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Bellator MMA inks exclusive deal with cannabis company cbdMD, Inc.

Bellator MMA now has an official cannabidiol (CBD) sponsor.’s Nick Baldwin speaks with UFC middleweight Elias Theodorou at UFC GYM Mississauga about his upcoming bout against Eryk Anders at UFC 231 on Dec. 8 in Toronto, fighting in his hometown for the first time as a UFC fighter, his advocacy for therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for medical cannabis, and much more.

Last week Bellator MMA announced a multi-year exclusive partnership with cbdMD, Inc., a company that produces cannabis based products. According to a press release cbdMD is now the “official CBD partner of Bellator MMA” and that the arrangement means cbdMD, “will receive a depth of integrated partnership assets, including category exclusive branding inside the Bellator cage, to promote cbdMD.”

Bloomberg reported that cbdMD, Inc. makes topicals, tinctures, and other CBD-based consumer products. CBD refers to cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Many companies claim that CBD can be effective for pain management, decreasing inflammation and aiding in exercise recovery.

CBD derived from hemp – a strain of cannabis sativa plant species – was legalized in the U.S. and Canada last year.

In a statement Bellator President Scott Coker said, “I am pleased to welcome cbdMD to the Bellator family. As the sport of MMA continues to evolve, teaming up with innovative partners is equally important, and they are leading the way in a rapidly growing industry.”

President of cbdMD Caryn Dunayer also released a statement, saying, “We’re excited to have our company represented in the cage alongside some of the fiercest competitors on the planet. Our partnership with Bellator and Viacom/Paramount will facilitate a unique opportunity to educate athletes and fans about the many benefits of CBD. We believe we’ve started a lasting relationship that will help push both industries into the future.”

Bellator’s partnership with cbdMD follows the UFC’s announcement that they had partnered with Aurora Cannabis Inc. to conduct research into CBD’s medicinal properties. Recently, it was also announced that UFC heavyweight Alexey Oleynik had signed a deal to represent ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, the largest exchange-traded fund in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry. Prior to becoming the official CBD sponsor of Bellator, cbdMD sponsored portions of Bellator’s product. The company also sponsored Chael Sonnen for his bout against Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222.

CBD’s medicinal properties remain somewhat controversial, due to a lack of scientific research into some of the claims touted by companies who sell CBD products. One of the major reasons behind that lack of evidence is that the compound had been listed as a controlled substance, which meant it could be considered illegal distribution of a narcotic if a doctor were to dispense CBD or something similar during a clinical trial.

For Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Blog Dr. Peter Grinspoon wrote that there is some evidence that CBD has important properties for the medical field. He reported that CBD has been shown effective in treatments that prevent seizures in a number of childhood epilepsy syndromes. Grinspoon also reported that CBD is also an effective treatment for insomnia and chronic pain and inflammation.

There are a number of studies seeking to analyze CBD’s effectiveness in treating athletes, especially those who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries (also known as concussion). Earlier this year it was announced that Real-Time Diagnostics Ventures, Inc. was conducting a study to test CBD’s effects on 40 subjects who were recovering from brain injuries. Around this time it was also announced that 100 former NHL players would take part in a CBD study to see if it helped them with symptoms associated with past concussions.