High school football star C.J. Harris was all set to play for his first choice university in the fall. But this week, university officials told him that the NCAA doesn’t allow players to use CBD oil. Now, the non-psychoactive medicine that keeps Harris from experiencing debilitating seizures is the one thing standing between him and his football dream.
He Had a Shot to Play Division I College Football
C.J. Harris of Warner Robins, Georgia was so close to reaching his goal of playing Division I college football. This past season, Harris was a key player in getting his high school team, the Warner Robins Demons, to the state championships. Auburn University then gave him a walk-on offer to play for their an NCAA Division I team.
Harris recounted the moment he learned about the offer to local media. He said, “When I read the text that one of the coaches sent me, I just, I broke down. Because this is my dream, and I saw everything lining up perfectly for me.”
All was going well until C.J.’s father, Curtis Harris, received a letter from Auburn. It said that his son couldn’t play college football in the NCAA as long as he was taking CBD. “You’re taking something away from a kid who’s worked so hard in his life to get there,” Curtis explained.
The NCAA has unflinching rules about cannabinoids. No athlete can test positive for THC under any circumstance. Though Harris’ medication is only 0.3 percent THC—it’s so minute that he doesn’t feel the psychoactive ‘high’ associated with the cannabinoid.
But this is enough to fail the league’s mandatory drug test.
Harris Uses CBD Oil to Treat Seizures
A few months ago, local media reported that Harris’ seizures used to get in the way of his playing. C.J. experienced more than a dozen seizures during his sophomore year of high school. The medication doctors prescribed him for his epilepsy wasn’t working.
Luckily, the football star found CBD oil. Though there is a small amount of THC in the product Harris uses, CBD is the main ingredient. Back in February, he told a local news channel, “I started using it January of last year and I never had a seizure since.”
CBD is an effective and increasingly common treatment for seizures. New research conducted at the NYU Epilepsy Center found that CBD, especially in higher doses, proved that CBD is a powerful anti-seizure medication. A cannabidiol-based medication named Epidiolex is currently in the FDA approval process.
The Future Is Uncertain For C.J. Harris
Since the NCAA is a national organization subject to federal laws on THC, it’s unlikely that they’ll change their drug policy anytime soon.
In the meantime, C.J. is weighing his options. He could either play on a college team that doesn’t have the same testing standards or try a different medication for his seizures. But so far, nothing besides CBD has helped.