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“I came across an article in The Athletic recently about the silent epidemic creeping through the football industry: their players’ addiction to sleeping pills. The article focuses on this sport alone, but my own experience within professional rugby suggests the issue is more widespread than football.

Many of my friends and colleagues were reliant upon synthetic sleeping aids to give them any sort of rest from the physical brutality of training and game days. And I’ll admit that I’ve dabbled with them in the past. Poor sleep is actually one of the symptoms that caused me to look for natural alternatives, and began my journey into CBD.

I was playing at Glasgow Warriors. It was 2017. I was sore, tired, dealing with recurring injuries and feeling strung out. My wife Chelsea had been researching CBD and suggested I check it out. I did a bit of my own digging. I was hugely interested in the potential pain relief benefits that American athletes were speaking of with CBD use. At the time I was very reliant on painkillers to deal with a degenerative knee issue but, I became fascinated with CBD when I read the testimonies of people claiming it treated not just pain relief, but improved their sleep and helped them manage stress. I figured I’d nothing to lose by trying CBD.

I didn’t realise how much I had to gain. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound of the Cannabis plant. It was fully legal and had recently been removed from the WADA (world anti doping agency) banned substance list. Which meant I was safe to use CBD as a drug tested athlete as long as it was THC-free. And the results were life-changing. Life-changing enough to start my own CBD business.

Addiction to prescription sleeping pills is more widespread than football. It’s more widespread than organised sport. It’s symptomatic of our quick-fix mentality, that deals with problems once they arrive, rather than working towards longer term wellness.

I started Puresport because I want to share my journey with as many people as possible. I had experienced firsthand the toxic cycle of being dependant on painkillers; I had witnessed my close friends and team mates careers and lives go off the rails because of misuse of sleeping pills and painkillers; and I wanted to try break that cycle not just for athletes but people from all walks of life.”

Written by Puresport Founder Grayson Hart