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MLB's deal with CBD company Charlotte's Web is a 'game changer': CEO

This week, Major League Baseball (MLB) became the first of the four major U.S. sports leagues to sign a CBD sponsor. The league is teaming up with Colorado CBD company Charlotte’s Web for a multi-year deal that includes a line of MLB-branded products.

According to MLB, the deal will provide “increased CBD visibility to their professional athletes, millions of fans and communities.”

Charlotte’s Web CEO Jacques Tortoroli joined finance to discuss the partnership, misconception about cannabidiol (CBD), and how the deal is truly a “game changer.”

“MLB'S decision reflects what fans want today by bringing botanical wellness options to support everyday lives around mental wellness, particularly staying calm under pressure, recovery after exercise, maintaining a focus when it counts and sleeping. These are players that are on the road 81 games in a season, seven months a year and we really believe that having balance between the mental and physical health is super important,” Tortoroli told Yahoo Finance Live.

Charlotte’s Web is the official CBD of Major League Baseball
Charlotte’s Web is the official CBD of Major League Baseball
Charlotte’s Web is the official CBD of Major League Baseball
Charlotte’s Web is the official CBD of Major League Baseball

“I think it’s a game changer for us, and particularly given 180 million fans, all of their social platforms that we now have access to a microphone and the microphone’s going to be used for education, telling consumers, telling athletes and trainers, what CBD is and what it isn’t, it isn’t marijuana, its hemp.”

Charlotte’s Web is named after Charlotte Figi, a girl who suffered from Dravet syndrome and took CBD to prevent seizures. “It really gave her life back and her family’s life back,” Tortoroli said. Figi died when she was 13 but inspired the name of the medical cannabis strain called Charlotte's Web.

Tortoroli thinks the other major sports leagues will all eventually “get there.” While no other major U.S. sports league has a CBD deal, there have been changes in the sports world regarding cannabis.The NFL no longer suspends players for positive marijuana tests and is helping to study the impact of cannabis on pain management. The NBA ceased testing for cannabis in 2020. And though the NHL tests for cannabis, it has no penalty for using it.

CBD partnerships could also grow within MLB. Tortoroli said individual baseball teams could follow in the league’s basepaths as could individual players. “I strongly believe that influencers are not just paid spokespeople, it will be with someone who’s credible, authentic and uses the products.”

Dave Briggs is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow him on Twitter at @davebriggstv.

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