More and more professional athletes are turning to hemp-derived CBD oil as a natural alternative to potentially addictive opioids for battling chronic pain. Professional athletes frequently suffer injuries, some of which are serious and can lead down a rabbit hole of severe pain to insomnia and mood disorders.
For many, opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs, are common approaches to relieving chronic pain. However, some athletes today are starting to reverse that trend. The NFL ― not an entity known for rapid change ―is re-examining its strict drug policies and supporting research into CBD to help players manage pain.
All these trends come on the heels of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the commercial production of hemp-derived CBD extract, opening the door for professional athletes to discover its many benefits.
Milan Ristic and Other Athletes Using CBD
Retired NFL players Steve Smith, Tiki Barber and Rob Gronkowski; retired NBA players John Salley, Kenyon Martin and Matt Barnes; Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones and golfer Bubba Watson. These are just a few of professional athletes who have introduced CBD oil products into their training regimens to mitigate aches and pains.
Milan Ristic is another athlete who recently discovered the benefits of using CBD oil products. Ristic is a professional track and field athlete who holds the Serbian national records for the indoor 60-meter hurdles and the outdoor 100-meter hurdle events. Ristic said his experience with CBD to relieve chronic pain has by far been positive to the point he is spreading the word to others.
“I couldn’t believe it worked just like that,” he said. “I recommended it to a few friends and some family members, and they also loved it.”
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found naturally in hemp. CBD belongs to a larger family of compounds known cannabinoids, all of which are found in hemp and marijuana. However, what sets CBD apart from the rest of cannabinoids are its natural properties known to provide a wide spectrum of potential benefits without the psychoactive properties found in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which give you a sensation of being “high”.
Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate are the 3 most popular types of CBD. Each type features a specific extraction method that causes it to contain or omit certain aspects of the hemp plant.
Full Spectrum CBD is the most pure, unprocessed hemp extract, which contains all the hemp plant’s beneficial nutrients, cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and trace amounts of THC (<0.30%). The variety of naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes make it capable of the entourage effect ― the phenomenon of each element in the plant working together synergistically to provide maximum effect.
Broad Spectrum CBD is extracted from the flowering parts of the hemp plant and contains many of the same beneficial compounds as full-spectrum CBD except that broad-spectrum CBD oil has no THC.
CBD Isolate is the most processed form of CBD product because all parts of terpenes, other cannabinoids and oils are removed until only pure CBD remains.
Milan’s Experience With CBD Products and How They Helped
Being a professional athlete, Milan says he looked into several different types of supplements to recover from workouts and get better sleep, but most were not very helpful.
Initially, Ristic tried CBD oil products for relief from sore muscles and to get a better night’s sleep even though he was initially skeptical they would provide relief. Over time, though, he began to see results from CBD oil and how it provided relief after grueling workouts.
Recently, Milan has found CBD to help with a more serious setback. After being diagnosed with cancer, he has been using CBD oil products to mitigate some of the harsh side effects associated with chemotherapy, such as nausea, inflammation and fatigue. He is now on a healthy path toward recovery.
Is CBD Isolate Best to Avoid Testing Positive for THC?
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances. THC, however, is still prohibited by most major sports leagues and athletic organizations, except for Major League Baseball.
Taking CBD shouldn’t cause you to test positive for THC, especially if you choose CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD products. Professional athletes may want to avoid full-spectrum CBD oil, which may contain no more than 0.30 percent THC by federal law but may still provide a positive result for THC.
Athletes who are subjected to periodic drug testing should be fully aware of the contents of the CBD oils, topicals and edibles they are using. Transparency regarding labeling and ingredients is key, which is one of the main tenets Oliver’s Harvest stands by in the marketing of its products.
Deciding to Advocate Oliver’s Harvest Brand
Like most newcomers, Milan had very little knowledge about the many benefits CBD oils provides until a chance meeting on an airplane with Oliver’s Harvest founder Frank Suess. Milan had been using Oliver’s Harvest gummies and topicals in Ashville, N.C., where the hemp used in those very same products is organically grown and processed.
Over time, Milan Ristic’s continued communication with Mr. Suess has resulted in a deeper appreciation for the values that Oliver’s Harvest stands by and the value it provides customers with its products.
“I think Oliver’s Harvest is a great brand because their product is THC-free and as a professional athlete I can appreciate that and not worry about getting tested positive while taking the supplements. The company is doing something special, using everything natural and not processed ingredients. That’s another reason why I see myself partnering with them.” ― Milan Ristic
Favorite Oliver’s Harvest Products and What They are Used For
Milan favors Oliver’s Harvest gummies because of the fruity, sweet-tasting flavor they impart, using all-natural ingredients. He says they help keep his muscles loose before and after intense workouts.
Milan says he takes a few drops of CBD oil before bedtime to help him get a deeper sleep so he can wake up relaxed in the morning and ready to tackle a new day. He also favors Oliver’s Harvest topicals to relieve inflammation.
“I use it at practice or right before practice and when needed just to keep certain areas less inflamed,” he says. “I need that to have complete control and mobility over my body. It is very important in what I do.”
Advocating CBD products and Spreading Information About CBD
At first, Milan didn’t believe that CBD oil could provide all the benefits it does until he started using the products himself. Today, Milan spreads the word about the benefits of CBD at his speaking engagements and via his social media accounts, which he finds are great tools to utilize to let people know how CBD oil may help others.
“I would much rather take something natural than some chemicals or drugs that I don’t even know what’s in them,” he said.
As the voices of more athletes like Milan Ristic are heard ― and who are now comfortable to speak out about their own positive experiences with CBD ― it will likely do a lot to expand the scientific evidence base for the usefulness of CBD as a pain management alternative to OTC and opioid medications in professional sports and beyond.
Milan Ristic YouTube video direct quotes for inline testimonials, sidebar, etc.
“Oliver’s CBD gummies are my favorite; they help me recover from a hard workout like today and prevent my muscles from getting as sore as they used to be.”
“This is the number one supplement for me because in addition to all the nutritional value I get with it, I get a good night’s sleep too.”