Many current and former professional athletes support the use of CBD. CBD has many potential benefits for athletes and more and more athletes are using it. Some research suggests that CBD can be used as a way to treat addiction to opioids and other substances that are at risk of becoming addictive. CBD has caused much controversy in sporting circles, but this is more because it is a substance derived from cannabis and many people often associate it with THC, which has different properties. CBD is not psychoactive and can provide a number of benefits, which we will describe below.
CBD and pain management
Amateur and professional athletes often struggle with injuries, muscle pain and inflammation that limit them in their sport. Research shows that CBD has the potential to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Athletes are often subjected to intense workouts and CBD could be a great tool for them to help them manage the demanding workouts;
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While THC can also be used to treat pain, it can cause unwanted side effects and can affect athletic performance. According to studies, THC can impair short-term memory, while CBD does not;
A report from the World Health Organization (link to report) suggests that CBD has no potential for abuse or addiction – unlike other pain relievers such as THC and opioids. Current research even shows that CBD can be used as a treatment for addiction to opioids and other substances where there is a risk of addiction;
CBD is still controversial in some medical circles because it technically acts on the same receptors in the brain as THC. But because CBD works differently on these receptors, its effects are understandably different;
Laws and the use of CBD in sport
The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances in 2018. While the use of products with THC is prohibited, the use of products with CBD should not lead to positive tests for THC, especially if you choose CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum products;
However, there are some reports that some people have tested positive for THC after taking CBD, depending on the type of test used. The risk increases if you are taking CBD from an unreliable source, as it may be contaminated or mislabelled;
If you are an athlete who needs to be drug tested, you may not want to use CBD. If you do decide to use it, read product labels and do your research to make sure you are taking a quality product.
What else should I know before I try CBD?
Despite the relatively mild side effects of CBD, you should consult a doctor before taking it, especially if you are taking any medications to see if CBD will interact with them. Side effects of CBD use are experienced by a very small number of people and include fatigue, diarrhea, weight changes and changes in appetite;
If you’re new to CBD, start with a low dose and don’t use it before an athletic competition or training session. Once you become familiar with the effects of CBD and know how your body responds to it, you can start taking higher doses and consider using it before or even during physical activity;
You can also experiment with different ways to consume and use CBD. In addition to the usual CBD tinctures and capsules, there are also pre-workout drinks or muscle balms;
There are still a lot of unknowns about CBD and its impact on athletes, but research suggests that the effects of CBD are definitely worth paying attention to;