The Toronto Wolfpack is a team of firsts through and through. The Wolfpack is not only the first professional rugby team from Canada, but also the first North American team to compete in the Rugby League Football system. And soon they'll be able to claim another first.
The team is set to become the first professional sports team to launch their own line of cannabis products. The Wolfpack's new Rugby Strength cannabis-infused topicals will go on sale in the US and UK this July. The team also hopes to bring their products to the Canadian market once weed-infused topicals become legal for sale later this year.
The creams won't get you high because they only contain the non-intoxicating cannabis compound CBD, which has become a huge trend in the health and wellness market — especially among athletes who use CBD as a natural and safe way to treat sports-related pain. That's something rugby players know a lot about, said Wolfpack Chair David Argyle.
"Rugby is a gladiatorial sport," Argyle told VICE. "You have your fair share of bumps and bruises and for recovery and inflammatory pain management, CBD products are very, very effective."
The introduction of Rugby Strength creams comes as a savvy business move by a team that has been facing financial challenges. It's not that the Toronto Wolfpack isn't successful or popular—last year they won the division two Rugby League Championship and the team boasts 1,400 season ticket holders. But playing in a UK league as a Canadian team is expensive. Cost of overseas travel isn't cheap and the Wolfpack also pays for broadcasting their home games.
And while cannabis continues to be banned in many forms from most professional sports leagues, CBD use is legal in pro-rugby. The Rugby League follows the World Anti-Doping Authority guidelines which bars players from using THC, cannabis' main intoxicating compound, but allows athletes to use CBD.
The Rugby Strength line of cannabis products is a big step toward normalizing the use of CBD among athletes. Hopefully it will also help support one of Canada's most promising young sports teams at the same time.