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Paul Pierce says CBD helped him kick NyQuil addiction

Daniel Roberts

Another former pro athlete is jumping onto the CBD bandwagon.

Paul Pierce, the NBA champion and 10-time All-Star who retired in 2017, launched a line of cannabidiol-derived products on Tuesday with online seller Eaze Wellness branded with his nickname, “The Truth.” The line, aimed at athletes, includes his Vesper vaporizer.

Pierce joins fellow NBA alums Al Harrington, Cliff Robinson, and Lamar Odom in launching CBD products. MMA fighters Nate Diaz and Rampage Jackson have done the same.

Many people may feel puzzled by the CBD gold rush. Critics say the intended benefits of these products are still unclear and unproven.

But Odom says it saved his life. And Pierce says it helped him move past other addictions.

“Just being an athlete, you get addicted to pain medications,” Pierce says. “In my case, I was dealing with severe neck pain, because back in the early 2000s I was stabbed severely. I dealt with a lot of chronic pain in my neck and back. I was trying to find alternate remedies for this. And it got to the point where I was addicted to pain killers or NyQuil just to fall asleep, until I came across what CBD did for me.”

Former Boston Celtics Paul Pierce address the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number following an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Pierce says the public just needs more education on the uses and benefits of CBD products.

“I just think that people don’t have a clear understanding of what it is,” he says. “It’s not a psychoactive drug where it manipulates your mind, it’s an active healing agent. It’s something that you can use in sports and you don’t have to worry about failing a drug test, because it’s not a drug. It’s something that can replace pain killers. That’s something that I’ve searched for my entire career.”

PGA Tour golfer Bubba Watson, who signed an endorsement deal with publicly traded CBD brand CBDMD, has told Yahoo Finance the same: that the appeal of CBD for athletes is that it’s safe for drug-testing. “As an athlete who gets drug-tested,” he says, “I was looking for a safe brand.”

In April, PGA Tour sent a notice to golfers warning them that CBD products “have limited government regulation and may contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that is prohibited.” PGA Tour does not allow its golfers to use marijuana, but does allow CBD. And last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expressly removed CBD from its list of banned substances.

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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