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Here are the American team sports leagues’ policies on CBD use

Rob Gronkowski announced Tuesday he was endorsing a line of CBD products.Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for CBDMEDIC

Former Patriots player Rob Gronkowski announced at a news conference Tuesday he is partnering with a company that produces a line of CBD products for “safe, natural, and temporary relief” from pain, and he also used the forum to call on sports leagues and organizations to allow CBD use.

Gronkowski said that thanks to CBD – a non-psychoactive compound in both marijuana and hemp plants – he is pain-free for the first time in more than a decade.

“I’m here to appeal to the sports governing bodies of their world to update their positions on CBD (so it can be) used by all players,” Gronkowski said.


The six major American team sports leagues all prohibit its use. Here are the policies for each league:

MLB: Per MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, CBD is a prohibited substance under the ‘Drugs of Abuse’ section, because CBD is a natural cannabinoid, which is considered a drug of abuse by MLB.

NHL: According to an Oct. 2018 report from USA Today, the NHL still considers marijuana a drug of abuse and “the NHL tests for cannabis but doesn’t apply penalties for positive results. When a significant amount is detected, players are referred to a behavioral health program, rather than suspended or fined.” There is no specific CBD policy.

Glenn Healy, executive director of the NHL Alumni Association, told USA Today he hopes CBD can replace opioids for pain management.

NFL: No specific CBD policy or language, per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, but the NFL disciplines any player with more than 35 ng/ml of Delta 9-THC-carboxylic acid that shows up on a drug test by first putting them through a three-stage drug treatment program. Any violations made are subject to fines or suspensions based on whether the violation was committed in Stage Two or Stage Three and if a violation or violations were previously committed within those two stages.


NBA: Per the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, marijuana is a banned substance. Upon first offense, the player must enter the league’s marijuana program. Upon second offense, the player is fined $25,000. Upon third offense, the player is suspended five games. Any other offenses, the player is suspended for five games longer than their previous suspension. CBD is banned under the language reading “Marijuana and its By-Products” in the list of prohibited substances.

WNBA: Marijuana and its byproducts are listed as prohibited substances in the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The WNBA has a specific marijuana program in the anti-drug section of the CBA.

MLS: According to the league’s CBA, if a substance is banned by the US Anti-Doping Agency or FIFA, it is banned by the league. Cannabinoids are banned by FIFA, and CBD is a cannabinoid.