Athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies, to a positive and negative effect. Training stress stimulates adaptation and increased performance, but physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear also lead to injuries and pain. Current methods of pain management are effective, but also pose great health risks. In search of improved sports recovery and safer pain relief, many people are asking about cannabidiol or CBD for athletes. The use of CBD in professional sports is increasing.
Benefits of using CBD in your diet.
We are all familiar with the infamous ‘runner’s high,’ that magical feeling of hard-earned bliss and contentment that washes over you after an intense exercise.
Interestingly, the cause for this euphoria is not due entirely to endorphins, as once thought, but is in part due to anandamide – a fatty acid neurotransmitter that is almost identical to THC. Anandamide is detectable at elevated levels after a workout.
Anandamide is the ‘bliss chemical’ produced naturally in our bodies and is responsible for feelings of euphoria, pain-relief, well-being, and relaxation. CBD directly increases the amount of anandamide available to our bodies, resulting in increased benefits, and decreased side-effects, from enjoying your favorite workout routine.
Additional benefits of CBD for athletes include:
- Pain and Inflammation: CBD inhibits pain and inflammation through various means, including affecting the TRPV1 receptor, glycine receptors, and adenosine receptors. [S]
- Nausea: CBD is an effective antiemetic, which can help with nausea and feeling of sickness during intense physical training in professional sports. [S]
- Appetite Stimulation: CBD indirectly stimulates appetite, assisting those such as MMA fighters and power-lifters to consume the added calories needed for building muscle.
- Muscle Spasms: Strained muscles, dehydration, trauma, and damage to the nerves or spinal cord often cause uncomfortable muscle spasms which are treatable with CBD. [S]
- Concussion Protection: CBD has the ability to disrupt the flow of chemicals during a concussion that leads to brain cell death, acting as a neuroprotectant. [S]
This is just a small look into how CBD oil helps not only high-performance athletes but also anyone interested in enhancing the results they experience from exercise. And perhaps one of the greatest potential benefits for exercise enthusiasts is CBD oil’s ability to reducing post-exercise pain and discomfort.
Is CBD legal for athletes?
Yes. Starting at the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances – in or out of the competition. (Here is the 2019 WADA, Prohibited List.) The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did the same. There is an important caveat: ONLY CBD was removed from the prohibited list. The psychoactive component of marijuana, THC, is still prohibited in competition, as are synthetic cannabinoids. The specific wording is: “The following cannabinoids are prohibited: Natural cannabinoids, e.g. cannabis, hashish and marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids e.g. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabimimetic.”
Interestingly, WADA set a urinary threshold of 150 nanograms per millilitre for THC, which is substantially more lenient than the previous limit of 15 nanograms per millilitre. The higher threshold is designed to lower the risk of an athlete testing positive due to casual use outside of competition.
Thus, it is possible to use full-spectrum CBD oils for exercise and training leading to the competition.