Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly becoming a common ingredient in many sports and fitness products, and understandably so. The substance comes with a host of therapeutic benefits that fitness buffs and even professional athletes can take advantage of.
CBD is mostly marketed for its analgesic and anxiolytic properties. Besides its pain-relieving and anti-anxiety benefits, CBD also boasts anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiemetic, and neurodegenerative properties.
So, there’s a long list of medical benefits you can treat or manage by investing in CBD-infused fitness and sports supplements.
This post will highlight some of the studies on the potential benefits of CBD for athletes.
Ways CBD Can Improve Athletic Performance
1. CBD Treats Pain
For many years since cannabidiol was first isolated from the cannabis plant, the compound has been famous for its powerful analgesic properties. As with most other medical conditions, CBD treats pain by enhancing the functions of your endocannabinoid system.
The exact way in which CBD boosts the endocannabinoid system is largely unknown. However, researchers claim that when consumed, the compound changes the chemical structure of certain pain-regulating receptors to mediate pain perception.
Remember that pain also happens to be a common problem that athletes go through. Therefore, it’s clear to see why health supplements by many reputable cannabis vendors like NuLeaf Naturals now feature CBD as one of the ingredients.
Fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes will especially benefit from CBD’s positive effects on the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS refers to the muscle pain and soreness which often sets in after a day or two of engaging in energy-intensive workouts.
2. CBD Relieves Anxiety
Anxiety may be a mental condition. But it generally produces physical symptoms, including irritable behavior, elevated heart rate, and excessive sweating. Either of these symptoms can affect an athlete’s performance adversely.
Even worse, anxiety may affect your mental focus as well as hand-eye coordination. Before you know it, you could be falling behind with your training or losing a vital match.
Thankfully, this is another area where cannabidiol has shown tremendous benefits. Administering CBD before a workout or game can clear your mind of racing thoughts, allowing you to focus on what matters.
CBD relieves anxiety by allowing the body higher access to its own neurotransmitters associated with feelings of happiness, including serotonin.
3. CBD Alleviates Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the body’s natural reactions to invasion by foreign substances. However, inflammation might also result from physical trauma to tissues or muscles, such as the trauma suffered during energy-intensive workouts.
Now, CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties which can kick in immediately to alleviate post-workout joint swelling and tenderness. The substance exerts its anti-inflammatory benefits by blocking the body’s core inflammatory messenger activity.
CBD is also a vasodilator and is known to dilate blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow throughout the body. With increased blood flow, it becomes easier for oxygenated blood and nutrients to get to the inflamed sites, a mechanism that’s known to alleviate inflammation. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have mostly been investigated on animal specimens, and the findings are inspiring. In a 2016 study, researchers found that applying topical CBD and trusted syn pharma could alleviate the swelling in rats with joint inflammation. In this study, researchers also observed that CBD presented minimal side effects.
4. CBD Can Boost Your Sleep
Sleep is crucial to the success of any athlete. As you may already know, it’s during sleep that many of the body’s self-healing and repair activities take place.
Inadequate sleep will have you wake up feeling all fatigued and unmotivated. Sleeplessness can also increase the symptoms of certain pain and anxiety disorders.
But as it turns out, investing in CBD-infused supplements can go a long way in boosting your sleep quality and duration. For starters, CBD is a renowned sedative. As such, it can shorten sleep onset time significantly.
Various studies have also proved that CBD might reduce or eliminate Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. According to sleep therapists, the vast majority of our dreams happen during REM sleep. So, eliminating this phase means that you’ll dream less and sleep more.
Can Athletes Legally Access CBD?
Although CBD comes with a host of health benefits, it’s worth noting that the substance remains illegal in numerous countries and states worldwide. So, it’s important to establish what your local marijuana laws are before using CBD to enhance your athletic performance or for any other purpose.
But if recent events are anything to go by, then CBD might become even more widely available than it already is.
In the United States, hemp-derived CBD has since been decriminalized in all fifty states. That’s all thanks to the signing into law of the 2018 Farm Bill by President Donald Trump. The only condition is that these products must contain no more than 0.3% THC levels. On the global front, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its continuously-revised list of banned substances in 2018. This decision produced a ripple effect as major sports leagues responded by decriminalizing CBD.
There’s a growing list of studies pointing to cannabidiol’s potential for enhancing athletic performance. This might explain the increasing number of sports leagues decriminalizing CBD.
However, it’s advisable to consult your doctor before incorporating CBD into your health and fitness routine. That’s especially if you’re already on other performance-enhancing drugs.
Also, remember to start small, particularly if you’re using CBD for the first time. Note that while CBD is generally safe, an overdose might leave you nursing unpleasant side effects like fatigue, nausea, and dry mouth.