When the 2018 Farm Bill formally legalized CBD, there was a rush of athletes who were ready to speak out about their experience of its benefits. But while many have been willing to lend their faces and names to already existing brands, a few have gone out on their own.
Pro soccer players Rachael and Megan Rapinoe fall into the latter category. Mendi CBD, of which Rachael is CEO, launched in the fall of 2019 with a line of CBD products designed to help primarily with sleep, pain, and inflammation. Soon after the company’s launch, Megan quickly signed on as an ambassador for the brand.
In Rachael’s words, Mendi is, first and foremost, “a sports brand that is using cannabis as a healthier alternative to manage pain and recovery for elite and everyday athletes.”
As such, part of Mendi’s original mission has been to provide reliable CBD products for athletes that may need to be tested for drugs. Because THC continues to sit on the World Anti- Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list of drugs, Mendi’s first “Base Line” of products consisted of THC-free, isolate based CBD products. (WADA began allowing athletes to use CBD in 2018.)
Providing tested, THC-free CBD products ‘”makes a lot of sense for an athlete-focused brand. It gives professional athletes peace of mind, knowing that they won’t be taking trace amounts of THC that could cause them to inadvertently fail a drug test.”
So the newly introduced full spectrum line (called their “Core Line”) is a bit of a departure for the company. Because of this, they devote an entire page of their website to spelling out the differences between the two lines of product. They cover THC Testing Risk, WADA approval, IOC approval, and major pro leagues’ policies – as well as the plant components the products include.
According to brand ambassador Megan Rapinoe, ‘Mendi is just taking every step with intention. In the long term, I think that will pay off and have a greater impact. Ultimately, I wanted to partner with a brand that is showing to be more thoughtful and impactful than the rest.’
This level of detailed information is not the usual CBD website fare, as CBD companies generally leave it up to customers to determine what the rules are. No doubt athletes will appreciate the level of transparency that Mendi displays in outlining the risks that athletes take with their full spectrum products.
With that being said, bringing full spectrum products into play definitely broadens the type of athlete that Mendi is marketing towards. Any THC-containing product is going to be off-limits to most professional athletes. So this line is for the “everyday” athlete who doesn’t need to worry about drug testing.
(All Mendi products are third party tested, and while results aren’t displayed on the website, the company is forthcoming if you ask to see a COA via email.)
Type of CBD aside, the timing for an athletes-focused CBD line could hardly be better. Earlier this month, a new study published in Sports Medicine journal, found that CBD may exert a number of physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects of the substance which could benefit athletes.
This won’t be news for the many athletes that already use CBD to treat inflammation or anxiety, but it means that sports medicine specialists are getting caught up on the science behind CBD.
The authors of the study reviewed over 200 studies examining a wide range of possible targets for CBD therapy. While the authors of the study acknowledge that many studies are small or pre-clinical (not tested on humans), they also noted that CBD may be able to help with a whole slew of issues that athletes regularly deal with.
These conditions range from CBD’s potential to calm Sports Performance Anxiety to neuroprotection after a concussion and recovery from muscle injury (among several other mentioned benefits).
There is a clear need for more research on CBD and sports performance, but the long list of elite athletes already taking advantage of CBD’s benefits grows longer by the day. And Mendi has a pretty distinguished list of athletes on its webpages as well.
The most obvious faces are those of the company’s owners, Rachael and Megan Rapinoe. But the website also features the faces of other pro soccer (Merritt Mathias), basketball (Sue Bird), and lacrosse players (Trevor Baptiste and others) that speak for the brand.
But while those names and faces may attract the attention of athletes looking for a reputable CBD company, it will ultimately be the quality of the products that keeps customers coming back. To that end, adding a full spectrum line to the brand is a savvy business decision for a growing CBD company.