Globally, athletes at all levels have to be cautious of the medications and substances they are using during competitions. Marijuana and cannabinoids are prohibited unless they have an approved Therapeutic Use Exemption, according to the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) But in 2018 the USADA removed CBD from their list of banned substances, as it is not psychoactive.
“I feel comfortable saying I use CBD because it’s just like I don’t really consider it to be weed,” Kelley said. “I guess it’s a part of weed, I think it definitely helps and you don’t get high from it so I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about it.”
Out of all of her products, Kelley said she finds that the oils have stronger effects and utilizes them when she has particularly high levels of anxiety or stress, sometimes even twice a day.
Ari Boyce began using CBD lotion to help treat the pain she experiences because of the titanium rod and eight screws she had inserted in her leg after she broke it last year. The freshman member of the SU cheer team said that she has noticed a lot of her teammates and athletic peers also using CBD products for pain and discomfort.
“I was super skeptical about taking it because everyone’s like ‘it’s a placebo effect’ and ‘it doesn’t actually work’ and I was one of those people but I was so desperate that I was like I’ll just try whatever,” she said.
Initially, Boyce was using a prescribed arthritis cream to treat her leg pain, but it wasn’t helping enough for the $200 her family had to pay for it, she said. The CBD lotion she now uses provides a greater relief for pain and is significantly less expensive, only costing $20.
Her parents recommended that she start using the CBD lotion as an alternative to the arthritis cream. They are comfortable with her using the lotion, she said, but do not want her taking the CBD gummies or any related products.
“They don’t want me to consume it but it’s fine to put topical, probably because of the stigma that it does come from the same plant [as marijuana],” she said.
In spite of this stigma, the CBD industry is on the rise. In 2018, Grand View Business valued the CBD market at $4.6 billion. And a deep analysis of the cannabis market in the United States conducted by the investment banking company Cowen, predicted that the CBD market could represent a $16 billion opportunity in 2025.
But what makes the CBD industry so appealing to young adults? It could be the fact that 63% percent of college students reported having anxiety or stress and are looking for a natural way to cope. It could also be due to mainstream audiences excitedly participating in CBD trends. Former Coca-Cola executive Chris Burggreave even described CBD as the “new avocado toast” in an interview with Business Insider.
Or perhaps it’s that CBD’s surge in popularity offers business opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Mariah Bermeo had the idea to combine her love for food and marijuana when she was an undergrad at SU taking courses in global and food studies. After she graduated in 2019, Bermeo started her business “Mariah Juana,” in which she cooks food infused with different strains of CBD, often incorporating foods that are important to her Ecuadorian culture.