Can CBD enhance sports nutrition products? The world’s largest cannabis company is betting on it

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Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis company, nestled away in tiny Smiths Falls, Ontario, just bought a 72% stake (value undisclosed) in BioSteel Sports Nutrition, a Toronto-based company that produces nutrition products – notably #DrinkThePink, “what Gatorade or Powerade claims to be”- for professional athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

Canopy has an eye for talent: #TEAMBIOSTEEL has a combined following of over 10 million followers between Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and a stable of A-list athlete-endorsers including Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, pro golfer Brooke Henderson, tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Canopy’s plan to penetrate world markets will work if Biotsteel’s co-CEO John Celenza’s had it right when he told Bloomberg News this week, “We really believe [CBD] is going to be the next big trend in sports just like we were there with the sugar-free sports drink.”

Celenza’s prediction has something going for it: it’s grounded in the real-world experience of company co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cammalleri, a 17-year NHL star who retired a year ago at age 37 with severe back pain. Mike’s teammates recommended cannabis as a pain reliever and it worked – but, as he told the Globe and Mail, he wished he had found it sooner:

“My only regret is I didn’t find cannabis earlier in my career …  It was so effective for me … The genesis of the company was exactly that, was me playing and wanting to consume products that were something I could trust.”

And Cammalleri says his experience with CBD mirrors that of many other professional athletes:

The use and acceptance of CBD-based products in the professional sports landscape has changed. We have witnessed the negative effects of prescription painkillers and athletes are looking for healthier alternatives. Its presence is already commonplace amongst NHL players and as a regular CBD user myself, I couldn’t be more proud to champion BioSteel’s evolution and leadership in this space.

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