Just in time for the stress of the World Series, Major League Baseball has sanctioned a Colorado company as its official CBD brand.
MLB announced the multi-year partnership last week with Denver-based Charlotte’s Web, which will supply CBD to professional players through December 2025. The announcement coincides with the launch of a new line of products, called SPORT – Daily Edge, designed specifically to help athletes recover from the impact of playing sports. The packaging features the MLB logo.
“We know that physical demands and strain on their body is no old time problem. MLB players play 162 games a year, they have sleepless nights away from home in new time zones and we also know mental wellness is an entire worldwide crisis,” said Jared Stanley, co-founder and COO of Charlotte’s Web.
“For (MLB) to make a shift and recommend a natural product, we believe is not just a monumental and historical milestone for CW and the CBD industry, but for all professional sports,” he added.
“We paid close attention to the CBD category as it has grown in popularity and adoption, and Charlotte’s Web has been a clear leader in the industry,” said Noah Garden, chief revenue officer for Major League Baseball, in a statement provided to The Denver Post.
For nearly a decade, manufacturers and advocates have touted cannabidiol, or CBD for short, for its therapeutic benefits and marketed it as an aid for anxiety, insomnia, and joint and muscle pain, among other ailments. The cannabinoid has since become a wellness phenomena, accounting for an estimated $4.7 billion in sales in 2021, according to data firm Brightfield Group.
Today, buyers can find CBD not only in tinctures and capsules, but also sparkling water, cocktails and pet supplements.
Charlotte’s Web and Charlotte Figi, the late Colorado Springs girl for whom the company is named, indisputably helped make CBD a household name.
From the time Figi was an infant, she suffered from frequent and severe seizures because of Dravet syndrome, a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic disease that causes unrelenting epilepsy in children and adults. At age 5, Figi’s mother, Paige, gave Charlotte CBD, which is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, and the girl’s condition changed overnight.
The family’s journey was famously chronicled in a 2013 CNN documentary, thrusting CBD, a relatively unknown cannabinoid, into a national spotlight. Charlotte Figi died in April 2020 after contracting what her family suspects was COVID-19.
Major League Baseball’s stance on cannabis is more progressive than most. In 2019, it removed marijuana from its list of banned substances, meaning players are no longer punished for testing positive for “natural cannabinoids” such as CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound that gets consumers high. (Synthetic THC from substances like K-2 is still prohibited.)
This year marks the first time the league began soliciting sponsorships from CBD companies.
“We did extensive research in the category to understand CBD’s health and wellness benefits. Still, we wanted to partner with a company that was best in class and only allow a partnership that promoted products that were NSF Certified For Sport to ensure the highest quality and safety standards,” Garden said.
The new Daily Edge line debuted Oct. 12 with a tincture featuring hemp-derived CBD extract, and will expand to include gummies, topicals and oral sprays soon, Stanley said. The formula contains a fraction of the standard 0.3% THC, he added, which is one reason the line obtained approval from NSF Certified for Sport, a third-party certification program that evaluates dietary supplements for compliance with banned substance rules and restrictions.
“Our experts in the Office of the Commissioner will continue to monitor the latest developments in health and wellness, as they have for decades, to provide the utmost professional guidance to all our constituents in MLB – from teams, to players to office personnel,” said Garden.
As part of the deal, Charlotte’s Web will receive premiere sponsor treatment, with brand visibility at events such as the World Series and MLB All-Star Week. In exchange, MLB will receive an ownership stake in Charlotte’s Web – a reported 6,119,121 common shares, or 4% of outstanding common shares – plus a portion of revenues and fees from the co-branded Daily Edge products.
Stanley hopes other sports leagues will join the movement and that the company will be able to partner with them in the future.
“When you see the Charlotte’s Web brand up against Delta and FedEx, you start to see this is real,” Stanley said. “For sports to move to natural wellness and make that shift, this is a massive moment.”
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