CBD for athletes
The body of an athlete is subject to immense physical stress, which has its pros and cons. In result of regular exercise there is possibility for trauma. In case of such trauma the use of painkillers might be necessary. Most over the counter pain medication is very effective, but usually – quite harmful if used regularly. In the last few years, a discussion about CBD as a painkiller has emerged in the public domain.
Daily use of commercially available pain medication is associated with far greater health risks than ever thought before. Every year tens of thousands of people die from legal opioid overdose, as a consequence of their addictiveness. People’s desire for alternative methods of reducing physical pain are completely understandable. Are CBD products for you? There’s a lot of information to consider so get comfy and start reading!
Some functions of CBD:
Maximizes macro- and micro-nutrient absorption in the body.
Inhibits catabolism, minimizes stress-related inflammation processes.
Helps regeneration of neurons (nerve cells) after physical exhaustion.
Contributes to appetite after physical stress.
Betters your sleep and reduces mental stress. Promotes secretion of growth hormones.
Enhances mechanisms of regeneration of the body and is considered an “Elixir of youth”.
Are athletes allowed to use CBD?
– Yes! In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the prohibited substances list.
What is CBD? Why would I need CBD as an athlete?
– CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid that is found in hemp plants. Chemically it is very similar to a group of compounds that is produced by the human brain – endocannabinoids. These endogenous substances take the role of natural painkillers in our bodies. Asides from CBD there are many more cannabinoids found in the hemp plant (THC, CBN, CBG etc.), but cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects in contrast to THC for example. CBD should be viewed as a dietary supplement for your endocannabinoid system.
CBD is a great alternative for NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) drugs (for example: ibuprofen and naproxen-sodium) considering the extensive research regarding the side-effects of these drugs. Long distance runners should be especially careful with their NSAID use because research indicates a correlation between renal damage and the use of these drugs by long distance athletes. Cardio-vascular diseases are also associated with NSAID use. What is interesting is that there are no official records of people dying as a consequence of ingesting hemp products.
In cases of severe and deep pain opioids (morphine, codeine, OxyContin etc.) are often used. But sadly 42 000 people a year die of opioid overdose in America alone. No, CBD cannot completely replace opioids, but it is possible to use CBD in combination with these drugs resulting in a need for smaller doses, thus reducing the risk of addiction.
One of the main reasons athletes drop out of races or competitions are gastro-intestinal problems. Of course, CBD will not solve situations that are caused by dehydration or improper diet, but in other cases may ease any inflammatory problems. The substance responsible for inflammation is cytokine, which is controlled by the endogenous endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids bind to the CB2 receptors in our brains and the periphery nervous system. CBD also binds to the same receptors and that is the reason why it can be used to ease inflammation.
Research suggests that CBD improves the quality of sleep. It tells your body to release more ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is then broken down into adenosine, which is responsible for the quality of sleep and being able to stay calm during high stress situations.
How do you consume CBD?
Nowadays CBD is found in many forms: pills, capsules, tinctures, creams, sport drinks, vaporizers, teas and much more. The difference is the speed of absorption. Pills and capsules are the slowest. Tinctures and creams are faster acting. But the quickest means of absorbing CBD in your body is breathing in the vapor via a vaporizer.
It is possible to find two kinds of CBD products – isolate and full spectrum CBD. Isolate is a chemically pure form, which contains no impurities. Full spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids and terpenes. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency has become increasingly more tolerant towards the concentration of THC in blood (now it is 150 ng/mL), but if you do not wish to ingest it at all it is safer to choose the isolate.
Cannabidiol (CBD) use in situations of both chronic and acute pain situations could mean a great impact to the whole sports industry. The main problem today is the fact that CBD is still being researched and there are a lot of unanswered questions. But this is not the first time that we something like this. When the carbohydrate rich sports drinks came into the market for the first time, it was clear that they improved performance, but the exact reasons were still unknown.
Considering the fact that CBD is a pain medication, an anti-inflammatory, and a sleeping aid, it is clear that it has potential to improve the performance of athletes. Furthermore if it has the possibility to decrease NSAID and opioid use it is a road worth investigating!