BIG3 first U.S. professional sports league to allow cannabidiol (CBD) use for 'pain management and recovery'

BIG3 is leading the charge on marijuana-based medicine in sports.

The professional three-on-three basketball league announced Wedneday it is allowing cannabidiol — or CBD — for the 2018 season, which began last week in Houston. BIG3 now becomes the first professional sports league in the U.S. to permit CBD use.

“The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners not property,” BIG3 Co-Founder & Co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz said in a release. “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.”

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana and has been medically proven to improve pain, limit muscle tightness and hinder psychotic symptoms like anxiety. In the release, the league said it is allowing “access to CBD for use in pain management and recovery.”

CBD was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list earlier this year. More than half of the states in America allow medical marijuana — which is separate from CBD — and several states, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, have legalized weed for recreational use.

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Marijuana legalization laws by state
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Marijuana legalization laws by state

Alabama: Medical use only, otherwise possession is a felony

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska: Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona: Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Mikel Ortega via Getty Images)

Arkansas: Medical use only

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California: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Colorado: Legal for medical and recreational use  

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Connecticut: Decriminalized and legalized for medical use 

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Delaware: Decriminalized

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Florida: Medical use only

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Georgia: Medical use only

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Hawaii: Medical use only

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Idaho: Not legal

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Illinois: Decriminalized

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana: Not legal

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Iowa: Medical use only

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Kansas: Not legal

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Kentucky: Not legal

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana: Medical use only

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Maine: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Maryland: Decriminalized

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Massachusetts: Legal

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Michigan: Medical use only

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Minnesota: Decriminalized

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Mississippi: Decriminalized on first offense

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Missouri: Not legal

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Montana: Medical use only

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Nebraska: Decriminalized on first offense only

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Nevada: Legal

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New Hampshire: Medical use only

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New Jersey: Medical use only

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New Mexico: Medical use only

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New York: Decriminalized unless in public view

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

North Carolina: Decriminalized

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North Dakota: Medical use only

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Ohio: Decriminalized

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Oklahoma: Medical use only

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Oregon: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Pennsylvania: Medical use only

(Photo: Henryk Sadura via Getty Images)

Rhode Island: Decriminalized

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South Carolina: Not legal

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South Dakota: Not legal

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Tennessee: Medical use only

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Texas: Medical use only, decriminalized in Houston and Dallas

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Utah: Not legal 

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Vermont: Decriminalized

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Virginia: Not legal

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Washington: Legal for medical and recreational use

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West Virginia: Medical use only

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Wisconsin: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wyoming: Not legal 

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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In recent years, former and current NFL players have called for the legalization of marijuana in their league. NFL players have abused pain-relieving opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs like Toradol for decades, and many believe CBD, which isn’t addictive, would offer a healthier, less-damaging alternative for the dealing with the pain inherent to the sport.

Former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall uses CBD daily to cope with symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the degenerative brain disease linked with repeated trauma to the head. Marshall shared his story with the Daily News in 2016 as part of a three-part series on weed and sports.

"My quality of life has improved because of this,” Marshall said, referring to his CBD use.

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