Cannabidiol (CBD for short) is swiftly taking the world of athletics by storm, and you don’t have to look hard to see why.
Physically and psychologically demanding, athletics can be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, physical exercise helps improve fitness, build strength, and ensure optimal performance, especially for extreme athletes.
At the same time, however, strenuous workouts and training can take a huge toll on your musculoskeletal system, leading to pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, swelling, and sometimes injury.
That’s where CBD comes into play.
Packed with natural healing and balancing attributes, CBD can help athletes recover more effectively after intense training, workouts, and competitions.
More importantly, cannabidiol delivers an array of therapeutic benefits that can collectively enhance athletic performance and stamina. (You can read all about these science-backed health benefits of cannabidiol in this tell-all guide to CBD oil by CoolThingsChicago).
Well, if you’re a forward-thinking athlete, the chances are that CBD has piqued your interest, but you probably still need answers. After all, you want to know exactly what you are putting into your body, and how it’ll impact your health & performance.
To get you started, we have put together 5 cool things every athlete should know about CBD.
Fact #1: CBD Helps Alleviate Pain
Athletes subject their muscles, tissue, and the whole body to lots of strain in a bid to increase speed, boost strength, improve flexibility, spruce up agility, and gain a competitive edge. More often than not, this leads to discomfort and pain, particularly muscle spasm and pain.
Several studies – most of which are based on mice and some human subjects – have shown that CBD has great potential in pain management. How so?
While more rigorous research is still needed, scientists have found that CBD helps facilitate the smooth operation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a specialized system whose primary role is to promote natural homeostasis (biological balance) within your body.
It achieves this by regulating a plethora of vital biological processes, including hormonal balance, memory, stress response, sleep, metabolism, immune system, physical exercise, and much more. Of more importance, ECS has been found to play a major role in pain sensation.
Because CBD influences the endocannabinoid system in a positive, it can, therefore, be a great tool for not only preventing but also reducing the pain that results from strenuous physical exercise.
And there’s growing medical and research evidence backing the same. For instance, in a 2018 study, scientists concluded that CBD might help reduce pain by reducing inflammation, influencing the activity of endocannabinoid receptors, and interacting with neurotransmitters associated with pain.
With this in mind, CBD can help an athlete get a handle on pain before, during, and after workouts, training or performance.
Fact #2: CBD is Safe as per Scientific Research
As a smart athlete, it is only natural to want to know about each supplement, food or drink you put into your body. Needless to say, you want to be triple sure that CBD isn’t harmful in any way to your health, athleticism, and well-being.
Good news! CBD for athletes is generally thought to be safe (and effective), even in high doses. In one study published in 2011 in the journal Current Drug Safety, researchers found CBD to be non-toxic and safe for use by both pets and humans.
Note, however, that not all CBD products are created equal. As an athlete, you might be better off with CBD concentrate or CBD tinctures that have few or no additives, limiting the odds of containing harmful chemicals. Check out this article for a good intro to various tinctures.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to go for non-GMO products that were grown without dangerous herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. But don’t take the word of the manufacturer.
Safe CBD products are those that have been rigorously tested and validated by a third-party testing lab. This second pair of eyes make sure there are no heavy metals, salmonella, toxins, yeast, fungus, mold, and other residuals in the tincture or oil.
Fact #3: CBD is Legal for Athletes!
As an athlete, the last thing you want is to consume something illegal from both the law and athletics standpoint.
You will be glad to know that hemp-derived CBD products are legal no matter where you are in the US thanks to the passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It should contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be considered legal, though.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t explicitly approved many CBD products, its view on CBD seems to be welcoming and positive (good summary here).
Even better, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has struck out cannabidiol from the prohibited substance list. That means you are safe and within legal limits to use CBD either in or out of the competition.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has also followed suit, removing CBD from its list of banned substances. Don’t get it wrong, though; THC and other cannabis derivatives have not been delisted. It’s only CBD.
Even still, World Anti-Doping Agency has also elevated the threshold for THC from 15 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml, which means you don’t have to worry too much about trace amounts of THC in your CBD product.
Fact #4: CBD has no Psychoactive Effects
You are probably wondering if CBD is intoxicating because of its close association with cannabis. Thankfully, CBD isn’t psychoactive, which means it won’t give you the feeling of high or euphoria that is often linked to marijuana use.
In fact, CBD can help reduce the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids like THC. As such, it fits right into any athlete’s training and performance routine.
More excitedly, you will be happy to know that CBD will not affect your coordination, sensory awareness, consciousness, perception of time, and reaction time. Remember these are important traits that can make a huge difference in your career as an athlete.
Fact #5: CBD Can Help You Get Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep is everything to an athlete.
It helps your body recover faster and more effectively, as well as get your body reinvigorated. Let’s not forget that getting enough sleep is important for your mental alertness, stamina, and preparedness.
Unfortunately, intense exercise and physical strain can leave your body with pain, inflammation, and stress, all of which can hamper your ability to fall and stay asleep.
Lucky for you, CBD can help improve your sleep health. And much research has been done on the subject of CBD and sleep, as well as mental health.
More specifically, CBD has been found to help in addressing anxiety, ADHD, depression, PTSD, pain, and stress. All of these are major culprits for sleep disorders like insomnia. For an excellent in-depth analysis of ADHD and CBD oil, check out this article.
Biologically, CBD interacts with endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters, and receptors that are responsible for sleep, including melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine.
Melatonin, for one, is a well-known hormone that regulates mood and sleep. By increasing levels of melatonin in your brain, CBD helps you get better sleep and wake up full of energy and alertness.
These are only five cool facts about CBD for athletes, and there’s a lot more from where they came from. Because athletes often suffer from pain, injury, inflammation, and physical/mental stress, CBD can be a great tool of relief for them.
● CBD is non-psychoactive
● CBD helps induce sleep
● CBD is safe (according to research)
● CBD is legal
● CBD is great for pain management
Now that you know CBD can do wonders for your athletic routine, it’s high time you pick a tried-and-true product.