The Scotland stand-off is one of a growing number of sports stars to use cannabidiol products.
Russell predicts CBD will soon become commonplace and will reduce the use of painkillers among sportsmen and women. Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew is another recent convert to CBD.
While cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, the product does not contain the banned THC, which is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives a high sensation.
As long as the illegal cannabinoids are removed, CBD products are legal in the UK and categorised as a food supplement, with CBD products having been approved for use by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) since 1 January, 2018.
Russell suffered a groin/adductor injury playing for Scotland in the rescheduled Six Nations match against Wales in Llanelli on October 31.
It was thought that the Racing 92 fly-half might need an operation to repair the damage but surgery would have ruled the player out for at least three months – leaving him touch and go for the Six Nations, which begins this Saturday.
Russell was introduced to the natural remedy by his former Glasgow Warriors teammates Adam Ashe and Grayson Hart, co-founders of the company Pure Sport CBD.
“Surgery was an option but that would have seen me out for three months and being able to play in the Six Nations would have been doubtful,” said Russell. “CBD undoubtedly played a major role in my recovery, so it’s been important, particularly as it’s a Lions year.
“Rugby in France is so much more physical, and every game is massive. I’m one of the smaller guys so I need every bit of help I can get - especially because I’ve always tried to avoid painkillers. I always use it after games and it really helps me get through the big days of training at the start of the week.
“I’ve been giving it to a few of the boys at Racing and it’s been transformational for them. More and more players are turning to it every day because they see the damage overuse of painkillers can cause. It’s realistic that every player in the world could be using it within a few years. Just look at protein, there was a time when nobody was using it but now everyone has a bag in their locker – it’s part of rugby’s culture.
“I was always quite bad for staying up late, but sleep’s so important for recovery and mental clarity. Since I’ve started using CBD, I’ve been able to fall asleep much more easily and I’m in a far better routine. I also feel a lot less pain after a tough game or session and my joints don’t feel as sore. I think it will definitely help prolong my career.”