CBD for Athletes
The Recovery and Enhancing Benefits of CBD for Top Performers
CBD Delivers Healing Benefits to Athletes
With CBD becoming a popular go-to remedy for a wide range of conditions, it’s not surprising that athletes too, have been using it for its therapeutic benefits.
Curious how you can get the same CBD benefits as top Athletes?
We’ll share that in a minute.
Why do so many athletes choose CBD for their pain management?
Constant pain is not an unusual state of being for many professional athletes. Their job is literally to push their bodies to peak performance, day in and day out, again and again. And that takes a real toll.
Steroids and opioids are often used to manage their pain – but these drugs are also responsible for widespread addiction and can cause more damage than good.
CBD may be the answer.
And as more professional athletes become outspoken about using CBD to manage pain, they help normalize an undeniably effective treatment from a plant that has had a long and complicated legal history in America.
CBD is an appealing therapeutic option for so many people because of its extensive healing properties and low risk of adverse side effects.
It works with our endocannabinoid system, an internal network present in each of us, that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. Its receptors are found in the brain and throughout the body. CBD and other cannabis compounds interact with these receptors and can produce highly beneficial effects.
As the science of CBD continues to unfold, professional sports organizations are beginning to see it in a new way.
The bottom line is:
CBD could soon be a recognized and accepted way for athletes to manage their pain.
And here’s something interesting…
Professional Sports that Allow Players to Use CBD
Professional sports organizations are slowly starting to recognize the therapeutic benefits of CBD and considering allowing athletes to take it as a pharmaceutical.
In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from their banned substances list. WADA was created by the International Olympic Committee, and this was big news for athletes around the world.
While this is seen as a major step forward for CBD and its many supporters, WADA did caution that THC is still a banned substance. Which means, this is one situation where using a CBD isolate rather than a full-spectrum product makes a lot of sense.
BIG3, created by rapper/actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, is a 3-on-3 basketball league made up of former players of the NBA as well as international players. It is the first professional league to allow CBD to be used by players to treat pain and aid in recovery. As Kwatinetz puts it, “As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health.”
This newly formed minor pro basketball league is the first North American professional sports organization to actively promote the use of CBD oil over traditional prescriptions for pain. The organization began playing in 2018, and is quickly growing, with ten teams already signed on and plans to have 40 teams by year five. This may be what professional sports will start to look like in the future.
With the 2018 change in the WADA’s stance on CBD, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are now able to the cannabinoid to manage their pain without fear of repercussion. This is great news, as many fighters have reported significant benefits in using CBD – including faster recovery and less overall pain.
Aside from the BIG3 and NAPBL, the National Hockey League (NHL) currently has the most lenient cannabis rules in major league sports. It is not on their list of banned substances because it is not considered a performance-enhancing drug. However, the league does not condone marijuana use either.
Instead, when players test positive for cannabinoids, there is no disciplinary action taken, but their anonymous test results are sent to the NHL/NHLPA committee who uses them to determine future testing practices. If a player is found to have high levels of cannabinoids in their system, they are required to undergo a doctor’s assessment.
With such tolerant rules on cannabis use, the NHL’s position may influence other professional sports organizations to relax their policies on CBD.
Players are ready for the NFL to allow CBD to be used therapeutically. And the NFL commissioner, Rodger Goodell, is ready to consider it. While he opposes recreational marijuana use, he is willing to listen to the league’s medical advisors regarding the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis.
Ebenezer Ekuban, former defensive has been quoted as saying, “I think in due time, the NFL is going to realize that CBD is not a performance-enhancing drug. If anything, it helps with anxiety, helps with concentration, it helps with pain.”
Major sports leagues are starting to understand the medicinal benefits of cannabis and CBD in particular. It’s only a matter of time before more of them allow their athletes this safer pain-relief option.
And what can CBD do for you?
Can CBD Make You a Better Athlete?
CBD is being used by athletes to treat aches and pains and recover from injury more quickly – which can help them get back into training sooner.
Athletes who use CBD before their workouts report feeling a “flow” state and “sense of calm” that they believe helps them physically perform better.
CBD Boosts Stamina
You may be familiar with what is known as “runner’s high,” a euphoric feeling achieved through long, sustained cardio activity. It had been thought that endorphins released through exercise were responsible for the feeling.
In fact, we now know that it’s caused by a rush of anandamide, a cannabinoid naturally produced by our bodies. Anandamide is known as the “bliss molecule” for its ability to boost mood and also has pain-blocking capabilities. CBD can help boost anandamide levels – which reduces pain and boosts stamina.
Athletes who use CBD to boost stamina, typically take it 30 – 60 minutes before beginning a workout. It is a natural, balanced way to improve performance.
CBD Promotes Muscle Growth
CBD promotes muscle growth by decreasing cortisol levels. Cortisol is the chief chemical released when we are in a state of stress. It is known as a catabolic hormone, and it inhibits tissue growth.
Using CBD to build muscle may largely appeal to bodybuilders who routinely take supplements to suppress the damaging effects of catabolic hormones on muscle tissue.
But it is also ideal for other athletes who want to gain more muscle.
And that’s just the beginning–
Athletes Also Use CBD to —
- Shorten recovery time
- Reduce swelling and inflammation
- Relieve pain and ease muscle spasms
- Boost cognitive function and manage stress
- Reduce nausea experienced during intense physical training
- Stimulate appetite (powerlifters or anyone who needs to consume additional calories to build muscle)
But this is perhaps cannabinoid’s most surprising benefit for Athletes…
CBD Offers Concussion Protection
A concussion is considered a ‘mild’ Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and they are one of the most serious and common injuries sustained in sports.
In fact, concussions are pretty common in general. A 2016 study revealed that one in five American adolescents (grades 8-12) have been diagnosed with a concussion at least once in their lifetime.
When a concussion occurs, it triggers neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain to be released. These chemicals cause inflammation and create imbalances that damage brain tissue and blood vessels, and cause brain cells to die. Repeated head trauma results in serious long-term complications.
In professional sports, football players run the highest risk of sustaining a concussion – and other head injuries. And many retired players have suffered from debilitating symptoms related to repeated head trauma, such as depression, memory loss, anxiety, headaches, and trouble sleeping.
So, how is CBD able to protect us from concussions?
CBD Acts as a Neuroprotectant
You may have already heard that CBD acts as a neuroprotectant, actively protecting, healing, and regenerating our nervous system. This therapeutic quality also helps protect against damage from concussions.
During a concussion, CBD disrupts the flow of chemicals that lead to brain cell death. It also works to heal the damaged cannabinoid receptors to prevent further inflammation, swelling, and pain. CBD may also provide preventative and restorative benefits to the hippocampus after injury.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is degenerative brain disease common for people who have a history of repeated brain trauma. It is estimated that as high as 40% of NFL players may suffer from this condition.
CBD helps treat the symptoms CTE including —
- Memory Loss
And here’s a closer look at…
Professional Athletes Who Use CBD
Outspoken about his use of CBD to treat pain and inflammation, Derrick Morgan is a top athlete and NFL linebacker. He has openly praised the effectiveness of CBD and encouraged his fellow players to consider it as an option over harmful opioids.
Another NFL player who has candidly spoken about using CBD as part of his health and wellness regiment is Eugene Monroe. He is an active supporter of The Bright Lights Campaign, an organization encouraging the continued research on the potential of CBD to benefit player health.
When Leonard Marshall started showing signs of CTE, he turned to CBD, which he reports has been quite successful. He has reduced many symptoms associated with the onset of CTE and has even completely eliminated some.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are also at high risk for sustaining a significant injury during their sport. And following the much anticipated 2016 match between Nate Diaz and Conor Mcgregor, Diaz openly discussed his use of CBD during training and fighting (and caused quite the commotion when he casually used his vape pen at the press conference immediately after the fight). Diaz explained that CBD helps him reduce inflammation and heal.
Another MMA fighter who has experienced significant benefits from using CBD is Chris Camozzi. Using CBD to reduce pain and inflammation has been key to Camozzi’s recovery and training ever since a severe knee injury introduced him to the cannabinoid as a natural option for pain management. He believes it has drastically improved his health.
And Here’s How You Can Personally Benefit From CBD
With anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to help you recover faster, it’s possible that incorporating CBD into your daily regimen may make you an even better athlete than you are right now.
Ready to try CBD for Yourself?
Luckily, if you’re not a professional sports player, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can use CBD to manage your pain.
With the passing of the 2018 farm bill, CBD is now federally legal in the US – making it easier for you to take advantage of this natural and effective option for pain management.
Many CBD Options Are Available
CBD is now available in a wide variety of products ranging from sprays and topicals to combustibles and consumables.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to know a few things before you get started.
First, how much CBD should you take? Your recommended dosage for CBD will depend on a number of factors including your age, weight, symptoms, and experience with CBD.
Second, should you choose an isolate or a full spectrum product? Isolate products contain straight CBD oil while full-spectrum products contain CBD oil + the other beneficial cannabinoids present in hemp and cannabis.
The consensus is, due to the synergistic nature of cannabis compounds, known as the entourage effect, full-spectrum products may provide more overall benefits than isolates. (Though isolates have certainly earned their place as a reliable therapeutic option.)
Third, understand how to choose a high-quality CBD product. High-quality producers will take care every step of the way – from growing, to harvesting, curing, extracting, and manufacturing to ensure their products are the very best. Look for brands that adhere to the highest standards to ensure you choose a product that is the most effective.
Getting Started with CBD
If you would like to start using CBD as part of your training or workout routine, or as a recovery and healing tool, we have an easy way for you to get started. Here are our top picks for full-spectrum CBD oil.