Cannabidiol’s (CBD) popularity as an alternative way of therapy is at an all-time high. It’s thanks to the versatility of this particular cannabis compound. Health benefits of CBD are abundant. From reducing inflammation to relieving pain and soothing anxiety. Of course, CBD Oil For Athletes is also on the rise.
Did You Know that Athletes, too, can Benefit From Cannabidiol’s Properties?
Actually, CBD Oil for Athletes is way more than just an empty slogan.
More and more people, professionals and amateurs, are turning to CBD for a pre-workout enhancement and post-workout recovery.
Yes, dear friends! Cannabis and working out doesn’t seem to fit together in one sentence. However, some of the plant’s compounds help athletes big time. It helps overcoming their weaknesses and toning their inner volume down after the exercise.
So, how exactly does CBD work for athletes?
What are the most popular methods to take CBD in the sports industry?
And finally, how different sports leagues and associations regulate the use of CBD by their athletes?
Read on to find out!
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
In order to get a better understanding of how CBD oil for athletes works, it’s mandatory to learn about the relationship between CBD and the human Endocannabinoid System.
In short, the endocannabinoid system is a setup of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors that are spread throughout the entire human body (1).
Due to its widespread presence, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for a number of physical and psychological functions, such as:
- Body temperature control
- Immune responses
- Sleep-wake cycle
- Pain perception
Whenever the endocannabinoid system goes out of whack, the body and brain cannot function properly.
In fact, recent studies suggest that endocannabinoid deficits can be responsible for a wide range of severe medical conditions, from chronic pain to depression, insomnia, inflammatory diseases, and neurological disorders.
So, how does CBD fit in?
Cannabidiol acts as a modulator of the endocannabinoid system.
Unlike its intoxicating cousin THC, CBD does not bind directly to any kind of cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it bolsters the endocannabinoid system by stimulating it to produce more of its natural cannabinoids (2).
Moreover, it slows down their breakdown, which means they will stay in your body for longer than they usually do. With more cannabinoids in your body, the endocannabinoid system runs better and does a better and faster job at keeping your body in homeostasis or balance.
On top of that, CBD does not produce intoxicating effects; in other words, this phytocannabinoid (Phyto = from a plant) won’t make you high (like THC does). That being said, CBD-infused products are completely safe for consumption.
Cannabidiol performs a series of other functions as well, but we will elaborate on that later in the article. For now, let us answer the core question.
How Does CBD Oil for Athletes Work?
Given the aforementioned relationship between CBD and the endocannabinoid system, we can distinguish certain areas where the cannabinoid comes particularly handy for athletes.
After all, there is no single athlete that would never suffer from an injury in their lifetime. We are not talking only about professionals here. How many times have you returned from a workout feeling sick and tired, with absolutely no strength for anything later that day? What about the frustrating muscle soreness the day after?
We’ve all dreamed of overcoming those obstacles as fast as possible at some point, haven’t we? Fortunately, as the recent research on CBD shows, those thousands of anecdotal pieces of evidence about the effectiveness of CBD oil for athletes don’t come out of the blue.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the bigger aspects where CBD oil for athletes can make a huge positive impact improving performance without posing any threat to health.
CBD Oil for Athletes as Pain Reliever
Most of the time, post workout recovery does not exist without pain. These two go hand in hand and if left neglected!
Crippling pain from the wear and tear of physical exercises can get so bad that it will prevent you from any physical activity at all.
Injuries and muscle soreness are plaguing athletes and hence they often turn to over-the-counter painkillers. While these drugs can effectively mask the symptoms of inflammatory pain, they can also put you in a fog, as well as give you a false sense of feeling alright when you are injured or in pain.
Last but not least, OTC painkillers are strongly addictive, which makes them basically wrong for athletes.
CBD oil, on the other hand, provides you with a much clearer way to fight the pain, and it will not put your brain into confusion.
CBD stimulates the activity of cannabinoid receptors in the immune system, and thus, help reduce inflammation (3).
But most importantly, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, the one which is implicated in a range of biological function, including pain perception (4).
As you can see, CBD does not mask the symptoms; instead, it gets right to the root of the problem, being able to combat different types of pain.
CBD Oil for Athletes as Potent Anti-inflammatory
Like we said, inflammation can significantly reduce one’s ability to engage in physical activity.
According to a study conducted by the Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CBD may be a potent anti-inflammatory agent that is capable of suppressing inflammatory responses by targeting cannabinoid receptors.
As the study found, CBD, a major non-intoxicating component of cannabis, along with its modified derivatives, significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without causing any kind of dependence or apparent analgesic tolerance in rodents (5).
Another study on pain, this time for arthritis inflammation, discovered that the topical use of CBD has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain and inflammation without evident side effects (6). The study was conducted on mice, but given the growing body of anecdotal evidence from Cannabidiol users, it looks like CBD oil for athletes might soon replace many over-the-counter painkillers.
CBD Oil for Athletes as Pre-workout Enhancer
Besides its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, Cannabidiol is also capable of helping people achieve what they describe as a ‘clear-headed vibe.’ With no anxious thoughts floating in your head, you can easily focus on here-and-now.
Whether you lift weights, run long distances, or do sports that require you to stay sharply focused all the time, CBD may come in handy.
Nevertheless, this is not the only reason why CBD for athletes is gaining in popularity so rapidly.
What makes CBD oil for athletes’ performance so versatile, then?
When administered prior to intense physical activity, CBD can reduce the burning sensation and discomfort caused by fatigue.
Imagine that you are right in the middle of a heavy set, pushing yourself to the limits, but your muscles are lava-hot. Yet, you are still able to push through it for a little longer, and eventually, you come out victorious from this clash. Finally, the discomfort and muscle stress disappear. This is how Cannabidiol works.
CBD Oil for Athletes as Regeneration Booster
Sleep is an extremely important part of our lives, but in the case of athletes, its significance becomes paramount.
Not every athlete can afford the luxury to sleep well all the time, though. We also know how damaging the side effects of OTC or prescription sleeping pills are.
Thankfully, CBD helps the endocannabinoid system to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and thus supports regeneration processes.
In addition to regulating the body’s sleep cycle, CBD alleviates stress, anxiety, and pain. These three health concerns often play a major role in sleep deprivation, so the next time you can’t sleep because of the upcoming game or that crippling back pain, consider incorporating Cannabidiol (CBD) into your supplementation plan.
Speaking of stress and anxiety, CBD can also reduce stress hormones released through physical activity. Hormones such as adrenaline, steroids aldosterone, and cortisol are produced in the adrenal glands.
The adrenal system is responsible for regulating the body’s reaction to physical stress factors, including exercises, through hormone release. Whenever you engage in physical activity, the adrenal glands start to release more cortisol into the bloodstream. (11)
Interestingly, according to the findings of a small study conducted by the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Medical Psychology at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, CBD can cut the secretion of cortisol short, thereby reducing the concentration of the hormone in the blood. This, in turn, means that CBD oil for athletes can revolutionize the branch of post-workout supplements.
CBD Oil for Athletes as Appetite Suppressor
By regulating the work of the endocannabinoid system, CBD can help athletes control appetite if they want to cut down on weight before a competition. Contrary to THC, CBD (Cannabidiol) won’t give you munchies. Instead, it may suppress your appetite so that you don’t experience food cravings so often. This comes in particularly handy for those who still have that flabby belly despite maximizing their workout. (9)
Furthermore, if you’re dealing with issues like low insulin sensitivity, here’s the good news: CBD oil can be used to improve insulin sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity, the more space in your body to store extra glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscle.
Finally, studies suggest that cannabis users have a smaller waist and are less likely to suffer from abdominal obesity than those who abstain from phytocannabinoids (10).
CBD Oil for Athletes for Anxiety Reduction
There is already a serious portion of evidence suggesting CBD’s efficacy for anxiety and panic-driven behavior, but could this work with CBD oil for athletes? Athletes, just like the rest of regular people, suffer through periods of anxiety from time to time, perhaps associated with competition, fears regarding a loss or injury, or just pre-game concerns.
Today’s literature shows how CBD oil can alleviate anxiety in patients struggling with a social anxiety disorder. Moreover, CBD can reduce the intensity of traumatic memories, a giveaway symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Given the above, we have a lot to learn from CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety and fear, especially when it comes to sports and athletics.
Most Common Ways to Administer CBD for Athletes
The process of taking CBD is pretty straightforward, and thanks to the technological progress, people can now take CBD in many different forms, depending on their needs.
Below, we list the most common ways to administer CBD for athletes.
CBD Oral Tinctures
Oral tinctures, also known as CBD oil drops, are hands down the most popular way of ingestion. They come in different sizes and strengths, so in order to figure out the right dosage, you will have to do it by trial and error.
CBD oral tinctures are made of CBD hemp oil that is derived from industrial hemp.
This, in turn, means that hemp CBD products are almost free of THC (less than 0.3%) and won’t make the user high. In most cases, you will come across full-spectrum CBD oil tinctures. Full-spectrum extracts contain not only CBD (Cannabidiol) but also other cannabinoids (CBN, CBG, CBC) and a range of the plant’s terpenes to boost what cannabis geneticists and breeders refer to as the entourage effect. We will get to it in a while, but for now, let’s focus on the advantages of oral tinctures.
CBD oral drops are both convenient and easy to apply. They come in bottles with an attached dropper so that you can measure out the dosage very precisely. All you have to do is place a few drops beneath the tongue, wait about 30 seconds, and swallow. The effects should be noticeable in about 30 minutes.
If you don’t like the natural flavor of CBD oil a smart way to consume CBD oral tinctures is to simply add them to your favorite food.
There are only a few things in this world that humans couldn’t encapsulate. Fortunately, CBD is not one of them. In their encapsulated form, CBD oil is contained in gel pills that come with a fixed concentration of Cannabidiol and other active compounds in the oil.
The greatest advantage of CBD capsules is their size and the aforementioned fixed dosage. They prove invaluable for people who have a busy work schedule and cannot afford the time to measure out their daily intake of CBD with a dropper every time they are in need.
If you’re an athlete, then you presumably travel a lot, which is another argument in favor of CBD capsules.
Last but not least, CBD capsules are flavorless, so there is no way you will complain about the taste. Unless you don’t have any problems with swallowing a pill, you’re good to go with CBD capsules.
The popularity of CBD topical products has skyrocketed recently.
CBD balms, creams, skin lotions, anti-aging serums, patches, and the so-called pain freezers – you name it.
Now CBD topicals are particularly popular among athletes, where muscle strains, inflammation, and injuries are the order of the day.
CBD has been shown by numerous studies to fight localized pain when applied on the surface of the skin, which is why athletes are turning to CBD patches and pain freezers instead of taking OTC or opioid-based painkillers.
Whenever you’re searching for a CBD topical product, make sure it’s made of the finest ingredients, without GMO and artificial additives that could compromise on the quality of the product.
Concentrates are the most potent form of CBD, and as a consequence, the most expensive one.
The concentration of CBD in these strong extracts can reach anywhere from 60% to 90%.
That being said, CBD concentrates are recommended for those athletes who need extremely high doses of cannabidiol due to their condition.
The fastest way to use a CBD concentrate and also the safest method is vaporization. Instead of smoking the material – which would include combustion and burning and is generally very bad for your lounges – vaporization heats it to the temperature that draws all beneficial compounds from the concentrate. With no combustion, the risk of delivering harmful substances such as carcinogens drops significantly.
CBD Vape Juices
Speaking of vaporization once again, some athletes like to deliver their cannabinoids immediately to the bloodstream, which is why they pick vape juices to help them out.
Like regular vape juices, a CBD vape juice consists of a CBD extract and Vegetable Glycerin or Propylene Glycol. The last two ingredients are responsible for thick clouds of vapor produced upon exhaling your CBD vape juice.
Full Spectrum Extracts vs. Isolates
Full Spectrum CBD Extract
At some point in the article, we mentioned that CBD extracts can be either full-spectrum or isolates.
As you might remember, full-spectrum CBD extracts contain not only cannabidiol but also other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The purpose of the full-spectrum extract is to boost the therapeutic properties because all of the compounds are working synergistically.
According to preliminary studies and numerous opinions from cannabis geneticists, cannabinoids and terpenes work better when in the presence of one another.
If you are a professional or amateur athlete and you are looking for more information on CBD oil for athletes please note that we highly recommend you go with the full-spectrum CBD product to get the most benefit.
As the research on CBD oil for athletes continues, we will soon be able to find more answers as to why the entourage effect is so important when it comes to CBD oil.
On the other hand, a CBD isolate, as the name suggests, contains pure cannabidiol, with no other cannabinoids and terpenes – only CBD.
While isolates may not be as effective as full-spectrum extracts, they may help people who aim at getting the highest content of CBD possible.
When it comes to CBD oil for athletes, isolates are often combined with full-spectrum oils to boost the potency of Cannabidiol without losing the entourage effect.
How Sports Leagues and Associations Regulate the Use of CBD oil for Athletes?
As more and more athletes are hopping on the CBD bandwagon, they are eager to fight for the acknowledgment of CBD by their leagues and sports associations.
Until recently, athletes were forced to eschew safe CBD oil for dangerous prescription medications or risk sanctions from their supervisors.
Fortunately, almost one year ago, things began to change, when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) updated their prohibited substance list removing CBD from the document.
As a result, CBD is now approved for use by athletes, including those participating in the Olympics.
It looks that the spinning CBD machine cannot be stopped, as the scope of athletes using CBD oil reaches much further than Olympics.
Bodybuilders, boxers, UFC fighters, dancers, runners, and many professional and amateur sports enthusiasts fall under the supervision of WADA and the USADA.
With cannabis legalization gaining pace across the states, and with the revolutionary move from Canada this year, we can expect serious money being pumped into research on the health benefits of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids. This may open the eyes of other sports leagues and organizations on the global scale.
Gone are the times when athletes had to seek hazardous ways to improve their performance or attempt to heal their wounds with opioid-based prescription painkillers.
Today, we are witnesses to a true revolution. As cannabis becomes an acknowledged medicine, its versatility proves invaluable in many aspects of our lives, and it seems that sports go by the same token.
Whether you want to push yourself beyond the limits, alleviate pain, or boost your body’s regeneration in a natural way, CBD, this non-intoxicating cannabis compound will definitely make a fine addition to your supplementation plan.
CBD is currently one of the most popular natural wellness products.
The interaction between CBD (Cannabidiol) and the human endocannabinoid system makes this active compound helpful in alleviating a wide range of conditions.
People using CBD report significant relief from pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, and inflammation.
There is also a growing body of scientific evidence confirming the health benefits of CBD, and although we still need more clinical research on this subject, the current data is promising, to say the least.
Athletes are particularly exposed to both direct and inflammatory pain, stress, anxiety, and catabolic issues, which is why many of them have recently turned to Cannabidiol for relief.
Thus far, we know that CBD can combat different types of pain, relieve stress, and keep anxious thoughts at bay. The best thing about Cannabidiol is that this cannabinoid can be administered in many different ways, and each of them affects our body in a unique manner.
For example, oral tinctures are designed to tackle inflammatory pain, anxiety, and food cravings, while the topical application works best when used for localized pain. Actually, CBD topical products, such as balms, lotions, and skin patches are extremely popular among athletes these days.
Other methods of application include vaping CBD juices, oils or concentrates.
Full Spectrum CBD oil accompanied by Propylene Glycol (PG) and/or Vegetable Glycerin (VG) offers a great concentration of Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids, along with therapeutic terpenes.
When choosing the right CBD product, keep in mind that you can buy either a product with full-spectrum CBD extract or a CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum cannabis extracts are considered more effective due to the aforementioned presence of other supplementary compounds that contribute to the so-called entourage effect in cannabis. The entourage effect refers to the synergy created by all compounds in the cannabis plant and is often referred to as the “whole-plant extract” or “whole-plant medicine’.
Getting the Full Spectrum CBD products is what we recommend!
Of course, if you’re looking for CBD in its pure form to maximize its intake, opt for CBD isolates.
More and more professional sports leagues and organizations are allowing the use of CBD oil by their athletes. This means they may soon be able to stave off dangerous prescription drugs. CBD oil for athletes is a natural remedy that is completely safe.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the future of Cannabidiol in the sports industry!
Are You Using CBD Yet?
Let me know in the comments below!