June 28, 2018

BIG3 Becomes First Professional Sports League To Allow Players To Use CBD For Pain Management


BIG3 announced today the legalization of cannabidiol (CBD) effective immediately for the 2018 season which tipped off in Houston last week to a sold-out crowd of more than 16,000 fans. This announcement follows the removal of CBD from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned substances list which went into effect at the beginning of 2018. With this decision, BIG3 is now the first professional sports league in the U.S. to allow access to CBD for use in pain management and recovery.

From the launch of the BIG3, the league has always been about changing the game of basketball for the better, with the tone set early on by musical icon Ice Cube as Co-Founder and Co-CEO, former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask as Chairman of the Board, two-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Clyde Drexler as Commissioner, and most recently by Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman who became the first female head coach of a men’s professional sports team. Today’s announcement is one more example of the BIG3’s innovation -- from new rules on the court like the 4-point shot to incredible in-arena offerings and access to players and coaches that create the ultimate fan experience.

“The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners not property,” said BIG3 Co-Founder & Co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz. “As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health.”

Despite many states around the country making efforts to decriminalize or legalize cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, professional athletes who could benefit medicinally are prevented from doing so by league outdated mandates. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an adamant supporter for the legalization of medical marijuana, recently sat down with NFL running back Mike James to discuss the player’s addiction to opioids following an injury, his use of medical marijuana to overcome his health issues, and the NFL’s decision to prevent him from doing so even under the league’s therapeutic use exemption policy. As noted by CNN, A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2011 found that more than half -- 52% -- of former NFL players reported using opioids during their career, and 71% of those players reported misusing opioids.

More than a dozen countries, including Canada and Israel, have approved CBD-based medications for both professional athletes and consumers. In the U.S., the shift is beginning to happen as the medication is not only used for pain management, but preferred over the powerfully addictive opioids and pain-relief drugs that are often the only other option. The World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence reviewed evidence from animal and human CBD studies, and concluded that CBD exhibits no effects in humans indicative of abuse or dependence potential.

Image result for first professional sports league to legalize the use of cannabidiolAl Harrington, 16-year NBA veteran and Co-Captain of BIG3’s undefeated, inaugural championship team Trilogy, has been a strong proponent of the use of medical marijuana and CBD. Off the court, Harrington has developed Viola, a leading brand and supplier of cannabis products in Colorado, Michigan, Oregon and California, and recently announced the formation of Harrington Wellness. In a groundbreaking interview between Harrington and former NBA Commissioner David Stern, Stern shared his advocacy for advancing the science and study of CBD and Hemp products as an alternative treatment for pain management, while generally supporting their acceptance in professional sports.

The BIG3’s 2018 season heads to Chicago and the United Center on Friday, June 29 and makes its way to Oakland, Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas and Brooklyn. All stops will feature four back-to-back games on Friday evenings with star players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Baron Davis, Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Chauncey Billups, Metta World Peace, and Nate Robinson and legendary Hall of Fame coaches like Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving, Gary Payton, Nancy Lieberman and George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin. Tickets are on sale now beginning at $20 and can be purchased at BIG3.com.

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