CBD and Surfing Are In Business Together; But Does the Stuff Actually Work?Posted by On

Examining CBD's Relationship to Professional Surfing, and Its Effectiveness

Professional surfers have certainly gotten on the CBD bandwagon. But does the stuff work? Photos: Unsplash

The Inertia

In 2019, the WSL welcomed its first CBD sponsor: CBDMD, and since then, professional surfers have been falling like dominoes for cannabidiol products. They’ve also been excitedly sharing how CBD tinctures, capsules and balms benefit everything from recovery, pain management and joint health to anxiety – and therefore, help improve their surfing. 

Yet, the WSL is also sponsored by Corona and Red Bull, and no one is telling you to drink two of those per day. 

Hemp-derived CBD has become a cash crop since 2018’s Farm Bill made it legal if the product contains less than three percent THC, and a recent Forbes Health survey reports that over 60 percent of Americans tried a CBD product last year. The CBD market was valued at $18 billion in 2022, and New York-based investment bank Cowen & Co. estimates that the market could earn $15 billion by 2025.

It makes sense that surfers are feeling the CBD vibe. Professional athletes are always on the lookout for holistic remedies that help them avoid pain meds and pharmaceuticals, and pro surfers, most of whom are woefully underpaid, are no strangers to endorsement deals. However, for the run-of-the-mill, unsponsored surfer, it can be difficult to differentiate “true” testimonials from over-the-top paid advertising. 

Selfishly, I wonder this: do we know…

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