Ben Franks is calling for cannabis to be legalised in New Zealand, as he launches a range of oils and balms made from one of the drug’s ingredients overseas.
The former All Black has partnered with English rugby player James Haskell and cannabis biotech company CiiTECH to launch Impact Sports, a UK-based brand which uses cannabidiol (CBD) – an ingredient found in most varieties of cannabis – for its line of products geared towards athletes and helping with workout recovery.
With more and more athletes realising the potential benefits of CBD, Franks and his collaborators decided to take on the responsibility of providing “safe and effective” products free of banned substances.
Franks, who has used CBD oil almost every day since suffering a concussion during a game three years ago, believed legalising cannabis in New Zealand was the only way of getting past the country’s “lack of clarity and movement around the regulatory complexities concerning medical cannabis and CBD products”.
“It will take generations for the medical community to gather enough data for doctors to prescribe the compounds. Until then, we must find a pathway to allow maximum consumer access to the plant,” he said.
“We believe non-psychoactive cannabinoids should be sold safely as food supplements and cosmetics, while products containing THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] should be regulated within the same framework as alcohol or tobacco.”
Kiwis will get an opportunity to vote yes or no to legalising cannabis in a referendum at the 2020 General Election.
Franks first used CDB oil on recommendation from a friend who worked in sports performance. But it was only after talking to “as many people as I could” including American football player Kyle Turley, that he decided to try it.
“I wouldn’t say CBD was the reason I had a fast recovery from my concussion, but it has had a big effect on my sleep,” he said.
“As a food supplement, these products are marketed without medical claims or advice.
“There has, however, been abundant research into the benefits of CBD both in Israel and overseas. Significantly, in the USA many footballers have come to trust medical cannabis to help with head injuries, sleep, and general sports recovery.”
Franks said he got involved with CiiTECH last year, after reaching out to them about the “significantly improved results” he got from using one of their CBD products compared to others on the market.
“We discussed the scientific methodology and commitment to research. This interest and synergy led to further discussions, cooperation, and eventually a partnership.”
Franks said Impact Sports’ CBD oils and balms were batch-tested to make sure THC was at a below-detectable level and heavy metals and pesticides were absent.
“Our next-generation product, hitting the shelves before the end of the year, will be guaranteed THC-free and produced under the most stringent pharmaceutical GMP certification requirements.”