CBD FOR ATHLETES: CAN YOU USE CBD TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE AND RECOVERY?
As an athlete, you know the importance of taking care of your body. You eat healthy, exercise regularly, and take time for recovery. But have you considered using CBD to improve your performance?
Although still largely uncharted territory in terms of sports science and medicine, more and more athletes are discovering how CBD could help them improve recovery time after intense training and provide relief from injury-related pain.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (the main psychoactive component of marijuana), CBD does not produce any kind of "high."
Instead, research shows its potential in providing anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anxiolytic effects that can help reduce physical and mental stress in athletes.
How CAN YOU USE CBD?.
CBD can be used in several forms, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most popular methods of consumption are oils, cosmetics, foods, and inhalation.
- C COSMETIC OIL Tinctures are liquid drops infused with CBD that can be quickly absorbed and provide a more direct pathway to the bloodstream.
- CREAMS These are CBD-based creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin or muscle tissue to quickly relieve soreness, inflammation and pain.
- ALIMENTS They are convenient to carry around and offer a delicious way to take CBD, but may take longer to take effect than other methods of consumption.
- INHALATION (VAPING) This is the fastest method of CBD consumption because the vapor enters the bloodstream directly for quick effects. However, this carries a number of health risks associated with it that should be considered before trying.
BENEFITS OF CBD FOR ATHLETES
The potential benefits of CBD for athletes are vast. CBD has been shown to help against inflammation, relieve pain, and even anxiety and depression. This means CBD could potentially help athletes with a range of problems they face both during and after competition.
From training to the big day on the floor, in the field, on the track or in the pool, inflammation is one of the main problems athletes face.
To some extent, inflammation is necessary. For example, muscle fibers are damaged during intense training. This causes normal and expected levels of inflammation, which the body remediates through restorative hormones such as IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1).
When inflammation is excessive and chronic, it can cause problems for athletes that affect both recovery and performance.
CBD has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, which could help athletes recover more quickly from injuries.
HOW DOES CBD REDUCE INFIAMMATION?
The exact mechanisms by which CBD reduces inflammation are still being researched. However, what is known is that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating inflammation levels in the body.
CBD can also reduce stress and help minimize the damage caused by excessive exercise or injury. This can further improve recovery time and reduce the risk of tissue damage.
Despite nutrition, stretching, and recovery, pain can still be a problem for athletes. Depending on the intensity of training and the effectiveness of recovery, athletes may experience acute and/or chronic pain. Pain tends to be the result of excessive physical stress, strains, injuries, overtraining, and insufficient rest. The mental stress of competition can contribute to this pain.
It has been suggested that CBD is an effective pain reliever, helping athletes feel more comfortable and less stressed before and during competition.
How does CBD relieve pain?
CBD interacts with receptors in the Pain Control Center of the brain and is believed to minimize inflammation and provide some pain relief. That said, further studies are needed to confirm and better understand this benefit of CBD.
Every athlete knows how important sleep is for recovery. This is when your body releases hormones and muscle repair compounds such as testosterone and growth hormone. If you skip the rest phase and don't get enough sleep, you will lose results, compromising your training. You will also have a negative impact on your mental health. Sleep is the time when your brain "cleans" itself, and without it you will find it harder to concentrate and train.
CBD has been shown to help achieve qualitatively better sleep, which is vital for athletes who need to be at the top of their game at all times.
In a study on CBD for sleep, more than 70% of participants reported an improvement in overall sleep quality after using CBD for one month. CBD was also found to reduce anxiety levels, this could be useful for athletes who have tense nerves before a competition.
How does CBD help you sleep?
CBD has been linked to increased levels of natural endocannabinoids responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles. It is believed to improve sleep quality and duration, helping athletes get the rest they need.
CBD is also believed to help regulate REM sleep, which can help reduce fatigue and improve alertness during the day. CBD's ability to reduce anxiety and stress could also help athletes sleep better at night.
Competition can be stressful, and this can have a major impact on an athlete's performance. If an athlete is too stressed or anxious, he or she will not be able to focus and perform at optimal levels.
CBD has been found to help reduce performance anxiety and stress levels, which could be beneficial for athletes, directly affecting both the physical and mental faculties needed for performance.
HOW DOES CBD REDUCE ANXIETY?
The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system is believed to help reduce anxiety levels at the neurochemical level. It has also been found to increase serotonin levels, which can help improve mood and regulate stress.
CBD is also believed to help reduce levels of cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress. This can help athletes stay relaxed and composed during competitions, reducing anxiety and improving performance.
POTENTIAL COLLATERAL EFFECTS OF CBD USE
There are no particular contraindications but there may be the possibility of side effects. That said, CBD is generally well tolerated with minimal and non-serious side effects.
Here are the most commonly reported side effects of CBD use:
- Dry mouth
- Somnolence or fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Low blood pressure
Risks of using CBD
Let's clarify that as of 2017, the WHO declared that CBD formulations with less than 0.2% THC should not be under international control because they are not addictive, and in 2018 CBD was excluded from the list of prohibited substances by WADA, the world anti-doping agency.
The THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) and synthetic cannabinoids, however, are still illegal in competitions.
BETTER CBD oil BETTER CBD contains THC values of less than 0.05% (irrelevant value), a percentage well below the threshold.
The Schillaci decree includes (in Italy) CBD in the table of drugs extracted from narcotics. This line contradicts the European position on CBD, which is legal and not considered a narcotic substance.
Find out more here: CBD Decree: what happens now?
ShOULD ATHLETES USE CBD FOR RECOVERY AND PERFORMANCE?
Given current research, CBD could be helpful in reducing inflammation, anxiety, and pain and help you sleep better. However, it is important to remember that every body is different, and may react differently to taking CBD.
CBD oil is a promising product for athletes. A good training program, a nutritious food plan, and good quality rest remain the most important components of athletic performance. However, CBD can give your performance and recovery a boost.