Is CBD helpful for athletes? Is it safe? Is it even legal? In this post, we discuss a growing trend in the sports and athletics community and examine how CBD is being used to aid in mental focus, physical training and recovery.
Why Does Considering CBD for Athletes Matter?
The life of an athlete entails rigorous training, tough competition, and an optimally functioning mind and body. Athletes all around the world work hard to prepare for their respective sports, but they often encounter roadblocks such as injuries, chronic pain, as well as various mental hindrances.
CBD is a promising addition to any athlete’s regimen, as it has proven to provide multiple therapeutic applications that is especially useful to athletes. Let’s review everything that an athlete needs to know about hemp CBD, and how using it can benefit their athletic career.
CBD Can Provide Anxiety Relief
Anxiety can cause difficulties in life among members of the general population, but it is particularly detrimental to athletes. Anxiety can negatively impact attention, decision making skills, and self-confidence, all of which are extremely important for athletic performance.
Athletes may experience anxiety due to pressures to perform well, fear of performing poorly, career uncertainty, or fear of sustaining an injury. If left untreated, anxiety can lead an athlete to reduced performance or even a desire to quit their sport. Given that an estimated 9% of elite athletes suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, many athletes would greatly benefit from finding a way to manage their anxiety.
Fortunately, using CBD can be a great way for athletes to reduce their anxiety. CBD interacts with a number of receptors in and outside of the endocannabinoid system that regulates fear and anxiety, and has been shown to inhibit the fear response. Taking CBD can help an athlete suppress the amount of anxiety they feel, which could indirectly improve their overall performance.
Can CBD Improve Athletic Performance?
As mentioned above, CBD can help athletes manage their anxiety, which will consequently lead to better performance, but there is currently no scientific evidence that suggests it directly improves athletic performance.
CBD can, however, make training easier by reducing inflammation and pain thresholds, allowing athletes to make the most out of their workouts. It is also worth noting that CBD can be a stimulant at low doses, so it can provide an energy boost if used before training.
CBD Can Help Athletes Recover
Athletes–specifically those competing at a high level–put a tremendous amount of stress on their bodies. After long workouts or practice sessions, it’s completely natural for an athlete to experience pain and swelling in their muscles.
Traditional methods for dealing with pain and inflammation–over the counter pain relievers and opioid based medications–are now known to be more dangerous than they are beneficial. Alternatively, CBD hemp oil provides a natural, safe, and effective way for athletes to manage the everyday wear-and-tear on their bodies.
CBD has documented analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that will help athletes consistently perform to the best of their abilities. In addition, CBD can be used as a potent sedative at higher doses, and can help athletes get a good night’s sleep which helps them recover even faster.
CBD Can Help With Injuries
Injuries are an unfortunate reality of every sport, and can cause athletes to be sidelined with aggravating pain and discomfort. Recovering from an injury and returning to competition usually takes a lot of time and rehab, but your own body can sometimes make this process more difficult.
The inflammatory response occurs naturally alongside an injury and helps immobilize the affected body part, but it is often excessive, which can lead to muscle atrophy and increased susceptibility to further injury. It is for this reason that athletes try to reduce swelling whenever possible.
Reducing inflammation is one of the most well-known properties of CBD hemp oil, making it very useful for athletes who are recovering from major or minor injuries. Depending on the type of injury, CBD can either be taken orally or applied directly to the injured body part topically. Less inflammation means less pain, which hopefully also means less time spent rehabbing and more time spent playing the sport that you love.
In addition, CBD has been used to alleviate symptoms of concussions, which are common in combat or contact sports. The endocannabinoid system plays a central role in regulating both migraines and post-concussion headaches, and taking CBD can desensitize the neurons that trigger these headaches.
Is CBD Legal and is it Allowed for Athletes?
As all athletes well know, many (often perfectly legal) substances are banned by various sports agencies around the world, and the penalties for violating anti-drug policies can be severe. But is CBD one of these banned substances?
As of early 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency have removed CBD and hemp derivatives from its list of prohibited substances, making it suitable for use by athletes in and out of competition.
CBD is legal at the federal level, as well as in most states, but there are still certain restrictions that should be taken note of. Moreover, individual sports organizations might have policies of their own prohibiting CBD, so it’s important for athletes to check with their organization(s) first.
Despite the fact that hemp-derived CBD is now allowed, THC and marijuana-derived CBD is still prohibited, which is often found in trace amounts in some CBD products. WADA’s maximum limit for THC content is 150 nanograms, and this threshold can be exceeded if the THC concentration in a CBD product is labeled inaccurately. To avoid suffering harsh penalties, all athletes should take care to ensure that they’re getting their CBD products from a trusted source and taking the appropriate dosage.
Due to the strict regulations against THC for most governing sports bodies, and the associated drug testing involved, it would be safest to stick to broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate rather than full spectrum CBD products.
- CBD is a growing trend within the sports and athletics community to help with mental focus, physical training and recovery.
- CBD can help athletes manage their anxiety, which will consequently lead to better performance and recovery.
- CBD can be a natural, safe, and effective alternative for athletes to manage pain, inflammation and injuries.
- The World Anti-Doping and U.S. Anti-Doping Agencies have removed hemp-derived CBD from its list of prohibited substances, but athletes should check with their individual sports organizations.
- THC and marijuana-derived CBD is still prohibited and care should be taken to choose a reputable products to ensure you stay within regulations.