untested CBD treatments, and to create safe, reliable, and highly effective products that can be used during practice, and before and after matches.

“Our partnership with UFC is about committing to the science that will educate and advocate,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora Cannabis. Both UFC and Aurora officials said all products will be developed in full compliance with United States federal law and with UFC’s anti-doping program.

The Program’s Plan

The program will collect and analyze scientific data from MMA fighters who have choose to participate in the studies. The research will be conducted in collaboration with UFC’s Performance Institute at the institute in Las Vegas.

Aurora Cannabis, established in 2013 in Canada, currently operates in 24 countries. Aurora’s research will be helmed by Dr. Jason Dyck, a professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine. He will be aided by Duncan French, Ph.D., UFC’s vice president for performance. After the information is collected and analyzed for insights, the second phase will involve establishing treatments and developing products.

CBD’s Use in Sports Increasing

Many athletes, including pros, already are using CBD for medical purposes. Basketball’s BIG3 was the first professional sports league in the U.S. to allow its athletes to use CBD. And, in 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances, both in and out of competition. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) followed suit in 2018.

What This Means for CBD Research

Good news in the hemp and hemp-derived CBD industry extends beyond just sports, from TSA allowing transportation of hemp-derived CBD on airplanes to the USDA issuing an important opinion on the legality of hemp transportation. And recently, a group of six bipartisan U.S. senators proposed a federal bill that could boost CBD research nationwide. This promising reduction in regulatory obstacles paves the way for scientific and clinical research on CBD’s potential medical and wellness benefits for athletes and everyone else.

Crescent Canna advocates for the safe, effective, and legal use of hemp-derived CBD and actively follows the latest scientific and legislative developments. If you have any questions about CBD products, please visit our CBD FAQ or contact us


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