hemp CBD

Benefits of cbd for athletes

Athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies, to positive and negative effects. Training stress encourages adaptation and the pursuit of optimal performance. Athletes, more so than any other group of active individuals, succeed or fail by how they manage their bodies. Seeking to be at your best means performing at the highest level, consistently. This can lead to physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear, resulting in pain, inflammation and injury. The strategies used today for pain management are beneficial in some ways, but they also have harmful short and long term effects – and we haven’t even touched on the addictive properties of opioids. Anyone who has ever pushed themselves hard when training knows that this process comes with consequences. Even when you’re physically at your best, if your energy levels are low or you’re feeling anxious or stressed, it can be tough to perform.

There are numerous supplements that can help athletes get to the next level in their fitness. The newest performance boosting natural supplement to hit the market is CBD. WADA’s 2019 Prohibited Substances List has CBD – otherwise known as Cannadibiol – allowed for professional use. THC, another cannabinoid associated with psychoactive effects of cannabis, is still prohibited by WADA. CBD is undergoing a bevvy of research, as its benefits are widely known but lacking concrete, empirical data to back up the results. CBD, unlike its cannabinoid cousin THC, has the crucial benefit of zero psychoactive effects.  Basically, there is no “high” associated with its use. CBD is also prevalent in both cannabis and hemp plants, so hemp CBD is becoming the norm for most professional athletes because of the little-to-no THC content in the plant, in addition to being more regulated in the international community.

CBD has many benefits

Athletes are rightly curious about and eager for Cannabidiol’s  promises of pain relief and reduced inflammation. As previously mentioned, CBD is non-addictive and has virtually no side effects; a direct contrast to the risks associated with NSAIDs or opioids. CBD is one of over 60+ cannabinoid compounds that are occurring naturally and are found in Cannabis and Hemp. CBD oil is the most favored delivery method, with many other products such as roll-on gels, creams, capsules, and protein powders gaining popularity.

CBD’s effectiveness and efficiency stems from its interaction with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Within your nervous system, two endocannabinoids (2-AG and EAE) are produced in postsynaptic neurons (downstream) and released into the synapse. They bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors on the presynaptic neuron (upstream) and act to inhibit the release of certain neurotransmitters. CBD, like other cannabinoids found in various plants, interacts with your ECS and your body allocates its biochemical efficacy to wherever your body needs it most.  If you’re experiencing inflammation, your body utilizes CBD to reduce the swelling. When you’re in pain, CBD effectively blocks the pain receptors from being triggered, easing your discomfort. Need an energy boost or help clearing mental fog? CBD can instill a sense of calm, but sharpen your focus. CBD is so multifaceted that it’s uses are being developed and revolutionized each day.

is cbd approved for professional athletes?

Is CBD legal for athletes? Yes. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did the same. Interestingly, WADA set a urinary threshold of 150 nanograms per milliliter for THC, which is substantially more lenient than the previous limit of 15 nanograms per milliliter. In December 2018, The U.S. passed the Farm Bill, promoting Federal hemp cultivation and legalized CBD derived from hemp. The landscape of CBD for professional athletes, fitness professionals and sportspeople has opened up significantly, and this is just the beginning. There’s much research left to do, but with more athletes turning to CBD for their pain management & health support needs the industry is primed to advance in leaps and bounds, in a short period of time.

    How to use CBD: You can consume CBD in many different ways, and the delivery method is usually just a matter of preference or convenience. Capsules, oils and topical supplements are the norm, and there are a variety of doses available for each of these product types. It can also be inhaled as a vapor, although vaping has its constraints and is not typically desirable for athletes. CBD has been infused into sports drinks, recovery drinks, and all manner of edibles. There are creams and lotions that contain CBD oil and isolate powders, similar for capsules. Drops or tinctures are also available that can be placed under your tongue, for an efficient blend of fast and long-lasting relief.  The strength of the dose is typically broken into 150-250 mg, 500-750 mg and 1000-2500 mg of CBD per dose. 

      The way CBD is consumed depends on how quickly you need to experience its effects. Capsules, oils, and edibles must be digested, so they may take a bit longer. Topical creams are said to be quicker than edibles, and sublingual drops/tinctures are said to be the most rapid (besides inhalation via vaping). However, it’s important to remember that CBD affects everyone differently – sometimes on a dose-by-dose basis. Each person’s Endocannabinoid System can variably interact with CBD, so it’s important to start slow, dose on the small end and monitor your body’s response closely.  This is not a health hazard – that is, there isn’t the risk of ‘overdosing’ or experiencing a ‘high’ like with THC. CBD does not have negative side effects, but you can dose too much resulting in wasted product – too much Cannabidiol is not processed by your body’s ECS, therefore going to waste.

        How much CBD to use: Here’s where things get tricky. There is no certain “one size fits all” dose that gives a consistent effect for all people. Depending on how you consume CBD, it can be difficult to be precise. The most effective way to consume CBD is typically through capsules, or by calculating how many milligrams of CBD are in each volume of drops from a tincture. Companies that produce and sell CBD products recommend starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it based on the results you are seeking.

        cbd can optimize your recovery & performance

        CBD supplements before workouts are beneficial because it makes you stronger and helps to prevent injuries. Some of the injuries you can help to combat, are:

        Relieve Pain: According to latest research and studies CBD is very much fruitful for reducing pain, including musculoskeletal pain from exercise, as well as stiff joints. This is an area where anecdotal evidence and biological plausibility are the best we have until research catches up. Despite the shortage of hard proof, CBD does relieve pain effectively for many athletes.

        Alternative to NSAIDs: Athletes have consumed over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) for decades.  Unlike CBD, they may not be as safe as we once thought. It is written in the book The Essentials of Pain Medicine, Fourth Ed., “There are no documented deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based products. In a systematic review of studies of oral and oral-mucosal cannabis for various medical conditions, most adverse events reports were considered non-serious (96.6%)”. CBD does not have any known long-term, negative health effects, it is non-habit-forming and is even associated with having anti-cancer properties.

        Alternative to Opioids: According to the CDC, in 2016 opioids were involved in more than 42,000 deaths in the US. Opioid pain medications (i.e. morphine, codeine, oxycontin) are highly effective for pain management, but carry a significant risk of addiction and death by overdose.

        Reduce inflammation: A little bit of inflammation can be good for athletes and help stimulate positive training adaptations. Too much inflammation hinders recovery and hurts performance. There are CB2 receptors in both the brain and periphery, but they are more concentrated in immune tissues. CBD is a potent remedy for inflammation, and it can be taken throughout the day to both prevent and treat inflammatory muscle conditions.

        Settle your gut: Inflammation in the small and large intestines causes a lot of discomfort, and GI distress is one of the leading reasons endurance athletes drop out of races. CBD won’t solve stomach problems from dehydration and overheating, but if you have underlying inflammation issues that contribute to gut problems during or after exercise, CBD may be effective for reducing your symptoms.

        Improve Sleep Quality: Getting more and better sleep is one of the most effective ways an athlete can achieve greater training gains. Athletes who consume CBD report better ease going to sleep and better restful night’s sleep. One possible cause for this could be CBD inhibiting the reuptake of nucleoside.

        Increase Energy & Focus: CBD has a calming effect on the body, but that is not to say it does not enhance mental focus.  Cannabidiol can relax anxiety, nervousness or stress and instill a sense of relaxation. Even better, instead of being in a state of a euphoric daze, CBD can help athletes feel energetic and empowered with a heightened sense of readiness.

        CBD has been used by many athletes over the decades, but its use in official capacity is still taking root in the realm of sports and fitness. As research continues, and professionals continue to explore CBD’s efficacy, hemp-derived Cannabidiol should be on every athlete’s radar. Achieving one’s personal best is a long, arduous journey, but with CBD in a supporting role, athletes can realize their true potential – the natural, healthy way.


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