7 reasons to use CBD as an athlete
CBD is seemingly everywhere these days, and for good reason. Every day, more and more people discover CBD and its natural balancing benefits, thanks to word-of-mouth and media coverage. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a nourishing, non-intoxicating compound derived from the cannabis plant that is proving to be a valuable tool for all different types of people, of all age groups.
So it’s no surprise that athletes are now looking to CBD to help encourage their bodies to perform at their best. From rugby players in England to skiers in Colorado, all types of athletes from all around the world are using CBD prior to workouts and competition to help them train harder and perform better. They’re also finding that using CBD oil products after vigorous training can help naturally boost recovery and encourage balance.
But just as the everyday wellness consumer has questions about CBD, so do athletes. If you’re an athlete, you may wonder why CBD is beneficial to you, whether it’s legal or considered doping, how much you should use and when, and much more. This article covers everything that an athlete like you needs to know about CBD.
Why consider CBD as an athlete
Many sports push the human body to the brink of its capabilities. Taking CBD products before, during, and after training can help athletes perform at peak levels and recover faster each day.
It’s no secret these days that CBD can give many athletes the edge they need. Regardless of whether you compete at an amateur or professional level, CBD offers unique benefits that can help your body reach and maintain balance, and subsequently perform at its peak. From field hockey players to cyclists, CBD offers unique performance and health benefits.
For professional athletes in particular, CBD derived from the hemp plant can be a wonderfully valuable training tool. We all know that once elite athletes reach a certain level, the difference between them winning and losing comes down to very small margins. CBD, through its natural effects on the body and its systems, can give these pro athletes the extra natural boost they need to perform at their best and reach new levels.
CBD offers its unique benefits for athletes due to its ability to positively influence the body’s endocannabinoid system, a central regulatory system tasked with keeping the body in balance or homeostasis. Regardless of whether you’re an Olympic-level athlete or simply enthusiastic about fitness, CBD can give you an edge in training and competition.
It’s also important to point out that you can use CBD as a training tool without having to worry about any unwanted side effects, such as intoxication. CBD itself is non-psychoactive and won’t slow you down with any type of euphoria.
Is CBD legal for athletes?
CBD legality is a hot topic throughout the European Union (EU). There continues to be much confusion around whether buying, selling, and using CBD oil products is legal, for athletes and non-athletes alike.
The short answer is that, yes, CBD is legal for athletes (and non-athletes) in the EU.
Under the EU’s free movement of goods, any products that are placed lawfully to the market in one of the Member States can be legally sold, bought, and used in all Member States. CBD’s legal status was reiterated by a November 2020 legal position by the European Court of Justice, which concluded that European law precludes any individual EU Member State’s prohibition on the importation of CBD from another Member State.
For more information about the legal stance on CBD where you live in the EU, visit the country-specific articles available on the Hemp for Humanity blog.
Is CBD considered doping?
As an athlete, you know that CBD use provides your body with a myriad of benefits, but does it violate doping codes?
‘Doping’ refers to when an athlete uses a performance-enhancing substance or a training method that is prohibited by their athletic institution or sports organization, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA, originally created by the International Olympic Committee, is responsible for regulating the use of illicit and performance enhancing substances across a number of sports organizations.
Whether taking CBD is considered doping varies by sports organization or governing body. For those athletes competing in one of the many sports under WADA, CBD can be incorporated into their training regimen safely and legally, without it being considered doping.
In 2018, WADA made waves throughout the sporting world across the globe when it removed CBD from its list of banned substances. By removing CBD from its Prohibited List, athletes from a range of sports were able to access the many benefits of the use of CBD without fear of consequences.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the well-recognized intoxicating cannabinoid found in high levels in marijuana, is still prohibited from use by WADA. Because of the need to avoid THC, many competitive athletes opt for broad-spectrum CBD hemp oil products that have had detectable levels of THC removed.
Most drug tests that screen for the use of cannabis products do not look for CBD or any of its metabolites. Rather, drug tests for cannabis generally look for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the well-known intoxicating cannabinoid found in marijuana, or one of its main metabolites, 11-nor-delta9-caboxy-THC (THC-COOH).
In most cases, the trace amounts of THC found in hemp oil will not cause a positive drug test when consumed at suggested servings. However, if enough THC is present in a person’s systems, a positive drug test could result. So, there is a rare possibility that some CBD products could trigger a positive test result. This risk is even higher if athletes use unregulated, untested products that contain unreliable levels of cannabinoids.
Keep in mind that some sport organizations and leagues can have a different governing body that defines the way that sport operates and rules around doping. Any competitive athlete who is required to follow rules regarding allowed substances should take extra precaution before incorporating CBD products into their regimen.
Benefits of using CBD for Athletes
For athletes looking to reach new levels of athletic achievement, a well-operating endocannabinoid system is crucial. Being at your physical best and recovering quickly requires that your endocannabinoid system effectively keep the body balanced.
As a cannabinoid, CBD works alongside the other valuable plant compounds found in hemp oil, such as terpenes, to support the endocannabinoid system and its efforts to keep the body balanced. A well-operating endocannabinoid system means that all other functions, including those related to the immune system, nervous system, sleep processes, and pain-relieving responses, stay better balanced.
It’s important to understand that CBD is not like ibuprofen or another type of over-the-counter pain reliever. Instead, it’s used for natural wellness purposes. By nourishing the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD simply supports the body so that it can better manage issues like chronic pain, inflammation, and other issues that athletes often face.
That’s why, whether training, competing, or recovering, athletes of all levels are using CBD oil products as part of their routine, using a number of different types of CBD products before, during, and after intense activity.
Below are just a few of the reasons why athletes pursue the use of CBD to support their endocannabinoid systems so that they can naturally boost performance and help them “get in the flow.”
#1 Anti-inflammatory Properties for Athletes
CBD interacts most prominently with the endocannabinoid system’s CB2 (cannabinoid 2) receptors, which have been shown to exert an inhibitory effect on inflammation.
#2 Strengthens immune system
CB2 receptors, positively influenced by CBD, play an important role in regulating immune system function.
#3 Pain relief and pain management
Cannabinoid receptors are present in the pain pathway, allowing cannabinoids to positively influence pain.
#4 Faster recovery
When the body’s endocannabinoid system is operating well, it’s able to better regulate inflammation and the pain response, facilitating faster recovery.
#5 Weight gain & control
Among the many processes regulated by the endocannabinoid system is metabolism, which means stimulation by plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD can help support efforts to reach and maintain a healthy body weight.
#6 Improves sleep
CBD also helps athletes by making for a good night’s sleep. While CBD doesn’t have any sedative effects, its support of the endocannabinoid system encourages healthier sleep cycles.
#7 Increases endurance
The endocannabinoid system regulates many physiological and biochemical responses. A more well-operating endocannabinoid system means these responses work more efficiently, allowing athletes to perform better for longer.
How much CBD should athletes use
So you’ve heard about CBD’s natural benefits and you’re convinced that the supplement is right for you. How much should you, as an athlete, take each day?
While it may seem to be a simple question, when it comes to how much CBD an athlete should use, there’s no standardized answer. There’s no typical “dose” of CBD extract for athletes, because the right amount of CBD all depends on your personal needs and body makeup. In short, your CBD serving sweet spot could be different from someone else’s.
Most people in the general population find that using 50 milligrams of CBD each day produces notable benefits in how they feel. If you’re an athlete, a daily serving of 50 mg of CBD may be the right amount for you.
With that said, if you’re a professional athlete or simply like to train at a high level, you may find that you could benefit from even higher daily servings of CBD. The truth is– some athletes find benefit with as little as 25 mg, while others find that up to 300 mg taken orally is what best helps keep their body running at its peak.
While you may feel like you’re left a little in the dark, it only takes time to dial in on your optimal CBD serving. The key with starting any new CBD oil routine, whether you’re an athlete or not, is to start low and go slow. This means that if you have an idea of how much CBD you want to take each day, begin below that number and gradually work your way up. Every week or so, take a slightly larger serving until you hit that ideal serving size, all the while monitoring how you feel.
Eventually, you’ll find the right amount of CBD use that works for you.
Which CBD products and brands to choose from
Athletes can utilize the natural balancing benefits of CBD oil in multiple ways. You can ingest CBD oils and tinctures, either by absorbing them under the tongue or swallowing them, or even vape hemp oil for fast absorption. These types of CBD products naturally encourage overall balance in the body and support optimal functioning.
You can also use CBD topicals, which include balms, salves, lotions, and topical creams that are infused with hemp CBD oil. The topical application of CBD allows the compounds to be absorbed directly into your tired muscles and joints for faster, more focused onset of effects. You can rub it into soreness areas you feel could benefit from CBD directly.
If you’re an athlete who after reading about the benefits of CBD for athletes has decided you’d like to incorporate CBD into your training and recovery regimen, you may find yourself overwhelmed once you see all of the available products out there.
With the demand for CBD oil products quickly expanding as more people become familiar with the natural wellness benefits and uses of CBD, the number of companies offering CBD products on the global market has also increased. In case you’re wondering if all CBD oils are the same, they are not. When choosing the right CBD for athletes’ products for you, it’s crucial that you do your due diligence to ensure that only high-quality CBD makes it to your routine.
It’s more important than ever that you find a trusted, reliable source for high-quality CBD oil. Some of the CBD brands out there today fail to implement adequate manufacturing and testing standards, and even make false medical claims about their products. In 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined CBD products on the U.S. market and found that some products made by unreliable manufacturers failed to contain the amount of CBD stated on product labels.
Take the time to ensure you’re choosing products from a trusted and well-represented brand that sources from superior varieties of industrial hemp that are grown naturally, uses a safe extraction process, and rigorously tests the reliability and safety of their products.
Top Athletes using CBD
CBD products are the choice of many of the world’s top athletes.
In Europe, International judo champion, Olympic athlete and professional fighter Miklós Cirjenics uses CBD to help support him as he competes in high-level tournaments.
Hungarian diver Brigitta Cserba, who competed in the women’s 10 metre platform event at the 1992 Summer Olympics, incorporates both oral and topical CBD products and has shared that they improve her quality of sleep, improve her energy levels, and shorten recovery time between training sessions.
Kinga Klivinyi, a handballer for the Hungarian national team, one of the top scorers in Hungary, incorporates CBD into her morning and evening routine to support better recovery, particularly of her throwing shoulder.
In the United States, American National Football (NFL) greats like running back Christian Okoye, who is known as “The Nigerian Nightmare” for his powerful running style and ability to break tackles, relies on CBD oil products.
Steve Beuerlein, a former star NFL quarterback and Super Bowl Champion, heard about hemp CBD products from another athlete and now uses them on a daily basis.
Former NFL wide receiver Mark Duper, a 3-time Pro Bowl selection, appreciates topical CBD oil salve products and applies them to all areas of his body whenever needed.
Some of the other great athletes who use CBD include former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, as well as NFL legends Neil Lomax, Solomon Wilcots, Ron Heller, and Kimble Anders.
This is only a small selection of athletes who have discovered CBD as a powerful support tool to help their workouts, achieve their fitness goals, and help them feel better every day.