Many athletes, especially professionals, often use some supplements to enhance their performance. Some of the most common ones include protein bars, stimulants, and BCAAs. That said, there is a new supplement available to athletes that seems to be gaining a lot of popularity—CBD.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a nonpsychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. It has a plethora of health benefits, and some of them may help athletes in a way traditional supplements and treatments can’t.
Is CBD Allowed for Athletes?
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, CBD for athletes is permitted. There is only one rule that needs to be followed.
Only CBD is allowed for use. What does that imply?
The supplement you use has to be 100% pure CBD. That means you need to look for CBD isolate, not full-spectrum CBD. As the name itself suggests, CBD isolate is pure CBD, while full-spectrum CBD undergoes less processing than isolates. Because of that, it contains all the cannabinoids that cannabis has to offer, including THC.
What Are the Medical Benefits of CBD for Athletes?
More research is still needed to discover the full potential of CBD use for athletes, but what we have learned so far from limited studies, exercise statistics, and athletes’ experience tells us a lot.
CBD May Help Reduce Inflammatory Pain
Inflammatory pain is the most common problem for all athletes that simply can’t be avoided. There is already a suggested treatment for this problem that includes several over-the-counter nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs. However, long-term use may cause serious health problems like stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, and more.
How can CBD be helpful in this situation? It appears that CBD may be a safer treatment for inflammatory pain because it comes with little to no side effects. Several studies suggest that CBD can be very helpful in reducing pain, especially musculoskeletal pain. More research is still needed, but according to many athletes so far, it shows great promise.
CBD May Help Reduce Performance Anxiety
It doesn’t matter how hard athletes train because some of them will still get nervous before a big event or game. It’s not easy to deal with anxiety and stress, especially if they “attack” often, so some athletes ask for psychiatric help and use habit-forming antidepressants.
Compared to those drugs, nonaddictive and all-natural CBD may still bring relief from performance anxiety without risking the health of the athlete. A supplement of only 10–20 milligrams CBD on a daily basis may help athletes deal with crippling stress.
CBD May Help Improve Sleep Quality
A good night’s sleep is crucial for every athlete’s success. The better they sleep, the better their performance is, and, at the same time, they are healthier and happier in general. Considering the fact that high-intensity workouts are not always good for sleep, some athletes could really use a little bit of help in this area, too.
It appears that CBD users fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep. Especially when it comes to athletes, one of the reasons for this could be that CBD inhibits the reuptake of adenosine, in turn helping them accumulate it more quickly. Another reason could be that CBD may lower the level of stress hormones like cortisol, which could otherwise interfere with regular sleep cycles.
Is CBD Safe for Athletes?
CBD may be safe for most people, but some side effects have to be kept in mind. Some of the most common include fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and changes in weight.
Also, some drugs may interact with CBD like steroids, antihistamines, immune modulators, and benzodiazepines, among others. Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor before deciding to try CBD if there is already a treatment in place.
The Bottom Line
It seems that CBD can help athletes in many aspects of their training, especially when it comes to dealing with pain, stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Considering the fact that CBD is an approved supplement for all athletes and that it’s completely legal, all-natural, and with little adverse effects, many have already tried it and are strongly recommending it. That said, if you have already undergone some kind of medical treatment, make sure to consult your doctor before you start experimenting with CBD.
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