CBD and sport: 4 benefits of CBD for athletes
By Grace Hawkins
Different sports call for different regimens to improve recovery and enhance mental and physical abilities. Whether you are engaging in high-impact or simple sporting activities, you may experience muscle sores, aches, and heart racing. A perfect pre-workout and recovery regimen is crucial to enhance your sporting activity and desire for better results. Most sport’s fanatics are always inclined towards natural alternatives, and Cannabidiol or CBD for sports may offer quality and beneficial effects to an athlete’s body.
For over a decade now, CBD is increasingly popular for its beneficial effects on human health. For this reason, acceptance in the world of sports is equally increasing. However, there are also concerns about CBD’s legality in sports. Would test positive for doping after ingesting CBD?
The use of CBD in sports
The fact that CBD is one of the primary compounds from cannabis and hemp raises eyebrows. Some people believe that CBD has euphoric effects and has the potential to get you ‘high’ after ingesting. However, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another primary compound from the cannabis plant responsible for the ‘high.’ Even though the World Anti-Doping Agency restricts a long list of drugs, CBD is not one of them.
However, you should be careful when buying a CBD product for sports. Broad-spectrum CBD, Full-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates contain varying levels of CBD potency. Choosing the right CBD oils, muscle creams, and balms with little to no THC cannot lead you to violate anti-doping regulations. It is also essential to consider a variety of ways you may take CBD.
- CBD tinctures
- CBD droplets
- Gummies and edibles
- CBD ointments
- CBD capsules
Cannabidiol can also be used as a supplement to your pre-workout regimen. Even so, some athletes incorporate it in their food, tea, and nutritional ready-to-eat foods.
Shatter is another cannabis strain that is highly effective in sports. But what is shatter? Like CBD and THC, shatter is derived from the cannabis plant, hemp, and other cannabis solvents. It is deficient and void of THC, making it a perfect alternative to CBD products with THC traces. However, shatter production and processing are a delicate process that requires advanced technology and special equipment.
Studies indicate that CBD may help an athlete enhance their recovery, increase performance, and improve muscle function. Other benefits of taking CBD for sports include;
1. CBD may help alleviate pain.
Commonly, athletes are always engaging in intense activities while pushing themselves to incredible limits. Even though these activities could improve performance, muscle tears, joint pains, inflammation, and sprains are inevitable. Even though conventional pain relievers and Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) cause over-dependence and have adverse side effects.
Thanks to CBD’s analgesic properties, athletes have a natural and effective alternative to alleviate pain. Research suggests that CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System to reduce inflammation, eliminate free-radicals, and relieve pain. While over-the-counter drugs and opioids have unwanted side-effects, CBD can counter over-dependence and addiction from opioids and similar substances.
2. CBD may help reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is a significant barrier to an athlete’s performance. It could prolong the pain, or sometimes even sickness. Even though little inflammation could be beneficial to our health, a lot of it could limit an athlete from quick recovery. Conventional NSAIDs have adverse side effects, thus the need for a more holistic approach to counter inflammation.
According to studies, Cannabidiol is a potent anti-inflammatory that could benefit an athlete. CBD helps suppress the production of cytokines and prevent cell proliferation. Also, through induction of the apoptosis and T-regulatory cells, CBD may help inhibit inflammation. Consistent use of CBD against inflammation may help an athlete enjoy an active life in their sporting world.
3. CBD might help fight anxiety.
Competitive sporting activities may put significant pressure on an athlete. The need to impress while exerting themselves may cause anxiety, which could limit their performance. Fear of speaking in public is another form of anxiety that affects some athletes. Studies prove that CBD may help decrease anxiety triggers without severe side-effects.
Depending on the pre-workout environment, an athlete may vaporize CBD before their workouts and competitions. While many would have concerns about the right dosage to inhibit anxiety, consistent microdoses of CBD may instill calmness and offer much-needed relief from anxiety. This anxiety relief and calming of the mind and body can result in increased athlete performance.
4. CBD may enhance muscle relaxation and muscle gain.
Muscle cramps, soreness, and muscle spasms may limit an athlete’s recovery process. However, CBD is a perfect post-workout muscle relaxant. Cannabidiol interacts with the Endocannabinoid system to activate and balance body functions, enhancing endurance and performance. It is crucial to note that CBD for muscle recovery may be beneficial in muscle gain. CBD may help inhibit the neurotransmitters that influence GABA-A receptors, which are responsible for muscle relaxation. Also, CBD balm can be used to relax the muscles. It is helpful in soothing and relaxing the body. CBD may improve quality sleep for better athletic performance.
Besides intense training and workouts, sleep may influence an athlete’s peak performance. While tight schedules, sporting anxiety, and sleep disorders may also affect an athlete, CBD can help them get quality sleep and obtain REM sleep. Cannabidiol’s sedative properties could help an athlete have the recommended amount of sleep. Studies indicate that athletes need quality sleep for better performance and quick muscle recovery. Moreover, a good night sleep may help an athlete:
- Make better choices and decisions.
- Repair the body after workout and training.
- Enhance mental intensity and energy spikes.
- Have faster reflexes and reactions, etc.
CBD reduces cortisol levels, which may affect sleep cycles and patterns.
What should you keep in mind before trying CBD for sports?
While CBD is legal in most states across the United States and isn’t on WADA’s prohibited list, you should be careful with drug testing. It is essential to review regulations and legislations by governing authorities for particular sporting events, con petitions, and even the country of competition.
Some of the cannabinoids that may put you on the wrong side of the law are synthetic Cannabidiol, marijuana, hashish, and THC. You should choose products that have no traces of illegal compounds, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
CBD dosage for sports
Besides the concerns about CBD testing positive for THC, it is essential to consider the right Cannabidiol dose for better results. However, there is no standard dose as different amounts of CBD have varying effects. While small quantities have sedative effects, a higher CBD dose has stimulant effects. Considering this approach on CBD dosage, an athlete may get the right relief from pain, inflammation and even promote sleep.
The general rule that seems to apply when using CBD for the first time is starting with little amounts, which you may increase gradually until desired effects kick-in. Importantly, you should maintain consistent micro-doses of CBD for better results.
Even though these are common problems that an athlete would likely experience in their career, CBD provides more than the benefits discussed above. It is a natural alternative to pain relief, anxiety, inflammation, muscle recovery, and mental health. Unlike conventional drugs, CBD has no adverse side-effects. However, you should be careful when choosing CBD for sports. Considering its direct link to THC, which is illegal in sports, you should consider products that will not test positive THC. Buy from reliable and reputable companies that have accurate third-party lab test results.