CBD For Athletes & CBD Oil For Athlete Recovery
There are so many ailments that plague people every day, prompting them to seek treatment in an effort to minimize or eliminate pain or discomfort. And as more scientific research continues to be conducted on cannabidiol (CBD) and its potential health benefits, an increasing number of people are becoming more interested in what it can do for them.
Whether it’s to alleviate pain, relieve anxiety, calm inflammation, and even more serious conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis (MS) and others. CBD’s applications seem to be vast.
There are various sectors in which CBD can be applied from cosmetics to medicine, health and wellness and beyond. But one particular niche where CBD seems to be making a splash in the world of athletics.
An increasing number of athletes – both amateur and professional – are turning to CBD as a supplement to be incorporated into their regimen. But what exactly can CBD do for athletes? Why should athletes consider CBD?
Is CBD For Athletes Legal in the World of Sports?
Before we get into what CBD can do for athletes, it’s important to understand the legality surrounding CBD.
Considering the fact that many CBD products are derived from the cannabis plant, many may be curious as to whether or not it’s legal to take CBD and whether there would be any repercussions to consuming it when competing.
The good news is that CBD is legal for athletes to take, even at elite levels. As of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took CBD off its list of banned substances.
However, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is still prohibited, which means that marijuana is prohibited, too.
That means only CBD that is derived from hemp is permitted. More specifically, CBD Isolate (Pure CBD) that does not have any THC is allowed. The legal limit of 0.3% THC is allowed by law, but may not be allowed for athletes if detected with a test.
Athletes who consume hemp-derived CBD Isolate will pass a drug test, as long as no other illegal substances are found in their system.
So, what can CBD do for athletes?
1. CBD May Help Relieve Pain
One of the more common reasons why athletes add CBD to their repertoire is because of its pain-relieving properties.
Several studies have shown that CBD – as well as other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant – is effective at combating pain, including acute pain resulting from excessive activity or injury, or chronic pain from repetitive movement.
CBD’s pain-relieving effects stem from its interaction with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is tasked with maintaining internal balance. Any imbalance can cause a number of issues, including pain.
The naturally-occurring endocannabinoids – or neurotransmitters – interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. But sometimes, they’re not enough to combat ailments, which is where CBD comes into the picture.
CBD can mimic the behavior of these endocannabinoids to interact with the receptors in the brain and nervous system, which can help to alleviate pain, and many studies have supported this notion.
For instance, one study discovered that injecting CBD into lab rats showed a reduction in pain response to surgical incisions, while another discovered that administering CBD orally to mice alleviated nerve pain in subjects.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence to support CBD’s role in alleviating pain in athletes. For example, Derrick Morgan, a former NFL football linebacker who played for the Tennessee Titans, has been consuming CBD for a long time now to treat his pain and inflammation resulting from his nine-year long career in contact sports.
Chris Camozzi, a mixed martial artist, also includes CBD oil in his regimen to help him deal with his pain associated with all the blows he’s taken as a UFC fighter.
2. Promotes Better Sleep
There are so many factors that go into optimal performance as an athlete, and good sleep is one of them.
Without proper sleep, athletes will not only lack the energy needed to train harder and perform better, but they may also be subject to various ailments as a result of lack of quality sleep, including weight gain, headaches, anxiety, and even heart disease.
Some athletes who are unable to obtain the proper amount of quality sleep that they need may reach for pharmaceutical sleep aids. However, CBD may be an effective alternative to promoting better sleep in athletes.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that athletes who consume CBD claim to have an easier time getting to sleep and staying asleep. One possible reason for this is that CBD may inhibit the reuptake of adenosine.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) metabolizes as the brain uses up carbohydrates for energy, and as such, more adenosine can steadily accumulate in the brain, which can bind to neurons and inhibit the release of neurotransmitters.
In turn, CBD may help to slow down brain activity, which can create a sense of calm and relaxation that is needed to fall asleep.
3. May Speed Up Recovery
As any athlete knows, a long recovery can get in the way of training and competition. The thing is, rigorous training can take its toll on the body, leaving it tired, exhausted, and sometimes even injured, which can contribute to extended periods of recovery.
When athletes train and compete, their muscles and joints can take a beating. While some amount of muscle fiber damage is needed to grow muscles, too much physical stress on the body can result in heightened oxidative damage, which can harm the body and slow recovery.
Excessive training and physical stress can also result in mental and emotional fatigue, which can also contribute to slower recovery.
However, CBD may be able to play a role in shortening the recovery time needed for athletes to get back onto their sporting field by reducing oxidative damage.
As such, CBD may be effective at helping athletes recover faster and therefore be able to hit the gym or playing field a lot sooner.
4. May Protect the Brain
While much more research is required, there is some evidence to suggest that CBD may have neuroprotective properties and may even be able to protect the brain against injury from trauma.
Many contact sports – such as football, hockey, and boxing – are notorious for inflicting significant head trauma, leaving participants with serious brain injuries resulting from concussions. It’s estimated about 3.8 million concussions happen to competitive athletes every year in the US, with many going unreported. Unfortunately, concussions can leave long-lasting effects on those who suffer from them, including headaches, vision problems, trouble concentrating, memory loss, and imbalance.
But they can also cause more serious issues, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This serious condition is characterized by brain degeneration that can be caused by repeated trauma to the brain that can sometimes lead to death.
Much has been done to help protect athletes in contact sports, including requiring the use of protective headgear.
However, concussions can still occur despite such measures, leaving athletes vulnerable to brain injury from repeated blows to the head.
That said, CBD may be able to help reduce the severity of brain injury caused by head trauma thanks to its potential neuroprotective properties.
Some studies have already been conducted in this field and have found that CBD may be able to prevent cell death in rats experiencing motor and sensory neuron degeneration and glutamate neurotoxicity.
There are also some athletes who consume CBD specifically for this purpose, including former NFL kicker Nick Lowery.
CBD For the Win?
There are plenty of reasons why athletes may want to adopt CBD as part of their overall sports regimen for training, competition, and long after sports participation.
From alleviating pain and promoting better sleep to speed up recovery and beyond, CBD’s medical properties may make it a sound supplement that can accompany or even substitute traditional treatments for various issues.
More research is needed to solidify the findings that have already been uncovered about CBD, but the evidence that has already been discovered is quite promising.