AS one door closes, another one swings open. That is the philosophy being adopted by Adam Ashe as he contemplates life after Glasgow Warriors. The 27-year-old back-rower’s departure from the club was announced last week, and he makes no bones about his disappointment at being deemed surplus to requirements by new head coach Danny Wilson despite having another year to run on the contract he signed in February 2019, but insists that he is not bitter and is determined to focus his energy instead on embracing the opportunities created by his new found freedom.
“I’m sad to be going, I’ve had a lengthy time at the club and it is all I have really known since leaving school – I’ve never done anything else – but I am very excited about what’s to come in the future,” he says. “By no means am I hanging up my boots. My intention is to continue playing professional rugby and I’m really looking forward to what is coming next.
“I’ve been a one club man so there is a refreshing aspect to this. The way the market is at the moment, it is difficult to pick things up, but I’m confident that I’ll find something.
“I’m in talks with a few other clubs. It will probably be overseas. There is some decent interest but nothing has been confirmed. I’m keen to ensure that it aligns with all the other stuff that I’ve got going on off the field.
“It is not an ideal situation but the club has responded in a way I think is reasonable. For me to speak badly about them … I don’t think I can. They have looked after me over the last six years. There has been a lot of highs and lows with injuries, and I’ve played under a few coaches and they have been really good to me.
“I can fully accept it. The thing I liked about Danny is that he was honest and he told me what the situation was. We had a man-to-man conversation about it and that was fine. I told him I had no hard feelings. There was no drama there at all.”
One of the benefits of no longer being on Glasgow’s books is that he is now free to promote the business he set up with former clubmate Grayson Hart two years ago supplying CBD [cannabidiol] oil to fellow athletes to help them cope with the stresses and strains of high level sport.
“One of the frustrating things about playing at Glasgow the last couple of years is that I’ve had this business venture on the side which I feel very passionate about but I’ve not been able to speak about it based on a blanket ban put on players endorsing certain things,” he explains.
“The business is Pure Sports CBD which offers products for athletes that are different from other brands. A lot of research and studies show that CBD can have a lot of benefits for athletes with things like anxiety, recovering from injury and helping with sleep.
Scottish Rugby’s reluctance to allow Ashe to promote CBD appears to centre around the fact that the compound is found in the hemp variety of cannabis plants, which contains very low amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis which gets users ‘high’. Crucially, however, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound so it does not appear to put the user at risk of addiction.
Ashe first became aware of the product when struggling with an ankle injury two years ago. He was still in considerable pain after two surgeries and decided to try out this miracle cure from America he’d seen NFL player and MMA fighters talking about.
“Within three or four days I started to see a big improvement in my ankle, which meant I could start using less anti-inflammatories and pain killers,” he explains. “But after a few weeks of me talking about it to my team-mates and the physios at Glasgow, I was told that I needed to be really careful because it can have a banned substances in it, so it was at that point that Grayson – who had been using it at the same time as me for arthritis in his knee – and I thought: what if we can make this product accessible to athletes with guaranteed purity?
“We went on a bit of a mission, contacting manufacturers all over the world to see if they could make this bespoke potion for people in sport. We eventually found someone who could make the product and guarantee that it was safe, and that’s when we launched the brand Pure Sport CBD.
“What we do, that other companies don’t do, is get our product tested for every single banned substance in sport. There is only a couple of companies in the world that can do testing to that degree, so we deal a company called The Banned Substances Control Group based in Los Angeles, and they certify all our products.`”
Now he is on a mission to get the word out about a product he clearly believes passionately in. He is adamant that wherever he ends up playing next, his business interests will not be pushed to the side, and a growing band of elite level athletes – including Finn Russell and Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb – have endorsed the company.
“When you are playing regularly every week, you’re in pain all the time, that’s just the way it is, and I think it can be easy to use drugs in a way that is not helpful,” he concludes
“There have been times in my career when I’ve used painkillers and anti-inflammatories a lot more than I would like to. To have a natural solution to that, like CBD, it’s about time the sporting world woke up. It is happening and people are beginning to realise that alternatives out there that are a lot better for us than these medications that can have side effects.”