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You can't turn on your TV or computer without finding a new professional athlete extolling the benefits of CBD these days. It's a flashing sign of just how big this industry will become.
In fact, the National Institute for Cannabis Investors (NICI) predicts the CBD market will be worth roughly $20 billion by 2024.
"CBD" is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. It's derived from hemp, but it doesn't have the psychoactive effects of marijuana that make users "high."
However, it does have multiple medical benefits. It's known for reducing pain, lowering blood pressure, helping anxiety and depression, and even reducing inflammation.
No wonder so many professional athletes are turning to CBD to alleviate the physical (and mental) symptoms of performing at the world's highest levels.
In fact, the sports recovery market is growing too. It's expected to hit $9.1 billion by 2024. That's a 38% jump from 2019, according to MarketsandMarkets.
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So the top CBD stocks - and the athletes who endorse their products - are actually at the convergence of two massive growth trends.
Here are the 10 professional athletes I'm keeping the closest eye on in 2020.
CBD Stocks Could Soar Thanks to These 10 Athletes
No. 10 - Professional Surfer Nathan Florence
Professional big-wave surfer Nathan Florence has teamed up with cbdMD Inc. (NYSE: YCBD) to promote the company's line of CBD products.
Florence is a proponent of CBD for its sleep benefits. Despite his active schedule, Florence still has trouble getting a full night's sleep. CBD has reportedly helped Florence get the rest he needs to perform at the highest level.
No. 9 - Professional Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler
The 30-year-old professional skateboarder is another athlete who has joined up with cbdMD. Sheckler says he uses CBD daily to help him relax and recover from the various injuries he's sustained over his career.
For Sheckler, CBD is a much better alternative than taking painkillers.
No. 8 - Former Olympian Lolo Jones
Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones began using CBD once the World Anti-Doping Agency removed the product from its banned substance list in 2018.
"I have done a ton of research on this, and I have tried out different ones," Jones told Yahoo Finance, "because I'm a 37-year-old Olympian. I need all the help I can get. When I wake up in the morning, I feel like an 80-year-old sometimes. I've aged in dog years."
No. 7 - Professional Volleyball Player Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is one of the most recognizable U.S. Olympians of the past 20 years. Like Florence, Walsh Jennings also extols CBD for its help with sleep.
She announced a partnership with cbdMD in July 2019, along with Lolo Jones.
No. 6 - Professional Golfer Bubba Watson
In May 2019, professional golfer Bubba Watson began publicly endorsing cbdMD's products as well. He claims CBD has helped him prevent injuries while on the golf course.
"I see Phil Mickelson winning at 48, so I've got at least eight more years of having a shot of winning some tournaments," Watson told CNN. "So for me it was about how I create longevity in the game of golf and spending time with my kids running around. CBD was easily a fit for me."
No. 5 - Former MLB All-Star David Wells
David Wells is known for his 21-year career in Major League Baseball, as well as winning the World Series with two different teams.
Wells told The PostGame in 2016 that he had been on painkillers like Percocet about 75% to 80% of the time during the last eight years of his career. But with the help of CBD, Wells told reporters he completely ended his dependence on painkillers.
No. 4 - Former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce
In June 2019, former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce announced he was launching his own line of CBD products called The Truth CBD Remedies.
"I'm passionate about making sure athletes have support before, during, and after the main event," Pierce said in a press release.
In 2000, Pierce was the victim of a nightclub stabbing that threatened his life. The incident left him with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Pierce says the use of CBD has helped manage his symptoms.
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No. 3 - MMA Champion Nate Diaz
Mixed martial arts is one of the most physical - and most dangerous - sports in the world. That's part of the reason MMA champion Nate Diaz is a proponent of CBD products. He uses the product for help with inflammation and the healing process.
Diaz made waves in August 2019 when he openly smoked CBD during a press conference in the lead-up to his fight with Anthony Pettis.
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No. 2 - U.S. Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is one of the most outspoken athletes in the world. And now she's using her platform to spread the word about CBD.
Rapinoe told reporters in November that she's used CBD for a number of years, and it's become part of her daily routine. She uses CBD to aid in the recovery process and considers it a preferable option to prescription painkillers.
No. 1 - Former NFL All-Pro Rob Gronkowski
Former NFL All-Pro Rob Gronkowski is one of the biggest personalities in sports. Now, he's using his star power to advocate for CBD.
Gronkowski announced a partnership with CBDMedic in September 2019, shortly after his retirement from the NFL. Now, he uses CBD to help him recover from workouts, but he wishes he could have used it during his playing days. Unfortunately, CBD is still on the NFL's banned substance list.
"It would have been huge," Gronkowski told Slate last week. "I would have used it for my sore muscles, shots to the body, areas that are not feeling so good but you still gotta go play."
While Gronkowski suffered numerous injuries throughout his career, he now claims to be close to pain-free.
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