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Can CBD help athletic performance?


With the desire to improve an athlete’s recovery and to ensure that they experience less pain when in the process, many sports science practitioners have already considered using cannabidiol or CBD extracts for their high potential for physiological and psychological benefits athletes undergoing a painful recovery from various injuries. No wonder you can always find a CBD store online targeting athletes for customers these days.

CBD is a compound that, when extracted from a cannabis plant such as marijuana, can be used for a number of health issues. For example, pain relief, anxiety attacks, muscle pain and inflammation. It has the same effects as the other compound from cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. But unlike THC that causes hallucination and psychoactive effects, CBD is left with pure medicinal value. In turn, athletes can count on a speedy recovery and improved performance acceleration.

American football players. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

What do studies say about CBD?

According to studies, CBD has very positive effects as an anti-inflammatory agent. They see a high potential that its consumption can contribute to treating diseases related to the joints. Having natural anti-inflammatory properties could help alleviate inflammatory pain associated with tissue damage. In addition, it can help with neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage or irritation. This could signal a significant advantage for endurance athletes: repetitive, long-distance workouts can provoke inflammation and irritation in peripheral nerves.

  • Protection against gastrointestinal damage

Athletes who regularly engage in strenuous activity can reduce oxygen and nutrient delivery to their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. GI stress can negatively influence exercise performance and recovery due to nausea, vomiting, and impaired nutritional uptake. Preclinical research has shown that CBD can reduce tissue damage and restore the permeability of the intestine.

Some studies found that (CBD) can enhance fracture healing and stimulate Lysyl Hydroxylase (a highly abundant enzyme involved in bone healing) activity in osteoblasts (bone-building cells).

“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue,” said Dr. Gabet. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.”

  • Management of sports performance anxiety

CBD may also help athletes manage sports performance anxiety, according to the Sports Medicine review. Anxiety before a competition can cause sleep loss, increase energy expenditure, and impair nutritional intake.

Lower doses of CBD seem to promote wakefulness, while higher doses appear to sedate and usher in sleep. Both properties may be beneficial. The quest for a solid night’s sleep is invaluable before a big game. However, staying awake could also be performance-enhancing for athletes competing in ultra-marathons or endurance events.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What do experts and athletes say about CBD?

With the federal legalization of hemp and surging interest in CBD, experts in sports medicine have been very interested in the topic of CBD about athletic injuries. For example, some practitioners are inclined to think that CBD is effective wherever inflammation is involved, whether concerning the brain or the joints; keeping inflammation for athletes under control shows fantastic potential.

Some look at the possibility of impingement, which is more important than getting inflammatory responses from CBD. CBD can relieve inflammation and improve functionality. It does this by allowing people to get speedy recovery just by merely sleeping at night without experiencing pain. 

More specific interest points to the effectiveness of CBD at treating Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, which can be quickly done by using CBD topicals alone. They found that topical use of CBD products also benefits athletes with overuse tendon injuries of the shoulder, knees, and ankles. While the amount of research still appears to be lacking, many believe that CBD helps prevent muscle and collagen breakdown.

Meanwhile, for those in contact sports, CBD is seen as adequate safety prevention of long-term problems attributed to brain injury after unforeseen accidents such as mini-concussions. The field is also hopeful that CBD can contribute a lot in healing bone injuries. For instance, broken collarbone and stress fractures. 

Cannabis plant. Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Here are some of the athletes who have positive responses in using CBD products to improve athletic performance:

Carol Pope (lifelong endurance athlete)

bought a VBD topical solution to treat chronic low back pain from high mileage on the back. She was surprised at the amount of relief CBD provided that she started incorporating CBD in her regimen and started taking medium potency solutions orally using oil and spray form.

Nico Erickson-Deriso (sprinter, road racer)

used topical CBD balm for thighs and calf muscles after an interval workout, hill workout, or a long run and found it useful in calming down his shin splints after workouts.

Kassia Meador (surfer)

used CBD to improve sleep initially and then used CBD to manage the inflammation on her meniscus tear to get through therapy work.

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