CBD’s ability to promote health makes this compoundan ideal choice for athletes. We’ll present a list of seven reasons why CBD is so beneficial for them. The therapeutic value of CBD is already very well established. This compound has been shown to be an effective painkiller, promotes sleep and has anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of CBD go far beyond health-related uses. The same health-restoring properties make CBD an excellent choice for regular use in athletes. Its power to reduce stress can even prevent burnout syndrome. Additionally, CBD can improve recovery time thanks to its ability to aid in sleep. Last but not least, the power of cannabidiol can suppress anxiety and lead to improved athletic performance.
Ready to find out how CBD could benefit you and your athletic performance? Seven reasons why CBD use is highly beneficial for athletes:
– CBD reduces stress
– CBD is an adaptogen;
– CBD protects the central nervous system
– CBD improves sleep
– CBD promotes muscle relaxation
– CBD reduces anxiety
– CBD reduces oxidation and inflammation;
Benefit #1: CBD reduces stress;
Perhaps the most significant advantage of CBD for athletes is stress reduction. It may sound great – and by the way, it is great – but what does it mean? To answer that, we first need to take a closer look at what stress is. We’ll give more space to the first benefit than the others because they follow from it.
So what is stress?
“Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from adverse or challenging circumstances.” In 1936, the visionary endocrinologist Hans Selye took it a step further. He described physiological stress as “A nonspecific response of the body to an ongoing change.” In animal experiments, for example, Selye found that stress can damage overall gut health and cause enlargement of the adrenal glands. The results of chronic stress came out even worse in his research – animals developed arthritis, suffered strokes and heart attacks.
The link between sport and stress
What does stress have to do with athletes? Quite a lot. This is because sporting activities are a form of stress that needs to be overcome and managed just like anything else. As an athlete, you’ve probably been through this battle before. The best training plan carefully balances work and rest and makes a clear distinction between great personal form and overtraining.
Finding such an optimal point is not easy – but CBD could make it easier. During the process of scrolling to new limits, a consistent daily dose of 10 to 20 milligrams of CBD may have allowed athletes to overcome previous stress-induced limitations.
Benefit No. 2: CBD as an adaptogen
Traditional adaptogens include the reishi mushroom and echinacea. However, CBD has also joined this list of stress-reducing and performance-enhancing herbal products. This is because it fits perfectly into the definition of adaptogens.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants and herbs that increase the body’s resistance to stressful situations such as injury, anxiety or physical fatigue. Adaptogens also protect the nervous system and neuroendocrine system from overload. According to a 1969 study, adaptogens are stimulating in nature without causing side effects.
Sound familiar? That’s exactly what CBD can do! By activating the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an appropriation network of internal substances similar to those in cannabis, CBD helps promote balance. With ECS activation comes a kind of health and vitality when homeostasis can be well maintained.
Using adaptogens to promote faster recovery
CBD and other active ingredients in cannabis can help athletes better adapt to their training schedule. Think of the metabolic state that follows a hard workout: body temperature is high and cortisol levels have skyrocketed. In addition, muscle proteins have broken down and stored sugar in the form of glycogen is almost completely depleted. This is not exactly a picture of a good balance.
When this kind of stress is processed, the body produces more endocannabinoids such as anandamide to deal with the recovery process. Add a few external cannabinoids, such as natural CBD, and this imbalance can be quickly corrected. Interestingly, Hans Selye also described this recovery process, specifically the “resistance phase” to adaptation. Resistance to stressors that can help with faster recovery and prevent burnout.
Fortunately, CBD helps. One study went so far as to determine whether cannabinoids should be classified as performance enhancing substances that should be banned in athletics. And it may be even better if CBD is used alongside other adaptogens. While research in this area is still limited, we know that most plant adaptogens work by activating enzymes like AMPK to regulate energy balance and upregulate fat burning. It is believed that the combination of CBD and other adaptogens leads to synergistic effects! In other words, the two types of compounds could better help each other.
Benefit #3: CBD protects the central nervous system;
The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord and controls internal communication and the perception of transmitted signals in nerves and neurons. It’s simple: when there are more stimuli in the body, the CNS is more active and vice versa. Sports that involve moving against resistance (strength training) are very demanding on the CNS. Do it long enough and the initial kick of excitatory input to the system starts to decrease. With this loss of firepower comes less efficient muscle contraction, resulting in a decrease in strength.
Athletes with CNS burnout syndrome are slower and lift less with the same stress factor. If the recovery process is ignored, muscles may have faulty responses to standard neural signals. This is obviously not what you want.
But now the positive news: CBD is neurotransmission’s best friend. It can help with the synchronization of neural signaling and the balance of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurotransmitters. CBD can also help nerves preserve their myelin sheaths.
In fact, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) directly promotes neuronal health. However, this all happens after taking CBD, which has been shown time and time again to be useful for strengthening and revitalizing the ECS;
Could CBD, when used before training, protect the CNS from overexertion? Although it hasn’t been proven yet, many strength athletes use CBD because it helps them prevent the jolts that sometimes come with lifting weights to achieve peak performance.
CBD can even help a tired nervous system recover and improve its flexibility. Why? CBD supports endocannabinoids in their role as key modulators of synaptic plasticity in the nervous system;
Benefit #4: CBD improves sleep;
One of the first and most striking effects that new users observe is that CBD helps them sleep better. In fact, it is not uncommon for the very first dose to lead to a more restful sleep;
A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users supports these preliminary reports. The study concluded that “consumers use CBD as a specific treatment for a variety of health problems – including sleep disorders.”
According to the study, it really works: “nearly 36% of respondents said CBD helped them a lot with health problems.” Since intense athletic routines aren’t always the best for sleep, this benefit is very promising for athletes. CBD can also reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol that might otherwise disrupt regular sleep cycles. Many elite athletes sleep a lot. More sleep = more time to recover tired muscles! For example, Roger Federer once said: “If I don’t sleep eleven to twelve hours a day, it’s not enough.”
If you’re not getting enough sleep, don’t worry, CBD can help. However, if you’re active during the day, unlike conventional sleep medications, CBD doesn’t activate any receptor system enough to immediately induce drowsiness. For example, taking 10 mg of CBD at night will likely make you much sleepier than taking the same dose at the beginning of the day. Let’s take a look at why;
Another fantastic fact: the endocannabinoid system responds to light. What does that mean? It means that the system’s function varies depending on the time of day. Endocannabinoid production is generally higher during the morning hours and decreases in the evening. In recent years, it has become clear that having a healthy circadian rhythm is essential. Ignoring the natural state, as in night shifts or overexposure to blue light, is detrimental to humans.
But this is a topic that goes beyond the scope of this article. Relevant, however, is the fact that many athletes suffer from sleep disorders. These athletes can become lethargic when they should be full of energy (and vice versa), leading them to drink coffee excessively or take other stimulants. Addiction to these substances can lead to further adrenal stress. It can also disrupt the nervous system. It is great that this holistic option exists. Regular use of CBD can promote a kind of energy balance that works with a person’s environmental needs – not against them. If an athlete is having trouble sleeping, they can take 10 to 20 milligrams of CBD an hour or two before bed.
Benefit #5: CBD promotes muscle relaxation
Athletes know that the familiar feeling that occurs after a hard workout has already been described in books. When sugars are burned in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic mode), lactate is produced in the muscles with increased exertion. It is then not easy to perform even the simplest activities, such as walking up stairs.
At this point comes the difficult phase – recovery. Fortunately, CBD is a powerful muscle relaxant. This is because the compound appears to help GABA (the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter of the nervous system) work better by affecting GABA-A receptors. In other words, CBD may promote muscle relaxation by acting on the system that calms the body. Conversely, low levels of GABA have been linked to muscle spasms, stiffness, and even substance abuse. The careful athlete certainly wants to avoid these things! CBD can also help active users avoid muscle and joint problems. CBD is commonly associated with stretching muscles and treating knee injuries with ice, for example.
If you want these benefits to serve you well, try taking a moderate amount (10-20 mg) of CBD every day. Ointments and creams containing CBD applied directly to the areas can also help in reducing inflammation. Keep in mind that the strength of CBD preparations for external use varies widely;
Benefit #6: CBD reduces anxiety;
The benefits of CBD to help with anxiety are among the most well-known effects. It seems to be suitable for chronic anxiety, acute anxiety, and everything in between. CBD can also benefit those who need relief from stage fright.
This certainty could also be beneficial for athletes. The nervousness of training or competitive pressure can be a significant burden. The same study that recommended banning THC as a performance-enhancing product praised CBD for its effectiveness in reducing anxiety after oral CBD administration. It could “enhance athletic performance” without negative psychological effects. However, it is vital to take a full-spectrum CBD product, which is often more effective than CBD isolate. This is because whole hemp extracts contain valuable compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, as together they enhance the already impressive effects of CBD.
There is no need for large amounts of CBD to relieve anxiety. Many athletes have seen great results when given small but consistent microdoses. If CBD is administered correctly (for example, using a vaporizer), it can be taken before a rigorous training session or competition. A dose between 3 and 10 milligrams is usually sufficient to achieve a sense of calm and good mental balance;
Benefit #7: CBD reduces inflammation and oxidation;
Inflammation is a potential barrier to optimal health for all of us. While the occurrence of a little inflammation is actually beneficial, chronic conditions can lead to pain, illness and weight gain. None of these things are good for athletes. For them, inflammation is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of a speedy recovery. Some use conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and other symptoms, but this is not sustainable in the long run;
Something more holistic is needed, and that’s CBD. According to a 2010 study, cannabinoids are “potent anti-inflammatory agents that demonstrate their effects by inducing apoptosis, inhibiting cell proliferation, suppressing cytokine production, and inducing T-regulatory lymphocytes.”
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are basically complex enough to ensure that one only notices a small amount of adaptogenic inflammation. Consistent use of even small doses of CBD may be enough to do this. Athletes can avoid one more type of stress: oxidative stress. Everyone knows that adequate antioxidant intake is essential. But did you know that a better way is to avoid accumulating oxidants in the first place?
This requires an internal antioxidant called glutathione. Studies in rodents suggest that CBD may increase levels of this amazing substance, reducing oxidative stress even more effectively than vitamin C or E. Interestingly, other adaptogens (such as milk thistle and ashwagandha) may promote glutathione production;
With less oxidation comes less muscle pain, better immune function, regulation of cellular recycling, and other benefits. Glutathione can also promote insulin sensitivity, which can more effectively improve the body’s utilization of carbohydrates. Only the best for all sports enthusiasts!
The more demanding the training routine, the more inflammation can occur and the more CBD the athlete will eventually need. Generally, 10 – 20 mg of CBD is the ideal dose , but more may be needed to help you get through even the most demanding workout. However, it is essential to increase the CBD dose gradually and avoid drastic changes. This is because the pharmacological effect of CBD is biphasic – after a certain dose is reached, it begins to decrease slightly.
Slightly increasing the dose and frequency of use ensures that the optimal dose is not exceeded. Diversification of CBD intake can also be considered. If 20 mg of CBD oil per day is not enough to reduce inflammation, you can try using CBD ointments, patches or a vaping pen, for example;
Professional athletes understand this
A small but growing number of athletes are already using CBD. Former professional cyclist Floyd Landis has abandoned opioids. Golfer Bubba Watson is promoting CBD despite a PGA-tour warning. Record-holding powerlifter Eddy Hall highlights the effects of CBD when taken during recovery on his YouTube channel.
You’ll also find plenty of UFC fighters starting to use CBD for recovery purposes. Some are even sponsored by major CBD companies. As you can see, the many different types of athletes who use CBD are almost as diverse as the benefits of CBD. Will others join?