Updated: Feb 20, 2021
The use of CBD supplements to improve physical and mental health and well-being is gaining traction across all sectors of society, including athletes, both professional and amateur. While a formal research study investigating the direct correlation between CBD and sports performance is currently lacking, several preclinical studies and clinical trials in the non-athlete populations provide the basis for this discussion.
In summary, the research article titled “Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: A Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research” highlights the fact that “CBD has been reported to exert a number of physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects that have the potential to benefit athletes.”
At the outset of this article, it is essential to note that it is vital to purchase CBD supplements that are manufactured from cannabis that is grown from high quality cannabis seeds and where the CBD is extracted from the plants in a hygienic, professional laboratory. It is not a good idea to purchase black-market CBD-based products as they might include contaminants and other cannabinoids like THC.
Is CBD banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency?
CBD was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances in 2018. However, it is critical to be mindful of the fact that THC is still banned by most major sports leagues and athletic organizations. Athletes should not test positive for THC when taking a CBD supplement.
However, the caveat here is that, as highlighted above, it is vital to make sure that the CBD-based supplement is manufactured in a professional, hygienic laboratory and not by a home-based supplier.
Secondly, it is necessary to read the product labels before purchasing the product to ensure that the CBD is extracted from a plant, such as hemp, that has negligible THC levels.
The benefits of using CBD as an athlete
The pertinent point of this discussion is that CBD has many of the same benefits as THC but without the psychoactive effects. By way of expanding on this statement, let’s look at some of the merits of using CBD as a natural preparation to improve physical and mental health and well-being.
Helps with Pain Relief
CBD-based products are one of the fastest growing treatments for athletes suffering from post-training or post-workout aches and pains. As highlighted above, non-clinical or anecdotal evidence shows that millions of people across the globe use CBD products to help them recover quicker from strenuous workouts by reducing muscle pain.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Pain often causes anxiety in athletes as they tend to worry about how their pain and soreness will affect and even prevent further workouts. When an injury causes pain, athletes become anxious about the extent of the damage and when they will be able to resume training for their next competition or event.
CBD products also have an added benefit to pain relief in that they are successfully used as an anxiolytic to treat high anxiety and stress levels. Not only does this help athletes perform at their best, but it also improves their post-workout, training, or match recovery by reducing stress and anxiety levels and having a calming effect on the body.
Strengthens the Athlete’s Immune System
Moderate exercise seems to reduce the body’s susceptibility to illness when compared to high levels of inactivity. On the other hand, intense exercise and long periods of intense training can increase the risk of contracting colds and flu after a hard exercise session.
An inflammatory response is the body’s natural after-effect of strenuous workouts. These inflammations can prevent athletes from continuing with their training schedule. Using CBD-based preparations have anti-inflammatory properties, suppressing the inflammatory response, ensuring that muscle strains and injuries do not occur.
Increases Muscle Mass
CBD’s ability to improve the body’s recovery process also helps with muscle growth. Therefore, CBD-based products are particularly beneficial for athletes who need to focus on muscle-building strength exercises. In other words, the prevention of inflammation and enhanced recovery time and process helps athletes build muscle faster.