It may come as a surprise to some readers that CBD is completely legal for use in professional sports. While there are many substances that are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, in early 2018 they removed CBD from their list of prohibited substances. This means that, as long as a product contains only CBD and no THC, athletes are free to use it, whether during training or competition. Many athletes, both amateur and professional, have celebrated this news, considering CBD to be invaluable for training, recovery, and the healing of sports-related injuries. Perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves, however; before we get into the minutiae of CBD in sports, we should offer a brief introduction: what, exactly, is CBD? And why is it legal in sports, when related compounds, such as THC, are not?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and is one of several active compounds found in the cannabis plant. When consumed, whether through vaping, ingestion, or as a topical, CBD binds with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, creating a variety of beneficial effects. While it is related to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, it is not the same compound and does not produce the same effects. CBD is actually not psychoactive; at least, not in the same way that THC is. It does not produce a feeling of being “stoned,” or “high.” Although CBD is used to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and thus does affect the brain, it won’t impair users in the way marijuana does. Due to this important distinction, CBD is perfectly legal in sports, and is widely used by athletes of many disciplines.
Benefits Of CBD
While many different benefits of CBD have been reported, this article is specifically about the compound’s use in sports. Therefore, we will focus on the benefits that have been reported by athletes specifically. However, the uses of CBD extend far beyond the sports world, and we encourage you to research further if the topic interests you.
Largely due to the fact that its acceptance into the mainstream is a somewhat recent phenomenon, scientific studies of CBD are only now beginning to be undertaken regularly. Despite this, there has been a decent amount of research into CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties; it’s perhaps these properties that make CBD popular among athletes and sports stars. Many athletes say CBD helps to reduce soreness after a long day of training, as a pain reliever, and to help ameliorate the symptoms of joint injuries. This can be a game-changer for some athletes, as they are able to use CBD to help bounce back from injuries that may otherwise be crippling or even career-ending.
CBD has also been studied for its stress-relieving properties. Because of this, athletes often use it to help reduce the inevitable anxiety that occurs before a major competition. Perhaps even more importantly, a lot of people have found CBD to be an excellent natural sleep-aid. Because sleep is so critical to recovery after training and before competitions, CBD can be used to help athletes get into their best shape before competitions.
Recovery And Performance
The benefits of CBD for recovery directly translates to improved performance. More sleep equals more energy for training the next day; not to mention helping one feel one’s best before a big competition. Reduced swelling and inflammation leads to faster recovery; this means athletes who use CBD products believe they can train harder, for longer, helping them to become the best versions of themselves.
CBD and Weight Loss
Another one of the primary benefits athletes have claimed CBD offers is its use for weight management. Preliminary studies by the Polish Academy of Sciences have appeared to back this up; if true, it will mean CBD has another major benefit for athletes, whether professional or amateur. Professional athletes who may otherwise struggle to make weight before competition claim that CBD helps them lose weight faster. Amateurs for whom sports are a hobby and who use them to stay in shape may also benefit from the use of CBD for weight loss.
CBD in Sports
The Big3 basketball league was the first professional sports organization to allow its team members to use CBD. Basketball players paved the way for athletes to use CBD. Now, many other professional sports leagues have followed suit. CBD products are now widely used in the NFL (National Football League), the NHL (National Hockey League), Major League Baseball, and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). It’s very popular among professional golfers, such as PGA tour golfer Bubba Watson, as well.
Besides these, bodybuilders, cyclists, triathletes, and many others use CBD. Amateur athletes have also touted the use of CBD in sports. Because CBD is nontoxic and non-habit forming, it’s in use by athletes of all ages. This even includes high school age sports teams and older individuals who use sports to stay in shape.
How To Use CBD
If you want to try CBD for your sports recovery and performance, keep in mind it comes in many forms. It is perhaps most popular as an oil (also called tincture). The best way to take this is sublingually, or under the tongue. For athletes, many prefer the hard-to-find High Potency CBD oil. Other athletes may prefer to consume their CBD in edible form; like CBD chocolate. CBD also works as a topical; it is an ingredient in creams and oils for direct application to the skin. If an athlete is using CBD to reduce inflammation in a specific area, such as the joints of the knee, a topical cream may be the most effective.
Regardless of the method of consumption, however, CBD will be effective as long as it can be absorbed by the body. The speed at which it takes effect may depend on how the user consumes it. For example, CBD tincture under the tongue may work faster than eating CBD chocolate, which will require the compound to bypass the digestive system before it can enter the bloodstream.