Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, widely marketed to athletes for claimed effects such as decreased anxiety, fear memory extinction, anti-inflammatory properties, relief of pain and for post-exercise recovery. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has excluded CBD from its list of prohibited substances. Nevertheless, caution is currently advised for athletes intending to use the compound—except CBD, all other cannabinoids are still on the prohibited list. CBD products, specifically non-medicinal, so-called full-spectrum cannabis extracts, may contain significant levels of these substances, but also contaminations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (>2.5 mg/day in >30% of products on the German market) potentially leading to positive doping tests. Labelled claims about CBD content and absence of THC are often false and misleading. Contaminations with the psychoactive THC can result in adverse effects on cognition and, in general, the safety profile of CBD with respect to its toxicity is a controversial topic of discussion. For these reasons, we would currently advise against the use of over-the-counter CBD products, especially those from dubious internet sources without quality control.
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