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Updated on January 7, 2024

CBD for Athletes

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • A study conducted in 2020 shows that over 25% of athletes who participated in the study attested to using CBD.
  • The use of CBD is not banned in sports as long as it contains zero THC.
  • Some famous athletes have attested to using CBD products.

Even though there are some rules restricting the use of CBD in sports, athletes often face various health issues that can benefit from Pure CBD. Unlike THC (another compound from the cannabis plant), which might be considered a performance-enhancing drug, CBD takes a more natural approach to helping athletes keep their bodies in balance through something called the endocannabinoid system.

Think of it like this: athletes go through a lot, and sometimes their bodies need a little extra care. CBD, which is a component of the cannabis plant, can offer that care without causing the performance-enhancing effects that might raise concerns. It's like giving the body a gentle nudge towards balance, helping athletes feel their best without breaking any rules.

How many athletes are using CBD?

In a study published in 2020, researchers conducted an anonymous survey involving over 500 professional players to gather insights into their use of CBD and the reasons behind it. The focus was on understanding the relationship between athletes and CBD. The findings revealed that a significant portion of the players had experience with CBD. Approximately 25% of the surveyed players had either tried CBD during their playing careers or were currently using it. Notably, among players aged 30 and above, nearly 40% fell into the category of those who had explored CBD use. This suggests that a substantial proportion of older players, in particular, have found CBD to be a relevant and potentially beneficial element in their athletic routines.

The study sheds light on the growing interest and adoption of CBD among professional athletes, especially those seeking natural approaches to support their well-being during and after their playing careers.

How can CBD help athletes?

CBD has gained popularity among athletes for its potential benefits, particularly in the realm of sports recovery and performance. Here are some ways in which athletes may consider using CBD:

  1. Pain Management:

It is almost impossible to separate CBD from pain relief. This is because chronic pain is a major health challenge in all ages. Pain arise from several factors and can ultimately affect the quality of our lives. Several research papers have confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD that can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Athletes dealing with sore muscles or injuries may find relief from using CBD.

  1. Recovery:

Researchers are presently studying the possible development of new drugs from pure cannabinoids that will aid recovery from sports-related injuries. This is because the endocannabinoid system and the cannabinoids have been identified as a new target for drugs. CBD may aid in the recovery process by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension. This can be beneficial for athletes looking to recover quickly between training sessions or competitions.

  1. Sleep Improvement:

Quality sleep is crucial for athletic performance and recovery. Some athletes use CBD to potentially improve sleep quality and address issues like insomnia or sleep disturbances.

  1. Anxiety and Stress Reduction:

The role of CBD in reducing anxiety and stress cannot be overemphasized. This very effect is helpful for athletes dealing with performance-related stress or anxiety.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

Inflammation is a common issue for athletes, especially after intense training. CBD's anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and support the body's natural recovery processes.

  1. Neuroprotection:

Some studies suggest that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting athletes at risk of head injuries or concussions.

  1. Focus and Concentration:

While the research is still in its early stages, some individuals report improved focus and concentration with the use of CBD. This could be beneficial for athletes looking to enhance their mental performance.

  1. Muscle Spasms and Cramps:

CBD may help reduce muscle spasms and cramps, providing relief for athletes who experience these issues during training or competition.

  1. Injury Prevention:

By promoting overall well-being and addressing factors such as inflammation and stress, CBD may contribute to injury prevention for athletes.

  1. Regulation of Inflammation and Immune Function:

CBD's influence on the endocannabinoid system may play a role in regulating inflammation and immune function, potentially supporting overall health.

CBD and sports rules

CBD is totally fine for athletes to use in sports because it's not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned substances list. So, they can include CBD in their routine without breaking any rules. But, here's the important part: when it comes to other cannabis-related stuff like cannabis itself, hashish, marijuana, and THC, athletes need to be careful. These are not allowed during competitions – it's like a red light for them. So, while CBD gets the green light, everything else related to cannabis is a "no" when athletes are in the middle of a sports event.

Famous athletes who have used CBD

  1. Megan Rapinoe (Soccer):The renowned U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe has spoken openly about using CBD for recovery and wellness. She has mentioned incorporating CBD into her routine to manage the physical demands of professional sports.
  2. Nate Diaz (Mixed Martial Arts): Nate Diaz, a professional mixed martial artist, gained attention when he vaped CBD during a post-fight press conference. His openness about CBD usage has contributed to discussions about its potential benefits in combat sports.
  3. Rob Gronkowski (Football):Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski has been an advocate for CBD, emphasizing its role in his post-football recovery. He has shared his positive experiences with CBD products, including their impact on managing pain and improving sleep.
  4. Bubba Watson (Golf):Professional golfer Bubba Watson has publicly endorsed CBD, expressing how it has become a part of his wellness routine. Watson has spoken about the potential benefits of CBD in managing the physical toll of playing golf at a high level.
  5. Al Harrington (Basketball):Former NBA player Al Harrington has not only used CBD himself but has also become a prominent advocate for its benefits. After discovering CBD to manage pain and inflammation, Harrington founded a company focused on CBD products for athletes.

Frequently asked questions

Can I fail a drug test after using CBD?

No, drug tests don’t detect the presence of CBD however, most cannabis products come with some concentration of THC which may lead to failing a drug test. We suggest you consult with your sports rules before trying any product especially if you would be competing in the next 3 months.

Can athletes use CBD without breaking anti-doping rules?

Yes, currently CBD is not listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List, making it permissible for athletes to use without violating anti-doping regulations.

How does CBD benefit athletes in their training and recovery?

CBD may contribute to athletes' well-being by addressing factors like inflammation and stress. It's often used to support recovery and promote a balanced body, potentially aiding in injury prevention.

Are there specific forms of CBD that are better for athletes?

The choice of CBD products depends on personal preferences and needs. Common forms include oils, capsules, and topicals. Athletes may prefer CBD products with third-party testing for quality assurance.

Can athletes use CBD for pain management without risking performance?

CBD is known for its potential analgesic (pain-relieving) effects without causing the "high" associated with THC. When used responsibly, it may offer athletes a natural option for pain management without compromising performance.

Is there a recommended dosage for athletes using CBD?

Dosage varies among individuals. It's advisable to start with a low dose and gradually increase, observing how the body responds. Athletes should consider consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance based on their specific needs and health conditions.

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Sources

Rojas-Valverde D, Fallas-Campos A. Cannabidiol in sports: insights on how CBD could improve performance and recovery. Front Pharmacol. 2023 Sep 22;14:1210202. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2023.1210202. PMID: 37808192; PMCID: PMC10556669.

Kasper AM, Sparks SA, Hooks M, Skeer M, Webb B, Nia H, Morton JP, Close GL. High Prevalence of Cannabidiol Use Within Male Professional Rugby Union and League Players: A Quest for Pain Relief and Enhanced Recovery. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2020 Sep 1;30(5):315-322. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0151. Epub 2020 Jul 30. PMID: 32732454.

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