As research provides mounting evidence of the benefits of cannabis products, the use of products, especially CBD, is becoming more acceptable in the medical community. Research suggests that therapeutic CBD use can be beneficial for senior citizens, people giving up nicotine, and even pets, but what about CBD for athletes?
What is CBD and how does it work? Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis plants. Cannabis has more than 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most well-known cannabinoid and is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. CBD is the second most prevalent ingredient in cannabis plants and the key to cannabis’ medicinal properties. CBD is mainly derived from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant. Unlike the marijuana plant, hemp contains minimal levels of THC. CBD can be legally sold in the U.S. as long as it contains less than .3% THC. CBD can be found in many different products, including gummies and other edibles, oral tinctures, vape pens, and topical creams. Cannabidiol is thought to work by interacting with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to help regulate biological processes like mood, inflammation, and others.
The human body has two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. THC is known to activate the CB1 receptors, which control coordination, movement, emotions, and pain. This explains why THC consumption leads to altered sensory perception and impaired motor skills. CBD reacts with CB2 receptors, which impact the immune system, inflammation, and pain. This is why CBD is thought to treat physical and mental symptoms without any psychoactive effects.
CBD is available legally (with a few caveats), thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Even professional athletes can buy CBD; as of last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed it from its prohibited substances list. Of course, be sure to check the laws and professional guidelines in your area. Cannabidiol can be made from either marijuana or hemp cannabis and can be extracted in several different ways. In order for CBD to be classified as legal, it must contain less than .03% THC levels.
Athletes’ bodies are subjected to extreme wear and tear, fatigue, injury and impact, and may find CBD products extremely beneficial for their performance and recovery. Chronic use of pain relievers can be dangerous, and muscle relaxants and opioids carry a high risk of addiction. Some athletes discover that CBD can reduce or eliminate their need for over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Furthermore, there have been no documented deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based products, according to The Essentials of Pain Medicine.
Potential benefits of CBD for athletes At first thought, you may think of cannabis as something to avoid. However, CBD is safe, legal and won’t get you high or cause any mental fogginess afterward.
Here are a few of the possible benefits that athletes may see when using CBD products:
Pain relief: CBD can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Unlike over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, CBD won’t affect mental clarity or falsely mask pain. Furthermore, CBD topical creams are an effective, non-toxic alternative to other topical creams like lidocaine. Faster recovery time: In addition to providing relief from pain, CBD can speed up your recovery time by promoting healing. CBD has been shown to promote cell reparation and growth, and it also helps many people sleep better, which is the key time for the body to repair itself. Unlike painkillers, CBD is non-addictive.
Helps the immune system: CBD is also high in antioxidants and helps boost the immune system. Early research shows it may also boost brain, bone and heart health to help keep athletes from getting sick or injured. Reduces anxiety: Many people with depression or anxiety disorders have benefited from using CBD products. CBD has been shown to help reduce negative anxiety symptoms without compromising mental clarity – an ideal combination for someone suffering from performance-related anxiety or game-day jitters.
Helps heal from head injury: In a recent three-year study, researchers found that out of a total of 446 patients who had suffered from a traumatic brain injury, 97% of those who survived had used cannabis prior to the event, compared to 88% who survived and had not used cannabis. Athletes who tend to suffer blows to the head and concussions including football players, gymnasts, and hockey players may want to try CBD oil. A concussion can be a serious condition, especially repeated concussions.
Appetite and weight control: CBD may be able to help control weight, which comes as a surprise to many who associate cannabis (and especially marijuana) with the munchies. In fact, CBD may help support insulin function and help you feel fuller longer, which is important when trying to maintain your weight. Furthermore, some studies have shown positive results in terms of regulating gut and GI issues. Won’t jeopardize drug test results: Many elite athletes are regularly drug tested, and a failed test can be career-ending. Because CBD derived from hemp is virtually THC-free, using it won’t put you at risk for failing a drug test. Be sure to read the labels and ingredients to make sure you’re not accidentally consuming any THC.
Can be taken orally and topically: While CBD can be vaped, serious athletes who want to stay away from smoking or vaping can reap the benefits from oral tinctures, edibles or topical creams.
Benefits of CBD for Athletes CBD for recovery As any athlete knows, a good workout causes tiny tears in muscle and tissue, which then become inflamed as they start to heal. As the muscles heal, they are stronger than before. However, too much inflammation can do more harm than good, which is why athletes commonly take measures such as stretching, foam rolling, ice baths, and more. CBD is thought to help reduce inflammation and help athletes recover more quickly. For example, one recent study concluded that CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects were effective in reducing pain and improving mobility in a group of patients with multiple sclerosis. Although the research is far from complete, the authors of that study concluded that CBD is “anti-inflammatory antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective.” Another study of rats with arthritis found that CBD significantly reduced joint pain and swelling without the side effects of other drugs. For these reasons, CBD for runners can be beneficial as well.
Does CBD give you energy? First of all, low energy can be caused by several different factors: lack of sleep, slow metabolism, anxiety or depression, and more. CBD is thought to affect overall mood and energy by helping to balance out brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Furthermore, balancing these two chemicals will also help users sleep better, which in turn helps with energy and concentration. CBD affects people differently, so it’s important to experiment to find the best time of day to take it. Unlike THC found in marijuana, CBD doesn’t cause drowsiness.
Best CBD oil for athletes CBD is available as an oral tincture, capsules, edibles, infused lotions and more. Once you decide how you want to take it, be sure to do your research and only buy from a reputable company that publishes third-party lab results with ingredients and concentration. How you consume CBD affects how quickly you’ll feel its effects. For athletes, we tend to recommend a combination of oral tinctures and topical lotions for the fastest relief. Edibles such as gummies and capsules have to be digested, so they tend to take a bit longer to kick in. CBD is available in isolate or broad-spectrum form. We recommend broad-spectrum CBD, as it’s full of other beneficial nutrients and fatty acids.
CBD reacts differently in every body, so be sure to start slowly and consult our dosing guide. There isn’t a standard dose that delivers a consistent effect, so it can be difficult to be precise. Once you’ve found the right dose for you, you shouldn’t need to increase it anymore. CBD is regarded as safe to use, but be sure to check with your doctor first, especially if you’re taking other medications or supplements. Furthermore, CBD products aren’t well regulated yet, so it’s important to research the products you want to put into your body and ensure that it’s safe and legal.
Here are a few other tips:
Be consistent: Whichever product you decide to use, use it for at least a couple weeks before deciding if it’s worth it for you. If you don’t see an improvement in that time, up the dose and give it another week or two before quitting CBD. Athletes know the payoff of consistency more than other people, and CBD is no exception. When taking CBD sublingually, let it sit under your tongue to absorb rather than swallowing it. This will improve your rate of absorption. Oral tinctures are ideal for beginners and should help with overall relief. Creams or lotions applied liberally are very helpful for localized pain, especially in conjunction with CBD oil taken orally or in capsule form. Make sure to carefully research the product you’re considering. Many sketchy companies will misrepresent their products, but reputable companies submit to independent testing of their batches and publish the results. CBD is safe and legal, and just may be a major turning point in how athletes train and recover. There is a lot yet to be learned, but the results so far are extremely promising. There are few risks, and many potential rewards, including pain relief, better sleep, improved mental focus, and reduced inflammation. There are many choices out there, so be sure to do your research and buy only verified products from reputable companies. Of course, speak with your doctor and coach/trainer before beginning any new regimen. Contact our team today to learn more about our broad spectrum oils and other CBD products.
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