As a consumer, you may have seen various products come and go. Indeed, we have had things that have created a lot of buzz, with some living up to their hype and others faltering. Cannabidiol (CBD) is undoubtedly the buzz item now, and it has been touted to have a plethora of potential benefits to the human body. This hype has been partly fueled by the fact that CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, which has had a long history in the United States.
Moving away from the hype, you might be wondering whether CBD can be of any use to you as an athlete. You may have seen or heard of the way it can be used to aid in certain conditions, but wonder how you can leverage the listed potential benefits of CBD to improve your craft.
In this piece, we are going to look at CBD effects on athletes and all the essential things surrounding it to give you a clear picture of whether you should go for it or not. Read on;
Overview of CBD
For those that do not know what CBD is, let us give you a quick recap.
Cannabidiol is one of the prominent compounds in the cannabis plant alongside Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two compounds can interact with a central system in the human body called the endocannabinoid system to produce some of the various potential health benefits tied to the cannabis plant. The endocannabinoid system is mostly tasked with homeostasis, and it monitors multiple bodily functions to restore the right balance.
Typically, you would expect both these compounds to be used for health purposes, but there is a caveat. THC produces a psychoactive feeling when ingested in the human body, and this is why the marijuana plant was banned in the United States for a long time. The psychoactive mind-altering effect is similar to what other drugs do, providing a “high” feeling, and thus marijuana is categorized in the same group as other controlled substances.
While CBD and THC might have a plethora of benefits, it’s important to utilize the potential benefits of the non-psychoactive CBD. This is why CBD is extracted from the industrial hemp plant and sold to people who may benefit from it for various reasons.
This way CBD, the non-psychoactive compound from the hemp plant, can be used safely for a wide variety of applications without making one high.
Why CBD for Athletes
Athletes engage in high energy exercises, and they put a lot of stress on their bodies. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Intensive training elicits adaption to the high level of activity and improves performance, but over time, physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear lead to pain and injuries.
Many athletes rely on over the counter pain management solutions which may come with their own set of side effects. Standard options like NSAIDs (think ibuprofen) may pose a health risk when used too frequently, and others such as opioids can lead to addiction – a growing problem in America. It is not uncommon for athletes to look at alternative solutions such as CBD as they seek to uphold their performance without suffering from the side effects of using the current pain relief solutions.
Is CBD Legal in Sports?
The professional sports landscape is heavily regulated since the authorities want to see athletes using their natural abilities to compete and not use substances that will enhance their performance. Those that are found using banned substances can be suspended from competing for some time or heavily fined.
For a long time, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had listed CBD as one of the banned substances. This changed in 2018 when it removed it from the list and thus allowed athletes to use it in and out of competitions. To clarify the rule, it has a Marijuana FAQ page that explains this rule to avoid any misinterpretation. Note that only CBD was removed from the list, but THC, the other compound, is still banned and falls under the category of synthetic cannabinoids.
The WADA moves to make its law regarding the use of this substance a bit lenient since many CBD products contain multiple cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This aimed at reducing the chances of an athlete testing positive for THC, even though they used CBD with the allowable amount of THC, which is less than 0.3% per milligram. These laws only apply to sports, and while CBD is legal on a federal level, it’s important to check with your specific state.
What Are the Effects of CBD on Athletes?
All the effects and benefits athletes can derive from CBD comes down to how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. Once you expose your body to excess stress, problems such as pain and inflammation are caused by an imbalance of bodily functions. Using CBD may help to regulate this system and get your neurotransmitters back under control.
The potential benefits include;
May Alleviate Aches
This is perhaps one of the most significant concerns by athletes. Studies indicate that CBD may be effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain, which often affects athletes. It may also help relieve aches from stiff joints and muscle strains. This way, athletes can help manage their pain and potentially perform better.
Could Help to Reduce Stress
CBD might help to reduce stress in athletes. Stress in this context is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from demanding situations. You might be wondering how stress comes in an athlete’s life, but it does a lot. These professionals strive to attain high levels of performance and strike a perfect balance between work and rest. If you cannot find this sweet spot, you might want to see if CBD can do some of the work for you. Taking a consistent dose every day may allow athletes to break through any limitations caused by stress and encourage them to push new limits.
May Be a Great Adaptogen
An adaptogen is a plant or substance meant to give the body a fine balance and keep the nervous system from overarching. Other common adaptogens include echinacea and reishi mushrooms. These substances work in a very precise way since they have to be stimulatory without causing any side effects. CBD activates your endocannabinoid system and may help promote general bodily balance.
For athletes, the use of adaptogens, specifically CBD, could help them to adapt to their training sessions better. To understand this, imagine the state of your body after an intense workout. The body temperature rises above normal levels, same as cortisol levels, and stored sugar is almost depleted. Once the body notices these imbalances, it produces endocannabinoids to help it recover. If you are using CBD, you may aid the body in the recovery process, and the shortcomings could be corrected in a shorter amount of time.
May Help to Improve Sleep
Athletes can easily suffer from disrupted sleep patterns as a result of their intense workout routines. This is as a result of the bodily imbalances and how stress hormones such as cortisol are lowered in the process. More sleep is needed for the weary muscles to recover, and CBD has the potential to help with this.
May Help to Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety
Athletes face a lot of pressure, and they can easily suffer from anxiety both in training and while competing. This can derail their performance, and it is necessary to find a solution that helps them relax and give their best whenever they step out. You do not need to take a lot of CBD to see its potential effects in alleviating symptoms of anxiety as small and consistent doses are seen to do the trick.
May Reduce Inflammation and Oxidation
Inflammation is a huge barrier to good health, and a lot of it can lead to pain, weight gain, and sickness. It inhibits fast recovery in athletes, and this is what NSAIDs are used to alleviate. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that are complex which might help one experience a small amount of inflammation needed for the body and not the excess form that causes pain.
Athletes also try to avoid oxidative stress, and they do this by using antioxidants. However, a healthy way to avoid this stress is by avoiding the oxidative build up in the first place. CBD may help to boost glutathione levels, which reduces oxidative stress significantly. Less oxidation leads to reduced muscle soreness and better immunity.
Some of the potential benefits and effects of CBD for athletes have been mentioned above. And while these professionals often rely on other substances for these effects, CBD may offer a natural solution. The advantage is that CBD may offer a more comprehensive solution for their challenges, without having to rely on different substances for different effects. CBD may help you alleviate stress, sleep better, prevent inflammation, and recover faster.
Today, you will find various forms of CBD in the market. And, it is vital to know the best type for your needs. Ingesting CBD may give your body better benefits, at times. But the use of topical creams and sprays may also help alleviate aches and inflammation in your muscles and joints. More athletes are taking note of the potential benefits of CBD. Ensure that you buy the right CBD brand from a reputable store, and you may be in for these and more benefits.