Some of the biggest names in professional sports are turning to CBD, and for good reason.
As you may already know, CBD is packed with tremendous therapeutic properties. Some of which researchers are particularly interested in.
For example, studies show that high-quality CBD oil may help reduce anxiety, especially in social settings.
Other studies suggest that CBD could act as an antidepressant and calming sleep aid.
But what scientists can all agree on is that premium CBD oil is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Which means it could address those often debilitating aches and pains that most, if not all, athletes experience one time or another.
But how? And why should athletes consume it?
First, a quick refresher…
What is CBD?
In short, CBD stands for Cannabidiol, and it’s completely non-psychoactive. This means it won’t and can’t get you “ high” — which is why so many athletes are embracing this highly therapeutic cannabinoid.
But that’s not the only reason…
Why athletes use CBD in sports
It’s obvious that athletic performance takes a huge toll on the human body.
Just watch one football or hockey game and you’ll feel the aches and pains from many of the tackled sports players.
And as luck would have it, runners, dancers, cyclists, and all other athletic professions require conditioning and even strength training. All of which cause pain.
But let’s not forget athletic injuries… some of which can be very serious and tremendously debilitating.
This is where high-quality CBD oil may be the answer.
You see, athletes are required to use muscles that the average person didn’t even know existed, no matter how active they seem to be.
The more they use them, the stronger and better they get. But in order to do so, those muscles have to rip and tear before they can grow and perform to their full potential.
What does this all mean?
Ripping and tearing a muscle is painful, and to really increase performance, those muscles have to recover.
Thankfully, according to multiple studies, CBD oil may be able to increase the recovery process.
CBD for pain and stress
Studies show that CBD can help stimulate endorphins.
You see, these tiny little molecules help alleviate pain and improve your overall mood. The more endorphins you have working for you, the better you feel. But with anything, there’s balance.
Consuming CBD helps stimulate the natural production of these molecules, which already naturally exist all throughout your body.
And speaking of pain, there’s an important endogenous cannabinoid found in our body that helps control your perception of pain. It’s called Anandamide, and it’s known as the “bliss molecule”.
This endocannabinoid helps regulate a whole host of other functionalities in the body like mood, cognitive function, memory, appetite, and of course, pain.
However, the issue is that this amazing endocannabinoid is short lived. There are naturally occurring enzymes in the body that break this cannabinoid down too quickly.
Thankfully, consuming CBD helps preserve Anandamide so that the body can utilize it more. Pretty amazing, right?
But that’s not all…
CBD for anxiety and depression
According to research, people who battle mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and other mood conditions, may actually suffer from an anandamide deficiency, in that their body does not create enough anandamide.
And as we just mentioned, high-quality CBD oil could help with this.
You see, due to pain and repetitive injury, some athletes may develop anxiety. And if their injuries prevent them from pursuing the sport they love, depression can set in.
These conditions may also disrupt restful sleep. And if there’s one thing athletes desperately need, it’s sleep.
CBD for sleep and other insomnia issues
Sleep helps with muscle recovery and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
In one case study, researchers found that CBD helped improve a young girl's ability to fall and stay asleep throughout the night. That same study showed that CBD was able to reduce the debilitating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For these reasons, CBD oil may be the answer athletes are looking for.
CBD and weight loss and appetite
Nutrition plays a huge role in the health of athletes. Which is why a lack of appetite can be very alarming.
Full spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and the combination of these cannabinoids, along with other phytonutrients like terpenes, may help increase a healthy appetite.
But it can also help with weight loss…
If someone is considering becoming an athlete, or if an athlete has been off their game for a while due to weight gain, then CBD might help.
According to studies, CBD is able to turn “white fat” into “brown fat”. In other words, it can help prevent obesity by stimulating healthy weight loss.
Not to mention, in a 2016 Korean study, CBD was able to stimulate genes and proteins that increase the breakdown of unwanted fat cells.
It also naturally creates and burns energy in the human body.
Finally, CBD may be able to reduce the very proteins that are responsible for creating fat cells.
But a healthy diet must be adopted for this to really work. Never underestimate how powerful food is for the human body.
CBD and bone growth
Athletes face the possibility of bone injuries everyday. Thankfully, according to research, a lot of our CB2 receptors are found in our bone tissue cells.
Amazingly, these receptor cells are fairly receptive of CBD, which means it can help promote bone health and may even prevent bone loss.
But as thought-provoking as this all sounds, we need to look at what makes high-quality CBD products so attractive to athletes in the first place…
CBD for inflammation
Perhaps the most intriguing evidence surrounding CBD is that multiple studies show that CBD is one heck of an anti-inflammatory.
Now, you might be wondering why that’s such a big deal?
The truth is, researchers have discovered that inflammation may be the root cause of most, if not all, unwanted health conditions and diseases.
For this reason, high-quality CBD oils are gaining more and more attention.
You see, in several studies CBD has shown to reduce inflammation in models with Osteoarthritis, in Ulcerative Colitis sufferers, and even in young children with neuroinflammation from rare forms of epilepsy.
But why is it such a big deal for athletes?
Addiction and drug use in athletes
Since CBD is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, and antipsychotic, then it makes sense that it can help with chronic pain.
Here’s a deeper look at chronic pain, in the words of Dan Swayze, director for Center for Emergency Medicine:
"Chronic pain is at least in part a neurodegenerative disease. It is not a psychological disease. It is not a mental health disease."
And when looking at athletes who repeatedly put their body through constant, rigorous training and conditioning, it makes sense why they often choose CBD.
But the issue is that CBD isn’t always welcomed. Some athletes fear that CBD may prevent them from moving forward in their athletic endeavors.
This may explain why so many athletes turn to certain controlled substances that help them rid their debilitating aches and pains.
Dan Swayze said it best, "There are people where the high is the goal — they become addicted to the feeling. There are other people who want to get rid of the pain because they want to turn around, but they can't figure out how to control the pain."
Floyd Landis, the 2006 Tour de France winner, found that cannabinoids found in cannabis helped him break his opioid addiction.
He stated, “It’s not something I was exposed to as an athlete, but it was effective in allowing me to wean off opioids. Now I use CBD daily as a pain reliever.”
Additionally, Canna Research Group surveyed 1,274 athletes on the use of cannabinoids. They reported:
“About 61 percent of the athletes indicated they use cannabis for pain, with 68 percent saying that cannabis improved their pain… There were no differences in pain relief by age, but younger athletes reported better sleep and less anxiety with cannabis use than older athletes.”
This leads to the question…
Is CBD legal for athletes?
First, let’s look at where CBD comes from…
As you have already known, CBD is the second most prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant.
Yes, we said cannabis.
If you didn’t already know, hemp and marijuana are both considered cannabis. And before you start panicking… No, hemp will not get you high.
You see, CBD is more prominent in hemp, whereas THC is more prominent in marijuana.
Now, this doesn’t mean that THC isn’t also found in hemp; it absolutely is. It just exists in trace amounts, 0.3% to be exact.
Why is this important to know?
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been effectively legalized at the federal level. Thus removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and classifying it as an agricultural commodity.
So what does this mean for athletes?
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA):
“All natural and synthetic cannabinoids are prohibited except for cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis, hashish and marijuana are prohibited. Products, including foods and drinks, containing cannabinoids, are also prohibited. All synthetic cannabinoids that mimic the effects of THC are prohibited.”
So it seems CBD on it’s own is safe and perfectly legal for professional athletes to consume, like CBD isolate. But full spectrum CBD is actually prohibited, as it contains THC.
Now we know that the amount of THC found in hemp-derived CBD products is minute and causes absolutely no psychoactive effects. In fact, studies show that higher ratios of CBD to THC can prevent the euphoric effects of THC.
But it seems that even the trace amounts of THC can accumulate over time in the body, thus causing a failed drug test. After all, THC is one of the substances testers are looking for on a drug screen.
As disappointing as this might sound, many people find a lot of therapeutic value from consuming CBD isolate.
So where can athletes find high-quality CBD products?
Best CBD products for athletes
It’s no surprise that if you purchase higher quality CBD products like gummies, capsules, and tinctures, you will indeed experience more therapeutic benefits.
But how can this be done?
First, you need to look for reputable companies that focus on transparency.
These companies will display how they cultivate and formulate their products on their website and allow their customers to view third party test results of their products. They are often called Certificates of Analysis or COA’s.
Now, the reason for third party testing is to ensure their final product is safe to consume and accurately labeled before it hits the market.
And third party testing is especially needed for CBD isolate products.
Because CBD isolate requires more extraction processes, it’s important that the test results showcase there are no trace amounts of THC.
We understand that broad spectrum CBD products contain no THC, but there has been some research that indicates hemp seed could cause a failed drug test.
Why does this matter?
Well, if hemp seeds could potentially cause a failed drug test, then how much more would a CBD product that contains all phytonutrients of the hemp, except THC, cause problems?
The key is to do your research and look for CBD products that are thoroughly tested and accurately labeled.
If you’re an athlete and you find yourself looking for a natural, less invasive supplement to address aches and pains, then it's best to consult with your doctor and your coach.
They may be able to help guide you in the right direction regarding the confusing and often grey areas of consuming hemp-derived CBD products.
Just remember that while hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, individual states have their own laws regarding hemp-derived products. So it’s best to check with you local state laws before consuming hemp-derived CBD products in public.