For athletes, peak performance is the name of the game. You’re always pushing your body to new heights, and the wear-and-tear that results can have a major impact on your health, your comfort, and your mood.
With the surge in popularity and availability of CBD products, more and more athletes are taking notice and asking how regular CBD use can fit into an active lifestyle. But when your body is a finely-tuned machine, you need to know exactly how the products affect your body, their effects on athletic performance, and whether CBD oil will run afoul of any organization rules and regulations.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBD FOR ATHLETES, AND WHICH PRODUCTS HELP THE MOST?
Let’s get something out of the way: CBD oil is NOT a performance-enhancing substance — at least not in the traditional sense. It won’t make you run faster, jump higher, or throw farther. Unlike steroids and other performance enhancers, CBD for athletes plays only a supporting role by facilitating the body’s natural recovery processes. The benefits of CBD oil can be significant, however, and athletes at the highest levels are increasingly turning to CBD as part of their training and recovery regimen.
No matter who you are, caring for your body is vital — all the more so for athletes, who need to make sure that they are always performing at their physical best. But with all the wear and tear that sports put on the body, that’s not exactly an easy task. Sport and exercise can cause significant physical pain (both from the normal stress of training and from injury), and can also lead to intense anxiety as a result of competition.
CBD works through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (the ECS), an important part of the human nervous system. The ECS influences a truly massive variety of biological functions — many of which are crucial to athletic performance — including sleep regulation, pain perception, and how the body copes with stress. Because so many of these functions are essential for a healthy body, many athletes swear that CBD oil benefits them by keeping them at the top of their game.
It’s important to note that formal research into the full range of CBD oil benefits and effects is ongoing — but user reports and early studies overwhelmingly confirm that the compound benefits a number of functions vital to peak athletic performance. Here are a few of the key ways that athletes report CBD oil benefits their active lifestyle:
CBD for pain management
- For small-to-moderate scale pain from sports-related injuries, CBD use can be a powerful tool that helps athletes manage their bodies’ needs. For more significant injuries, however, athletes should be sure to consult their healthcare professional. CBD can still be a vital tool for treatment, but your physician may want for you to consider additional treatment measures to assist in your long-term recovery.
- Some research has found that CBD use can help the body to successfully recover from traumatic injuries. While you should always consult your doctor about the recovery process – and CBD is certainly not a cure-all – these early findings are an exciting benefit for athletes, who regularly push their bodies to the limit.
- Best CBD for pain products:
- CBD Oil Tinctures: Taken under the tongue, CBD oils are a fast-acting delivery mechanism that are perfect for addressing low-to-moderate pain in joints and muscles. Oils also allow users to carefully measure their dosage and intake, giving precise control and easy adjustments to adequately treat flare-ups. Additionally, CBD oils can be added to any post-workout formula for added athletic relief.
- CBD Vapes: When you need relief and you need it now, no CBD oil product is faster-acting than inhalants such as CBD vape oils and smokable flower. CBD vapes are particularly attractive for athletes, as they have a reduced impact on the respiratory system when compared with CBD flower and hemp buds. Vapable CBD oil is also ideal because it allows users to easily make adjustments to their treatment throughout the day, and to feel the effects almost immediately.
CBD for workout recovery
- CBD’s potential as an anti-inflammatory is one of its best-documented features. Perfect for taking the edge off of sore muscles and achy joints, CBD oil benefits athletes whose intensive workouts have left them sore and tired.
- Best CBD products for workout recovery:
- CBD Topicals: If you’re looking to treat localized inflammation or muscle and joint pain resulting from workouts or other repetitive stress, look no further than topicals. Unlike oils, vapes, and edibles, CBD topicals create a local effect, targeting only the body’s endocannabinoid receptors that are closest to the application site. Because of this, the full effects of CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain relief potential is focused exactly where it’s needed most.
CBD for anxiety, stress, and mood
- Athletes competing at the highest levels are often subjected to intense emotional and mental strain. Left unaddressed, this anxiety can be an anchor around your neck, weighing you down and holding you back from performing your best. Many users report using CBD for stress and anxiety, and that regular CBD use creates a subtle but powerful positive effect.
- CBD may also help to manage the psychological strain of athletic competition. Many users report that the compound fosters a sense of focused calm and clear-headed relaxation, which athletes may find useful when preparing for even the most high-stakes competition.
- Best CBD for anxiety products:
- CBD Capsules and CBD Oil Tinctures: Both require very little preparation or cleanup, and are unlikely to add any significant strain to your daily routine. They offer quick and convenient dosage, and it is easy to make modifications to your dosage as necessary.
- CBD Vapes: Just like for pain management, CBD Vape products offer potent CBD oil benefits with an almost instantaneous delivery speed. For acute anxiety or sudden flare-ups, accept no substitute: CBD oil vapes will offer powerful, customizable relief at a moment’s notice.
CBD for diet and appetite control
- You may be surprised to see this listed as a potential benefit of CBD, but early research shows that regular CBD use may actually reduce hunger and help users feel full for longer. Regardless of the sport, all athletes must carefully control their diet, weight-gain, and muscle development, and this function of CBD is a powerful tool for keeping your body running like a well-oiled machine.
- Some reports have also found that CBD helps improve the effectiveness of insulin in the bloodstream; this contributes to a reduction in the number of undesirable “white fat” cells that contribute to weight-gain, sluggishness, and decreased performance.
- Best CBD products for diet and appetite control:
- CBD Capsules and CBD Oil Tinctures: Both of these products require very little preparation and offer long-lasting relief. Although you do swallow these products, they will have only a miniscule impact on your caloric intake. And because they target the endocannabinoid system generally, they promote a feeling of full-body wellness and contribute to lasting appetite control.
CBD AND ATHLETIC DRUG TESTS, DOPING, AND ORGANIZATIONAL RESTRICTIONS
Even knowing the range of potent CBD oil benefits available to athletes, it’s important to consider how various athletic organizations view the cannabinoid. Is CBD use considered doping? Will it show up on drug tests, or otherwise cause bureaucratic issues for athletes seeking CBD oil’s benefits? Because so many athletic agencies and organizations have strict anti-doping policies, these are vitally important questions for athletes, who need to be confident that everything they put in their body is safe, legal, and will not run afoul of their organization’s rules and regulations.
In general, the news here is good. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is one of the world’s key athletic regulatory bodies; they create the substance policies used by the Olympic Committee, and their rules have a way of trickling down to other regional organizations. Although WADA enforces strict policies prohibiting the use of most cannabinoids, it has made a specific exception for CBD! Because of this, athletes operating on the world stage are free to enjoy all the CBD oil benefits to their body, their mind, and their workout recovery.
Furthermore, CBD will not show up on standard drug tests, even those testing for marijuana. However, athletic organizations’ testing routines are often more thorough and comprehensive, testing for a wide range of substances — sometimes including CBD. It’s important that you carefully review the restrictions put in place by your individual athletic organization. Local and regional sports associations often have their own list of banned and restricted substances. While it is extremely rare for such organizations to explicitly discriminate against CBD, the compound’s relationship with cannabis may implicate a ban in some broadly-stated policies. As such, athletes should be sure to consult their individual associations to ensure that CBD usage is permitted.
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