UFC Champ Henry Cejudo Talks Cannabis, UFC, And Legalization & Stigma In Mexico

If you’ve never seen Henry Cejudo fight, don’t worry, you are not alone. After the blitzkrieg of blows Cejudo delivered in UFC 238, even other fighters like Marlon Moraes can hardly claim that they have. 

Depending on what sport you follow, Henry Cejudo has either been a household name for close to 15 years, or a relatively new addition to the elite tier of UFC fighters. In 2006, while still in high-school, Cejudo won the American Wrestling Federations National Freestyle Tournament at the most elite level. Within two years, Cejudo represented America in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games and brought home the gold, making him the youngest ever Mexican-American Freestyle Wrestling Olympic Champion.

Those great victories were not achieved without even more significant hardships. The son of two undocumented immigrants, Henry Cejudo, was one of seven children raised solely by his mother. His first time sleeping alone was when he was provided one by USA Wrestling during his Olympic training. To overcome such obstacles and claw one’s way into the elite tier of globally recognized fighters is awe-inspiring.

Frankly, Henry Cejudo’s origin story embodies the American Dream.

To try and imagine the day-to-day training of an elite fighter conjures images of Rocky montages, grueling workout regimes, and a one hundred percent commitment to the physical discipline they practice. For most people, cannabis is not (and could not) be a part of that routine.

High Times spoke to Henry Cejudo to shatter that idea.

CBD And UFC 

2019 has been a massive year for the advancement of CBD into the mainstream, and professional sports are no exception.

Less than a month ago, Aurora Cannabis and the UFC signed an exclusive, multi-million, multi-year, global partnership to advance clinical research on the relationship between 100% hemp-derived CBD products and athlete wellness and recovery. For fighters like Cejudo, there is no need to wait for the results to be in: they know CBD works for them.

“I’ve been taking this oil for the past four months, and it’s something that my body really needs, it craves it.” Cejudo told High Times. “You don’t go through a hard day of sparring and go take an Advil or pain killers – we go through what we go through and now it’s CBD.”

Cejudo’s belief in the healing power of CBD is concrete. The compound has not only improved his personal life, but also his financial standing. Announced in October of 2018, Cejudo partnered with High Falls Hemp, formerly known as High Falls Extracts, a “seed to soul” hemp-derived CBD oil producer. 

“It started off when I was injured, and a friend of mine told me to try some of this CBD oil. I was a little bit hesitant, but once you’re injured, once you’re hurt, and all these painkillers and rehab don’t work… I didn’t think it was for me, but I tried the cream on my neck and literally the next day my neck felt like normal.”

Surprisingly, the sponsorship originated at the behest of none other than Cejudo himself.

“I had added more of the CBD oil onto my neck, and I thought, “Hey, I gotta contact these people and see if they can potentially sponsor me because I believe in their product.” I can’t represent them if I don’t believe in the product, especially something controversial like CBD. I’m not just a sponsored athlete, I’m someone who has gone through the turmoil and found alternative medicine to heal myself. High Falls balms happen to be one of them.”

Reflecting On His Heritage 

Cejudo’s heritage and descent are closely intertwined with his beliefs about CBD’s healing power.

“I feel like cannabis is the alternative medicine that traditional people are still not accepting or embracing because of our background.”, said Cejudo, reflecting on its stigma in Mexico. 

To Cejudo, CBD is a “part of everyday life. I have to use the CBD oil and have it in my body. It’s not an addiction, I could let it go, but it’s more the comfort and how my body reacts to it. It’s amazing, I’ve had so much trouble sleeping – you could say insomnia – until I started taking CBD.

“I think now it’s finally catching up. These alternative medicines that they used to use back in the time of the Mayans, the Aztecs, and other cultures, is coming back now. It’s gone from a bad stigma to being allowed at the Olympics,” said Cejudo. “I remember watching this documentary on CNN about a 12-year old girl who had seizures every half hour, and they couldn’t find any medicines that could heal her. Then they tried CBD, and it was the only thing that calmed her down – her life is basically normal now.”

But while CBD is still stigmatized in Mexico, Cejudo remains optimistic towards the future. After all, who gets to be the arbiter of what parts of nature are allowed and which aren’t? 

“The way I see it, everything that is involved with the plant/flower is like tea. You see people in Europe drinking tea casually, it’s a plant, and you can smoke it or make it into tea – so rolling for some might be just making some tea – you can take it any way you like, and it makes you feel better.”

Legalization In Mexico 

Towards the end of our conversation, Cejudo reflected on what legalization of cannabis in Mexico would mean to him. 

“I would congratulate Mexico. What they should really outlaw is alcohol – alcohol causes addiction. You never hear people say: “I’m addicted to cannabis, I’m addicted to CBD.” The traditional stuff really has to stop a bit. People have to be educated and give it a chance.”

Comparing the risks of CBD versus traditional painkillers is a no-brainer for Cejudo. Almost any person undergoing pain, stress, or mental unwellness could see a dramatic improvement in their day to day lives. In a country riddled with violence, drugs, and damage, Cejudo espoused expanding CBD to the veterans who had protected his country. 

 “This is what soldiers should be taking after coming home from war. CBD is a plant-based medicine – God created it for a reason.”

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