Five Reasons Athletes are Flocking to CBD
BY DR. HAMAD SHAFQAT
Athletes are known to have strong and resilient bodies with impressive adaptation abilities, which enables them to quickly recover from hard workouts. Being resilient doesn’t mean that they won’t suffer from injuries, muscle soreness, or overexertion. Being a professional athlete is all about enhancing performance which can be severely affected by pain caused by inflammation. Although physical discomfort is a common part of an athlete’s life it can also affect the quality of life for weekend warriors and recreational athletes as well especially as we age.
Many people rely on over-the-counter pain relievers for pain management and improved sports recovery. But there are many health risks associated with such pain relievers. One newfound natural alternative that has become very popular in the sports community is Cannabidiol (CBD).
This article explains some reasons why everyone, from athletes to those who simply have an active lifestyle, is singing CBD’s praises.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD) and How it Works?
CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants and must contain less than .3% to be legal. That is why it does not make you “high.” Our body has an “endocannabinoid system,” which is responsible for regulating homeostasis, cognitive function, pain perception, and the central nervous system. CBD works with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system – the endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are basically naturally occurring neurotransmitters that bind to Cannabinoids made by the body as well as those found in cannabis. CBD consumption has been shown in many cases to improve the functioning of the endocannabinoid system in the body. (1)
As a result of a hard workout, athletes put a lot of stress on their muscles which can result in extreme pain and stress, often overloading their endocannabinoid system’s ability to respond. Today, a growing number of people with active lifestyles, including fitness enthusiasts, are flocking to CBD as part of their recovery regimen.
CBD And Athletic Performance
As an athlete, when your muscles are exposed to stress because of strenuous exercise, it may result in an injury. A healthy immune system will start repairing the damaged muscles immediately and, in the process, make your muscles stronger and bigger. Next time, your workout will be a lot easier than the previous one.
However, exercise also causes many changes in the body, ranging from hormonal fluctuations, fluid loss to caloric depletion. Your body has to go through all these changes, and it requires time to recover. A healthy diet and sufficient sleep help you recover. But what about lost energy, muscle damage, and unbalanced hormones? They need to be treated as well to facilitate recovery. This is where CBD comes in. (2)
Benefits of CBD For Improved Athletic Performance
The following are some reasons why athletes and people with active lifestyles should consider CBD as an alternative to over-the-counter medications:
1. CBD Helps with Inflammation
Inflammation is good for athletes because it helps stimulate positive training adaptations. But continuous over-exertion and muscle injuries can increase inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation in the body is the biggest barrier to enhanced performance because it can impede recovery time and cause chronic illness.
CBD acts as a potential anti-inflammatory agent that helps you recover faster by reducing pre-workout and post-workout inflammation. CBD binds to the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and reduces inflammation by suppressing the production of cytokines, inducing the healthy elimination of defective cells, and maintain balance in the body. (3)
2. CBD Relieves Pain
CBD has been found to be very effective in reducing muscle pain and stiff joints caused by exercise and vigorous activity. THC has also been used to relieve pain, but it also causes unwanted side effects. By acting directly on the endocannabinoid system, CBD removes free radicals, inflammation, and restores balance, thus providing relief from chronic pain. (4)
With aging, people with active lifestyles experience pain, such as joint pain or pain related to arthritis. Consumption of CBD as an analgesic has been known to significantly reduce pain resulting from stiff joints, sore muscles, and injuries from days gone by. Moreover, evidence continues to accumulate that CBD is a safe alternative to NSAIDs and opioids for long-term pain management. (5)
3. It Alleviates Stress
As an athlete, you probably know how stressful competitive sports can be. One of the greatest benefits that CBD offers is stress reduction. Hanse Selye defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” If you’re under stress, you are at greater risk of arthritis, stroke, and heart attack.
Some studies have demonstrated that daily consumption of as little as 25 mg of CBD can be very helpful in calming the nervous system under stress. (6)
4. It Improves Sleep Quality
Not having enough sleep can slow down the recovery time after a workout. Achieving greater training gains is highly associated with better sleep quality. CBD consumption has been linked by many studies to your body’s ability to have a more restful night’s sleep.
A study reported that CBD treated sleep disorders in 36 participants by inhibiting the reuptake of adenosine, an organic compound which plays a critical role in our metabolic system. CBD has anti-anxiety effects, which can help you get more restful sleep. (7)
5. Acts as an Adaptogen To Aid Recovery from Strenuous Exercise
Adaptogens are plant-based compounds that are known to help the body resist and adapt to various stressors. If you want your body to better adapt to the training sessions as an athlete, CBD may be helpful because it balances the bodily changes and helps accelerate muscular recovery. CBD works with your endocannabinoid system to improve sleep quality, reduce inflammation and pain, regulate your mood, appetite and metabolism. CBD, when used with other adaptogens, such as ginger root or turmeric, activates the endocannabinoid system and promotes physiological balance. (8)
Types of CBD Products
There are many methods of using CBD. The most popular forms of CBD include:
CBD Capsules: CBD capsules are a popular way to consume CBD because they provide consistent servings and are easy to take. They are easily incorporated into your daily routine just like a daily multi-vitamin.
CBD Tinctures: CBD tinctures can provide you with fast relief from pain and inflammation. Tinctures are a concentrated form of CBD liquid, which you hold under your tongue for thirty seconds to two minutes for maximum effect. CBD tinctures can also be added to coffee, tea, dressings, smoothies, and soups.
Topical CBD: If a daily workout is causing you aches and pains, topical CBD in the form of a therapeutic balm can be used by applying it to the skin. CBD oil when rubbed into sore muscles and joints can reduce inflammation and pain and help you get through the day. (9)\
About First Crop: First Crop is a public benefit company dedicated to healing people and planet. First Crop’s CBD products are USDA-certified organic and its CBD oil is extracted from hemp that is grown using strict organic and regenerative farming practices. The First Crop product line includes capsules, tinctures and topicals that are formulated to promote overall wellness, reduce stress, improve sleep and relieve inflammation and pain caused by sore joints and muscles.
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- Benefits of CBD for Athletic Recovery & Maintaining Your Active Lifestyle [Internet]. Transworld SKATEboarding. 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 7]. Available from: https://skateboarding.transworld.net/magazine-archive/benefits-of-cbd-for-athletic-recovery-maintaining-your-active-lifestyle/
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- Fine PG, Rosenfeld MJ. The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Med J [Internet]. 2013 Oct [cited 2021 Apr 7];4(4). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820295/
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- Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J [Internet]. 2019 Jan 7 [cited 2021 Apr 7];23. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
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