After last Saturday’s long-awaited UFC 202 match between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, where McGregor came out the victor, it seems the only thing people are talking about is what took place at a press conference following the fight. After being beaten for five rounds, Diaz was extremely sore and swollen, evident in the video footage. There he sat, taking questions and puffing on a CBD medical cannabis pen. Due to anti-doping laws, Diaz now faces the possibility of a one-year suspension pending an investigation. I spoke with an expert in the field to get his opinion on the situation and see what the chances Diaz receiving charges really are.
Playing the odds
Jonathan Teeters is a former football player turned Director of Government Affairs for Tradiv, a company dedicated to creating a cannabis wholesale market that is easy, efficient and secure.
This organization functions in many different aspects of the cannabis world, one of them being the ability to offer expert advice when it comes to all legal sectors of the industry.
According to Teeters, the main agency that could prosecute Diaz is the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), possibly with weigh-in from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). These non-government agencies are put in place to regulate the use of cannabis and other performance enhancing drugs throughout the world of sports.
Unfortunately, Diaz’s brother, Nick, has already faced numerous penalties from USADA for testing positive for THC metabolites. He has failed to repay most of his fines.
Teeters says while they may be different people, the situation effects Diaz’s current standing.
Optics matter sometimes as much as facts in situations like this, and while these are two different athletes, it’s hard to make the case that Nick’s obstinate stance won’t have any influence on how USADA chooses to address his brother’s case.
But wait, there’s more
In addition to the unavoidable family trouble, Diaz has also made the case worse for himself by posting what appear to be promotional photos for TRU Vape Oil on his Instagram. Not only do these photos show the use of CBD cartridges, they also reveal hybrid and THC oils.
By promoting the psychoactive cartridges, Diaz is hurting the credibility of his statement where he says he only uses CBD oil.
More importantly, the USADA and WADA recognize no difference in THC and CBD oil, purely because of the lack of knowledge surrounding the medication.
What confuses the situation is the idea that if the CBD cartridges were sourced from legal hemp plants, mostly grown internationally and imported, and not federally illegal THC-producing cannabis plants, Teeters says Diaz might stand a chance of fighting any repercussions.
There is all-together a lack of education among regulators, health standards organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the public in general – regarding the effective therapeutic and non-psychoactive applications of CBD.
Organizations like the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, and athletes like Nate Diaz, are quickly bringing attention to CBD. Federal prohibitions do not extend to hemp-sourced CBD products, which is why CBD is exploding as a commercially available health product.
A deeper understanding
As a former football player himself, Teeters understands the extreme pressure these athletes are facing. He used to take anywhere from 800-1600 milligrams of ibuprofen a day, a pain medication that can cause issues with kidneys after prolonged use.
After switching to CBD oils and cannabis, Teeters hasn’t had a need to use ibuprofen and still receives the pain relief he needs.
As a person who lives with pain and potential Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy sustained over years of putting my body on the line, I feel for Nate Diaz and every other athlete who knows firsthand the difference CBD versus narcotics makes in their life.
The fact that the USADA and WADA, the NFL, and other organizations don’t recognize the therapeutic and preventative value of cannabinoids is not a surprise. It is disappointing though that these organizations, who together, have the health research dollars of many small nations, are missing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead competitive athletics and sports medicine to a new future.
As more athletes come forward, they have the opportunity to affect real change, not just for the sports industry, but for the medical cannabis industry as well. The use of harsh narcotics could be a thing of the past, if only the responsible organizations would step up and fulfill their duties to the athletes we all love.