Shannon Briggs leads the charge: CBD in combat sports

Shannon Briggs as Luke Cage/Power Man. Art by Coyote Duran


Dare I say, not since the great Muhammad Ali chanted the words “I am the greatest!” has a phrase caught on like the mantra of two-time heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs’ “Let’s Go, Champ!” It started out as a quiet whisper the then-300-plus-pound Briggs would say to himself, as he simply tried to get off the couch, when he was suffering from a number of physical pains from years in the sport of boxing. However, other serious issues resulted from a deep depression.


Despite the heights Briggs soared in his career, including winning the WBO heavyweight title from Sergey Liakhovich, in November of 2006, with only one second remaining on the clock, there were some very dark lows as well. It was safe to say the Sweet Science had left a bittersweet taste in his mouth. One such low came when Briggs was left behind in a German hospital bed, after tearing his bicep in a brutal battle with then-heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, by those he trusted most to guide his career. It was rumored that Briggs received what amounted to pennies on the dollar for one of the most watched boxing matches in German history.


In the aftermath of all that took place, in the extreme highs of the build-up and then the deepest of lows in the post-fight let-down, that Briggs sat on that couch for one year straight, holding his newborn daughter, at times, contemplating suicide. But then the saying was born: Let’s Go, Champ! And just how he rose from that canvas many times throughout his career, he rose from that couch and took one little step toward a boxing comeback but one big step in confronting his personal demons.


In all my years, in and around boxing, I worked against Shannon on a few occasions, like the night he and Frans Botha went to war, in 1999, in what I think is one of the most underrated heavyweight rumbles in recent history. And having known Briggs since 1992, and working on many non-boxing-related deals over the years, one thing I learned early on, no matter how many times Shannon may go down, he gets back up and comes out swinging even harder.


After launching one of the greatest self-promoted comebacks in boxing history, led by the Let’s Go, Champ! charge, Briggs let his legions of fans down (as well as himself), when he tested positive for increased levels of testosterone before a WBA heavyweight title fight. Never one to run from reality, Briggs stepped up during his suspension and addressed some deep personal issues, that many are not brave enough to do, that lead so many people to self-medicate and spiral into an even darker place. Briggs admitted his one wrong choice of substance that led to the suspension but praised his one medicine and all it had done to help him deal with the much deeper issues.


The medicine I am speaking of is CBD (cannabidol). I do, however, want to point out the difference between THC (tetrohydrocannabinol) and CBD. One of the key differences is whether or not a cannabinoid causes a “high” when used. THC is the cannabinoid that gives someone a “high” when using marijuana, while CBD, on the other hand, has no euphoric feeling associated with it whatsoever. Briggs took to his Instagram account and began letting the world know (and if you doubt when I say “world,” look at his Instagram feed. It is loaded with comments from the furthest corners of the globe!) about the benefits he was experiencing from using CBD. It helped him deal with aches, pains, depression and much more.


Briggs got back in the gym recently and just as talks with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury heated up, they started to stall in recent weeks. This time rather than wait around and see what the Fury decided to do, Briggs put the gloves down, laced up his Timberlands and headed off to Colorado to make a partnership with some of the biggest players in the CBD/medical marijuana industry, where he is making moves at which even Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s accountants would raise an eyebrow. But rather than investing in strip clubs and alcohol companies, Briggs is investing in something he believes can help better people’s lives and bring about positive change, in the overall long-term well-being of athletes in the sport that takes so much from its fighters and, often times, leaves them with so little. Briggs and his partners are buying hemp farms, giving jobs to so many Americans, who are just looking to provide for their families, reinvesting in local economies and – if you pay close enough attention – providing a real blueprint to smart investing for today’s athletes.


This is where we might want to bring in the mantra “Let’s Go, Hemp!” Both CBD and THC are found in both marijuana plants and hemp plants. But CBD is present in higher quantities of hemp, where THC is found in higher levels in marijuana. In basic terms, THC is dominant in the chemical breakdown of marijuana plants. On the flipside, CBD is more dominant in the chemical breakdown of hemp plants. Hemp is where Briggs is focusing his energies, at the present time. Now thanks to science and new technology, Briggs found those who are specializing in extracting the CBD in hemp plants, where they are producing CBD isolated in a crystalline form, isolating crystals (a fine white powder that only contains the cannabidol chemical compound) that are the purest and most powerful punch of CBD possibly to hit the market. They are going to put it into various products in which athletes will discover the amazing healing properties of CBD without the “high” associated with THC.


It is no secret that athletes have been using marijuana for decades, some no doubt recreational to get high but it is time that we can no longer ignore that many have been calling it medicine, as an alternative to high-powered and highly-addictive opiates and painkillers that have often lead some of our favorite athletes down some dark and dangerous roads that left many addicted, broken, incarcerated and, in some cases, dead.


And while THC is considered a banned substance in just about every professional and amateur sports organization, CBD got the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its many healing properties. And now, in 2018, WADA has removed CBD from its list of banned substances, thus allowing athletes tested by WADA to use CBD without fear.


There is no denying the physical abuse that many professional athletes must endure during the courses of their careers, some more well documented than others. And while Shannon Briggs has been bold enough to tell the world about his battles with his own demons, sadly, many cases of the pain and suffering of so many other athletes go un-reported or un-noticed. But does that mean some minor leaguer whose dreams of making it to the big leagues fell short, due to chronic knee pain, was not a worthy candidate to get a healthy alternative for pain management rather than oxycodin and cortezone shots? Enter ChampRxCBD.


And enter Shannon Briggs. Briggs has been busy on Instagram, posting videos of his travels to Colorado, where is he in full swing to bring the amazing power of CBD to the people – no matter if you are an athlete or not and regardless of your income bracket, through some very creative product lines being discussed among he and his team. (Full disclosure: I am rolling – no pun intended – with Briggs on this one!)


Having spent a number of years working with top-level professional and amateur athletes, as well as several years in the health and fitness industry, I can tell you firsthand that so many of the popular sports nutrition products on the market fail to live up to the hype. After trying hundreds of supplements over the years and dealing with doctors for pain management, I am willing to go on the record and call CBD the miracle supplement that can work for anyone from any walk of life, not just athletes.


I, for one, am very excited to see what Briggs and his team are bringing to the game. I am even more than happy to see my longtime friend leading the charge and using his platform to educate and keep a positive message to millions of people around the world that there is a healthy alternative to deal with pain management, anxiety, stress, depression and many other troubling illnesses that people are often too embarrassed to ask for help when they need it most. So before you accept that script for Xanax, Norco or sticking that needle in your aching back, check out Briggs’ Instagram or simply Google “CBD benefits.”


It just might change your life.




You can follow Mr. John Lepak on Twitter @Lightning_JL and on Instagram @lightning_lepak.





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