CBD in Sport: Naturecan agrees research partnership with Liverpool John Moores University
University buildings at Liverpool John Moore's University

Leading British CBD brand, Naturecan, has partnered with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) on ground-breaking research.

The move to study CBD in sport follows a growing fascination with the hemp extract in sporting circles in the UK and around the world. The cannabinoid can be found in some sports drinks as well as in supplement form. It is also often applied to the skin to target strained muscles or injuries.

Reports of anecdotal evidence that CBD may be beneficial in muscle recovery and reducing inflammation are increasingly common among those who put their bodies through strenuous exercise on a regular basis.

Several high profile sports stars from across the sporting world have publicly endorsed the cannabinoid, including British boxer Anthony Joshua.

Thanks to the support of Naturecan, a team of researchers at LJMU, which is globally renowned for its work in sports nutrition, will examine whether CBD in sport supplements can and should be recommended for use by athletes.

Professor of Human Physiology, Graeme Close, welcomes the support provided by the CBD brand and hopes to publish the results of several studies in 2022.

Currently the expert nutrition consultant to England Rugby, Professor Close combines academic research with his work as a consultant to some of the world’s leading sporting organisations. His research focuses on Vitamin D, muscle damage and repair, ageing muscle and most recently, CBD and skeletal muscle.

He told Cannabinoid Insight this research may provide the answers athletes need in order to have confidence in the CBD products they’re taking.

“There are questions to be answered before CBD supplements can be recommended to athletes, to be sure of no risk of inadvertent doping.

Professor Graeme Close, Liverpool John Moores University

“If this can be achieved, CBD may be a potentially exciting supplement in this field.”

Moyra Cosgrove, a Professional Doctorate candidate and nutrition consultant to Naturecan, is excited to work closely with the team at LJMU, saying CBD use is still controversial in sporting realms despite its popularity.

“Currently in elite sports, the use of CBD is highly controversial because of the wording of WADA’s advice, which states that CBD is not prohibited, but all other cannabinoids are. That’s the problem.”

Moyra adds that this research, understood to be the first of its kind in the UK and Europe, will examine the barriers to the use of CBD by elite athletes.

“Hopefully along the way, we’ll provide evidence to overcome some of those barriers.

“It is vital that stakeholders, including athletes themselves and their support staff, are educated on CBD, enabling informed decision making.

“This work at LJMU is looking to provide both knowledge and expertise in this area.” 

Meanwhile, the World Anti Doping Agency warns athletes should be cautious when taking any CBD product in case trace amounts of other cannabinoids are detected during mandatory drug testing:

“CBD is not prohibited, however, athletes should be aware that some CBD oils and tinctures extracted from cannabis plants, may also contain THC and other cannabinoids that could result in a positive test for a prohibited cannabinoid.”

Based in Stockport, Naturecan was founded in May 2019 by Paul Finnegan and Andy Duckworth, the former CEO of Myprotein. The global wellness brand focuses on offering safe, effective and premium hemp-derived CBD products as well as additional supplements such as vitamins and minerals. The company says its primary goal is “to create products that help people to lead happier and healthier lives.”