Athletes all over the world need to be very particular about what they eat, what they drink, where they go, what they do and who they interact with because their entire careers are based upon the wellness of their bodies. They cannot afford to carry out unnecessary stunts and dangerous tourists acts, neither engage in bar fights or rash driving.
There are certain rules about how they get to spend their lives and thus it is natural to be skeptical about a compound that is derived from the same plant as marijuana! We’re here to clear the air about using CBD for uplifting a professional athlete’s game and taking care of their bodies.
CBD’s Role in the Human Health:
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a Cannabis compound extracted from Hemp, a common name for a variant of the Cannabis Sativa Plant. Hemp, unlike its cousins weed and marijuana, is naturally rich in CBD and low on the intoxicating compound THC, which is the only compound responsible for producing the “high” that marijuana smokers experience.
CBD has long been studied for its effects on human health, but due to the stigma surrounding THC, CBD never really got the attention it deserved. Research was limited and inconclusive and CBD products were not recognised as legal.
This decade has somewhat shed the dark skies that followed CBD for centuries and people have finally begun distinguishing it from THC. This has led to rapid research and product manufacturing.
From whatever research has been done it was concluded that CBD promotes general wellness in human beings; which includes boosting appetite, improving concentration, regulating sleeping patterns and uplifting moods. It is also known to cure certain mental diseases, relieve depression, stress and anxiety and also reduce pain and inflammation.
Coming towards more specific roles, CBD has presented itself as a promising candidate for diseases like Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Epilepsy, Postpartum pains, Schizophrenia, ADHD and many more physical and mental illnesses.
Types of CBD:
CBD Isolate: 99.9% Pure CBD, no other Cannabis compound involved
Broad-Spectrum CBD: CBD with beneficial terpenes, cannabinoids, essential oils etc that are believed to enhance CBD effects. No THC.
Full-Spectrum CBD: CBD with the full-range of compounds found in Cannabis including THC. Quantity varies from seller to seller.
CBD in Sports:
CBD in sports is a relatively newer topic as it has been only 2 years since it was legalised to be consumed by athletes. This was done keeping in mind the number of benefits that CBD promises to provide to its users. This also comes right after the WHO report on CBD which concluded that CBD is not psychoactive and does not have the potential for dependence or abuse.
THC, which is the intoxicating Cannabis compound, is although still strictly prohibited for professional athletes by all sports regulatory authorities, including the International Athletics Federation. It is therefore important that athletes only consume CBD Isolate or Broad Spectrum CBD which has minimum or no THC.
CBD’s legality has been a long standing issue for years but the regulatory authorities in the UK, Canada, Europe, Australia and most of the USA have finally recognised CBD products with less than 0.03% THC as legal and Scandinavia considers products with 0.00% THC legal. All in all, CBD is considered legal according to many federal and state laws across the world.
In sports terms, WADA the World Anti-Doping Association has also removed CBD from their prohibited substances list. WADA is an international organisation that controls the substances and supplements that athletes can consume in order to be eligible to participate in international competitions. THC remains on the prohibited WADA list.
What can CBD do for athletes?
Although research carried on the compound is ongoing and not conclusive, it suggests that CBD for athletes can be an organic solution to many athletic problems including:
Joint inflammation and pain:
CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and hence it can reduce inflammation and help with pain. In case of injury, CBD creams and lotions have also been effective in speeding up cell recovery and helping in pain.
Muscle soreness is a common problem especially after workouts or training. CBD can be administered daily to ensure that it does not become a long-term hurdle in your routine.
Lack of concentration:
A lack of concentration and hence slow reflexes can really be a deal-breaker for many professional athletes. CBD interacts with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which is a natural system in the human body responsible for dealing with memory, appetite, metabolism, concentration, cell signaling etc. CBD binds with the receptors in the ECS and improves all the above mentioned areas.
As mentioned above, CBD interacts with the ECS receptors and boosts all its functions, one of which is stamina and endurance. This gives athletes a competitive edge in their games.
Improves the Immune System Condition:
CBD promotes general healing and wellness in human beings. Its therapeutic properties make sure that the human body remains functional in the best possible condition. Limited research has suggested that CBD can prevent infections and diseases by strengthening the immune system.
Athletes have to train in extreme weather and eat and drink substances from outside their city/country when they’re travelling and thus are prone to such diseases; strengthening the immune system will definitely go a long way for such individuals.
Promotes a healthy lifestyle:
CBD regulates appetite; it gets you full before you begin munching on unhealthy snacks and makes you hungry at the time of a proper meal. Also with the interaction with the ECS receptors, it improves your metabolism so that you keep a healthy amount of nutrients from your food. Both these actions combined make it easy for you to watch your weight according to your body goals which is very important in the world of sports.
Also, workouts and training are of no use if you do not monitor your sleep. Getting the recommended number of hours of sleep, at the recommended time is crucial for an athlete’s health. CBD, along with regulating your hunger and metabolism, regulates your sleep and wakes you up fresh for an important day of training.
Relieves Stress and Uplifts Morale:
Sports is one of the most stressful industries in the world. You would know if you’re an athlete-or even a fan! The nerve wrecking moments before a free-kick in a football game or the chase for the runs in the final over in a cricket match is enough to knot your intestines and eat up your nails. If we, as fans, get so worked up during our favorite team’s match, imagine how the players feel!
CBD is believed to relieve stress and anxiety, relaxing your mind before or after an intense game. A loss or a near-win can also bring down an athlete’s morale and they aren’t as motivated in their next training or as enthusiastic for the next game.
CBD is believed to release endorphins and dopamine which lifts your mood and keeps you motivated! Even if it doesn’t work as strongly for everyone, it still eliminates negative emotions and calms you down which is an achievement in itself!
Now you see how important CBD can be for our beloved sportspersons?
Will CBD Show Up in My Drug Tests?
It is literally impossible for CBD to show up in drug tests. Drug tests scan for opiates, THC, methamphetamine, amphetamines, PCP, benzodiazepine, barbiturates, methadone, ecstasy, oxycodone and other intoxicating substances, not CBD. You cannot test positive for any of these compounds if you’ve been using CBD from a well-reputed company with third-party tested products.
Yes, you might test positive for THC if you buy CBD from an unverified seller or use full-spectrum products that weren’t third party tested and had no information on the packaging about the ingredients-or worse, were mislabeled. In that case the product may also contain other harmful ingredients and you should stop using it immediately.
Tip: Remember to quit using CBD which has some amount of THC when testing is a week or two if you’re extra nervous about your test.
Read this interesting article on a related topic: How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
CBD, all in all, is a beneficial compound for athletes, which will not only improve their performance but help them battle the daily stress, pain, anxiety and depression associated with their profession.
It is not illegal and will not show up on drug tests, thus rendering it perfectly suitable for consumption for professional athletes as well. All you need to remember is to always buy products from reputed companies that have transparent testing and package labelling policies.
Also properly understand the difference between the different types of CBD for athletes and the ways of consuming CBD before determining which one is the best for you.