In U.S. professional sports leagues, CBD has typically found itself on the banned substances list despite testimonials from many former professional athletes who cite the benefits of CBD for pain management and relief. However, the Premier Lacrosse League ("PLL") is changing things up. Haven't heard of the PLL, let alone watched a lacrosse game before? The PLL is looking to change that by finding innovative ways to expand the reach of the game dubbed as "one of the fastest growing sports in the world." In addition to differentiating itself from other lacrosse leagues by marketing the sport to attract a younger generation of fans and a more diverse fan base overall, the PLL is also setting itself apart from the pack by who it partners with.

Before the start of its sophomore season in late July 2020, the PLL announced that it had named Mendi as the Official CBD Partner for the PLL Championship Series. In connection to this partnership, the PLL and its medical team are featuring and incorporating innovative Mendi CBD products during the PLL Championship Series (check out a few examples here and here) and Mendi and the PLL are working together to create numerous inventive digital activations incorporating PLL stars and current Mendi ambassadors. (Fun fact: Mendi co-founder Rachael Rapinoe is the fraternal twin sister of Megan Rapinoe.)

As more leagues look for ways to make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19 and CBD becomes more culturally acceptable, perhaps we will see more leagues embrace CBD along with sponsorship opportunities for leagues and their current athletes. After three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski retired from the NFL in 2019 due to unbearable pain amassed from numerous football injuries and its toll on his mental health, he became a vocal ambassador for CBD products for pain management. Now that Gronk is set return to football and reunite with Tom Brady down in Tampa, one has to wonder whether he will continue to advocate for the NFL and other major sports leagues to reconsider their stance on CBD as a banned substance and follow the path being forged by the PLL. We'll be sure to keep you posted on the latest developments in this space.