Top Medical Reasons Athletes Take CBD 

Social Anxiety and CBD

There are a vast number of products and schools of thought on proper nutrition for athletes.  Unlike everyday fitness enthusiasts, athletes require a finely tuned dietary regiment in order to perform at their best. 

Like a car that’s regularly maintained and running on premium fuel, professional athletes operate on a strict schedule and monitoring of what goes into their bodies.  Any fluctuations in proteins, essential minerals or vitamins can cause drastic shifts in performance or recovery from injuries, so controlling what, how much and when athletes get their nutrition is vital to their livelihoods.

As stringent as athletes are with what they consume, they are strictly regulated and closely monitored by governing agencies, such as WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) and the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).  These committees determine what substances and supplements are acceptable for professional use.  WADA maintains an ever-evolving list of Prohibited Substances, reviewed by some of the top scientists in the field of human physiology.  “The List”, as it’s often referred to, is released periodically and must be adhered to without exception for any athlete seeking to perform at a professional level. 

Hemp CBD is Internationally approved, globally renowned

With the recent U.S. Federal legalization of Cannabidiol derived from Hemp, and in the wake of Canada’s successful legalization of Cannabis, WADA has ruled that CBD is an acceptable substance for professional athletes.  Under Section 8 of the 2019 Prohibited List, Cannabinoids are prohibited – such as cannabinoids from cannabis, like THC – but CBD (Cannabidiol) has been granted exception and is approved in international competitive sports.  An important distinction for athletes is that CBD MUST BE isolated from other cannabinoids; THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol – is not permitted at a professional level. 


CBD and Social Anxiety

Many products contain both THC and CBD as there is evidence of benefits cooperation between them (entourage effect), however THC is not generally accepted as it is closely associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis.  For now, only CBD is accepted for athletes. Nonetheless, there is a surge of research forthcoming on the risks/rewards of cannabinoids, so athletes are keeping a close eye on the medical prognosis for cannabis & hemp derived remedies.

Natural, Effective & Versatile 


For now, athletes and fitness professionals are turning to hemp CBD for its ability to treat many ailments.  Cannabidiol has a long list of medical uses, the chief of which are for reducing pain & inflammation, increasing energy & mental focus, and relaxing nerves or anxiety.  Some of its other uses include:

  • Pain & Inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Assists with Sleep Quality, Rest & Recovery
  • Increase Energy & Mental Sharpness (Focus)
  • Balance Mood
  • Reduce Stress, Anxiety
  • Anti-Catabolic Effects (Aid in Muscle Growth)
  • Plant-Based, Natural Alternative to NSAIDs & Opioids

The last two bullet-points are particularly popular reasons among athletes of late.  Athletic professionals are under intense scrutiny for what goes into their body, and how these inputs can affect their performance. Many athletes, sports pros (both active and retired) and fitness models are turning to hemp CBD products to supplement synthetics or pharmaceuticals. 

Why do Athletes Turn to CBD?

The most common reason athletes make the switch to natural, hemp CBD is twofold:

Long-term use of pain meds, steroidal treatments or synthetic dietary supplements can often lead to serious health conditions

REsidual levels of prohibited substances can sometimes be present in conventional medications

  • to avoid the risk of testing positive for one of these substances athletes often try to “go natural” as often as possible, if the supplement in question can help them achieve the same level(s) of fitness/performance

CBD can help with social anxiety

With regards to the first reason – health issues associated with long-term use of meds – many athletic individuals must balance on a knife’s edge of synthetic (science-based) products and those natural (less research-oriented) remedies.  The demands of maintaining a certain standard of physique or performing at the highest level of a certain sport comes with a significant amount of pressure.  It can seem like an insurmountable task to optimize performance while also adhering to strict guidelines for diet and supplements.

For many athletes and fitness pros, it is the second reason that concerns them the most.  Athletes around the world have been shocked to discover that they have tested positive for a certain prohibited substances.  There are “cheaters” in every sport, but many cases of banned substances being found in an athlete’s bloodstream is due to misfortune or happenstance.  Most pharmaceutical products are highly regulated and require years upon years of testing & QA.  Nonetheless, some “approved supplements” can harbor trace amounts of a banned substance, catching many athletes unaware and dumbfounded when they are informed that they’ve been disqualified.

Use of NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) for pain, inflammation, sickness (fever) can have serious – even life-threatening – effects on the body.  Issues like liver disease, kidney failure or cardiovascular conditions have been linked to prolonged, overuse of NSAIDs.  Other medications, supplements and even certain diets have risks associated with consumption, but many athletic professionals are committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve optimal fitness & performance.

How CBD is convincing many athletes to go “au naturale”

For these reasons, many athletes are now turning to more natural products whenever possible.  Many plant-based supplements like vegan protein powders, superfood greens and hemp-derived products are becoming a part of the norm for successful pro athletes.  Pre-workout, post-workout, amino acids, omegas essential fatty acids, and energy boosting supplements are just a few of the many product types that professional athletes need to maintain their health & fitness.  Thankfully, for today’s athlete, hemp CBD can cover many of these aforementioned needs.

The reasoning behind athletes using hemp CBD is now clear, but what kind of products do they prefer? Hemp CBD has many variations, but the most popular types used by fitness & sports pros are oil tinctures, topicals, and capsules.

Natural treatment of anxiety

Hemp Cannabidiol oil is a very diverse product: it can be taken under the tongue to be absorbed sublingually; it can be applied topically and rubbed onto sore or enflamed areas; and it can be added to food and drink to digested.  Hemp CBD oil is a fantastic product for athletes because it is so versatile – it can be taken for an energy boost, to enhance mental focus, to improve sleep the night before a big performance, to soothe aching muscles or to reduce swelling/inflammation.  CBD oil is also popular because it usually contains beneficial omegas-3-6-9.  Hemp seed oil is a common carrier for CBD, and it naturally has a lot of synergistic effects with cannabidiol being from the same plant. 

Topicals containing hemp-derived CBD have a broad spectrum of delivery methods: creams, gels, sprays, oils and roll-on applicators.  Many athletes turn to the soothing relief of a CBD topical when pain or swelling strikes, or if they are injured and they want to avoid inflammation.  Roll-on applicators are a great method of easing sore muscles, as the roller distributes CBD relief to the affected area it also massages the muscles.  How quickly Cannabidiol is absorbed into the skin and how long relief lasts for are very individual, but generally speaking topicals are fast acting.

Natural treatment of anxiety
Natural treatment of anxiety

Hemp CBD capsules have gained traction in the last handful of years due to their convenience and consistency.  Capsules have to be digested, so the effects of the encapsulated CBD usually take a bit longer to take hold.  Nonetheless, the duration and potency of CBD ingested in this way are usually the longest/strongest.  Many athletes take CBD as an energy-boosting pre-workout, or to calm their nerves/muscles as a post-workout.

CBD can get you over that hurdle

There are many ways to consume hemp CBD and experience its benefits, but no matter how athletes choose to get theirs the most important thing to remember is the why.  Cannabidiol can help with numerous ailments, both treatment and prevention, but it can be beneficial for a variety of things all at once.  Whether athletes take hemp CBD to treat certain conditions, or to improve their fitness in pursuit of their goals, Cannabidiol can be an important utility tool in any professional’s belt. Hurtle


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