The lucrative business of sports drinks appear to be headed in a whole new direction. (CBC)

Cannabis edibles head for the world of sports drinks


As of Thursday–a year to the day that the dried forms of the drug were declared legal--cannabis edibles followed suit.

It’s now time for Phase Two of this giant social experiment, the effects of which appear destined to make their way to the world of sports--both amateur and professional.

Cannabis-infused drinks: both the kind that might get you high (the ones containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) and the others (the ones containing cannabidiol, or CBD) that might go a long way to easing the pain that most serious athletes deal with constantly will soon be on shelves.

Gatorade, brace yourself for BioSteel’s signature pink hydration drink.

Toronto-based BioSteel’s CBD-infused product line will include drink mixes, protein powders and topical creams. (BioSteel )

“We’re going to take out the amino acids and add CBD,” says John Celenza, co-founder of Toronto-based BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc.

“CBD became something that NHL players and pro-athletes and a lot of people were turning to as a healthier alternative to the methods they were using previously,” says Mike Cammalleri, a former NHL player, who is Celenza’s partner.

In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its prohibited list but advised athletes “use extreme caution when using CBD products.”

Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League, all of them based in the U.S., prohibit their players from taking CBD, citing the risk of THC contamination in the products that could lead to a positive doping test.

John Celenza and former NHL player Mick Cammalleri are taking a flyer that they’ve found a better way to help athletes deal with pain and recovery. (Laura MacNaughton/CBC)

The National Hockey League doesn’t outright ban athletes from using CBD products but urges “caution when using” while the Canadian Football League has no ban on marijuana.

How this plays out for Celenza, Cammalleri and BioSteel as well as Canadian and U.S. athletes remains anybody’s guess.

For some perspective on some of the challenges, I spoke with Bruce Dowbiggin, the Calgary-based author, broadcaster and journalist, who runs the Not The Public Broadcaster website.

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