It’s no secret that the CBD industry is growing rapidly. People of all different ages and walks of life are discovering the non-psychoactive benefits of cannabinoids, offering relief from an array of different issues. CBD use also seems to be increasingly prevalent among athletes.
From professional or amateur athletes to people who simply have an interest in exercise and personal fitness, CBD has become the go-to for those looking to soothe sore muscles and joints and relieve pre-game stress. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the use of CBD in the athletic community is suddenly getting accepted widespread.
How CBD Can Support Athlete Health?
While clinical evidence is limited, anecdotal reports regarding CBD use among the athletic community are numerous. Below you’ll find a couple of reasons why the sports industry is smitten with CBD.
A. Healthy Muscle and Joint Support
Anyone who plays sports or goes to the gym regularly is familiar with the soreness that comes along with it. Whether you’re a golfer, ballplayer, yogi, footballer, or weightlifter at CrossFit, you’re well aware that joint and muscle discomfort is all part of the game.
Here’s where CBD comes in. Many athletes have discovered that CBD topicals can do wonders to relieve muscle and joint stiffness. Whether from a particularly strenuous workout or strengthening new muscles, CBD topicals offer localized support many athletes swear by.
Take Eugene Monroe, for example, former NFL offensive tackle and first NFL player to openly advocate for medical marijuana, who maintains that he uses CBD in several ways, especially topicals, that can easily be rubbed into stressed joints.
Marvin Washington is another former NFL player that relies on CBD topicals to soothe muscle aches and joint soreness. Also, NFL player Jake Plummer swears by CBD, and he initially started using CBD-infused creams and other CBD products to support joint and cartilage health.
B. Stress Support
Athletes swear by CBD’s ability to soothe any stress that comes along with their game of choice. Whether athletes compete at a professional or amateur level, pre-game nervousness is real.
While a little stress can be beneficial and help athletes stay motivated to put in their best performance, too much stress can have the opposite effect. Losing sleep the night before competing or having stress seriously affect performance during a game or competition, performance-related stress can take a serious toll on all kinds of athletes. CBD could help.
It all comes down to the way CBD influences the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates several functions including mood, sleep, memory, and appetite. Research shows positive interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. While the cannabinoid doesn’t increase serotonin levels, it’s believed that it positively affects the brain’s response to serotonin activity and therefore helps relieve everyday stress.
Can CBD Calm Athletes’ Nerves Enough To Actually Increase Their Performance?
Maybe. While research on CBD, stress, and athletic performance is limited at best, it does show promise. By potentially soothing the angst associated with game-day stress, consuming CBD might just help athletes’ A-game.
Dr. J. H. Atkinson, co-director of the University of California’s Center for Medical Cannabis Research, says that while there isn’t much research, the studies that show CBD acting on parts of the brain linked to stress show potential that “is certainly worth investigating” when it comes to athletic performance.
Using CBD To Support Athletic Health:
With the increasing popularity of CBD, all kinds of athletes are becoming increasingly interested in using it to support their sport. Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has called CBD a “miracle oil.” MMA fighter Nate Diaz openly vaped CBD during a live interview after a fight, praising its benefits and openly advocating for its acceptance. Olympic medalists Amy Van Dyken and Lolo Jones are a couple of others on the long list of professional athletes who have found support with CBD.
Even the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) changed its stance on CBD in 2018, making CBD use legal in competition. They did not, however, change their stance on cannabis completely, noting:
“All other cannabinoids, including THC and the more than 115 other identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, as well as all synthetic cannabinoids, are prohibited in-competition.”
WADA also warned:
“It’s important to realize that CBD products may still contain prohibited cannabinoid components, such as THC.”
While trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less) are legal in CBD products and are not enough to cause any psychoactive effects, these tiny amounts of THC could show up in blood or urine tests. WADA maintains:
“Athletes subject to anti-doping rules are strictly liable for any substance found in their blood or urine.”
This is why many professional and amateur athletes that are regularly drug tested find that using a broad spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate might be more beneficial than using a CBD product with trace amounts of THC. While there are still quite a few unknowns about the role of CBD and its influence on athletes, it’s quickly becoming a staple for athletes and fitness lovers nationwide.