CBD or cannabidiol is all the rage right now, and for good reason: it can help a wide variety of issues, both physical and mental, all without a prescription, exorbitant fees, or unwanted side effects.
The effects of CBD, which include reduction of pain and inflammation, better sleep, and lower stress, are particularly well-suited to athletes, a group of people constantly under physical and mental stress.
It’s no wonder, then, that even pro athletes such as NFL-player Rob Gronkowski and UFC-fighter Nate Diaz are touting its benefits.
If you’re an athlete, CBD may turn out to be your new best friend. There’s probably one question on your mind though, and that’s…
Is CBD Legal for Athletes?
The answer is yes. Prior to 2018, CBD was listed as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Luckily, though, due to increased awareness of its benefits – not to mention the fact that it’s not THC and therefore not psychoactive – this is no longer the case.
Now that we’ve gotten this important point out of the way, let’s take a look at some benefits CBD can have specifically for athletes.
CBD is a Great Painkiller
Inflammation is a constant problem for athletes. While a little bit of inflammation is good since it helps you pace your regimen, sometimes the body overcompensates, leading to pain and longer recovery times.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen or opiates like codeine have long been the go-to for athletes dealing with pain, but these come with their own risks. Overuse of NSAIDs has been increasingly linked to kidney problems or even issues like heart attacks or strokes.
Opiates, on the other hand, come with a chance of addiction and accidental overdose.
It’s no wonder, then, that many athletes are looking for other options.
Enter CBD. CBD is a non-habit forming, all-natural supplement that makes an excellent alternative to these kinds of drugs.
There’s strong evidence produced by multiple studies that CBD works as a potent anti-inflammatory, meaning it can help athletes push their bodies harder and faster.
It can also help with joint pain, which explains why so many people suffering from arthritis are turning to it.
One great thing about CBD is that it’s available in topical form and so can be applied directly to the problem area for quicker recovery.
CBD Reduces Mental Stress
It’s easy to feel uptight before the day of your big event and, what with needing to sleep and get ready you might not have time for breathing exercises!
CBD’s benefits as a relaxant are one of its most discussed – that’s why people with chronic anxiety issues have started giving it a try, too. It binds with the receptors of our endocannabinoid system to release endorphins, and can also reduce the circulation of stress hormones like cortisol.
For athletes, having a clear mind with your head in the game is pretty important, and CBD can help you get that calm, confident thought pattern you need to bring your best.
Chronic stress has also been linked to all sorts of issues that could spell havoc for athletes such as insomnia, increased muscle tension, or just plain old performance anxiety.
Once again, CBD will keep you from having to take drugs such as Xanax which can easily become habit-forming.
CBD Reduces Physical Stress
Since it reduces mental stress, CBD helps to relax your muscles – mental calm equals physical calm, after all.
CBD use may also increase the efficacy of GABA, which is a chemical that’s important in helping your body calm down after exercise.
You’ve probably heard of oxidative stress, something that’s important for athletes to minimize since too much of it can make your muscles feel sore. Well, CBD also works as an antioxidant!
CBD Helps You Sleep
Although working out and training for events can help you get a good night’s sleep, sometimes it seems to do the opposite by stimulating your mind and body so you can’t get any shut-eye.
This is terrible for athletes, who need to keep their bodies in peak condition and don’t want to rely on coffee or other stimulants to get a short boost of energy and then crash later.
CBD can facilitate better communication between neurotransmitters that help you to feel calm and allow you to fall asleep. And since it can have you feeling less stressed, you’re more likely to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Athletes need high-quality sleep and plenty of it to recharge their muscles and get back in the game.
CBD is a great anti-inflammatory in itself, but sleep also helps the body to heal.
CBD Helps You Recover Faster
Earlier we mentioned the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is the bodily system with which cannabinoids like CBD interact – in fact, there are chemicals within our bodies that are very similar to CBD.
The ECS is involved in maintaining homeostasis by keeping your body at baseline. If you’re an athlete, you’re constantly pushing your body. Taking CBD gives your body a larger supply of cannabinoids to work with, meaning it can recover from a strenuous workout faster.
It also helps you recover faster indirectly by giving you better sleep and reducing muscle tension.
Overall, CBD really is a potent substance for anyone involved in athletics. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, along with its ability to reduce mental and muscular stress and ensure a good night’s sleep, make it a powerful combination that’s definitely worth a try for athletes. You may soon find yourself the next athlete praising its benefits.