Keeping match-fit to compete in sport at international level requires precision. Will UK sports associations answer calls to test the efficacy of CBD products for maintaining athletes’ fitness and aiding recovery from injury?
Yesterday, while one CBD brand, the Purity Hemp Company (PHC), announced a two-year partnership with the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), one of its competitors, Fourfive, called on the UK’s sports bodies to commit to research the benefits of CBD.
In the US, the pain management committee of the National Football League and the NFL Players Association earlier this month committed $1m to fund research into pain management and cannabinoids. Dr Kevin Hill, the co-chair of the committee, comments, “There is a need for better information, better science… When we talk about having elite athletes use CBD to treat pain, we want to make sure it’s safe and efficacious. I don’t think we’re at that point yet.”
Fourfive was founded by two rugby internationals, Dom Day (Wales) and George Kruis (England), with long careers and experience of injury and recovery behind them. Their own experience of using CBD products brought them into the market. Mr Day comments, “We explored for a more natural and sustainable way to manage our symptoms to attain those marginal gains to achieve success on the field. It was thanks to our explorations that we found CBD.” Their branding emphasises the care taken to establish the purity of the product they sell, and they recognise the need for more scientific research:
“We are hearing from countless customers about the benefits of CBD, not just from athletes but from anyone who leads an active lifestyle; they are telling us that CBD helps with pain management, sleep disorders and anxiety.
“We want the UK’s sport bodies including the RFU, the FA and even Sport England to step up and commit to research which looks at the benefits of CBD and medicinal cannabis so the industry can fulfil its potential.”
The collaboration between Purity and the PCA began in 2019. The PCA represents every professional cricketer in England and Wales, and has a charitable trust running alongside it, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust (PCT), which supports PCA members and families who are in need. The PCA and PCT introduced Purity CBD products to individuals “to test and experience the natural benefits” according to PHC.
Michael Walker, the CEO of PHC, is keen to stress the brand’s scientific credentials: “Over the last six years, our strategy has focused on the science and the medical evidence that premium cannabinoids can have on our physical and mental heath.
“We have shared the results with elite and professional governing bodies across sport, and continue to work with leading medical authorities to help treat and advance our understanding [of] natural health benefits derived from this plant.
“I needed to provide conclusive evidence and gain the trust and confidence of the governing bodies, and prove that we could consistently produce organic, drug-free natural extracts.
“The key to our success was the accreditation and certification from the Banned Substance Control Group, the leading global testing authority for Olympic and professional sporting associations. By working directly with our farmers and scientific teams, we can control the entire seed-to-shelf process, ensuring that our products are pharmaceutical grade broad-spectrum extract that is certified for sport, and will help improve life as nature intended.”
Speaking on behalf of the PCT, chair David Ford says, “The welfare of our players, family and wider community, is our core responsibility. If we can introduce products that can safely make a positive impact on the health and wellness of our members, then it is our duty to do so. Michael and his team have continued to work to the highest standards, and we look forward to continuing to develop this partnership.
“Their commitment to medical and scientific accreditation and certification has provided the confidence that the Purity Hemp Company was the right partnership.”
Purity is planning to develop case studies with current and existing players “to capture the results from muscle and body recovery and targeting key areas of injury or discomfort. The study will look to capture the participant’s day-to-day improvements and general health and focus on improving any anxiety, depression, or sleep deficiency they may be experiencing.”
PHC has launched a ‘cricket starter pack’ of products, and a per centage of each sale with be donated to the PCT.