What are the benefits of CBD in sports?
When we think of Cannabis we think of psychotropic effects, the so-called “high”. However, CBD is not the chemical compound responsible for these types of effects, THC is. In turn, CBD acts more silently, activating Endocannabinoid receptors, which are normally also activated by THC, but in a much less aggressive and direct way. This difference makes CBD have different effects.
Does CBD help recovery and physical performance?
The focus of this post is how, recently, CBD has been aggressively marketed as a substance much more related to exercise, more specifically, physical recovery and performance enhancement. Some people believe that CBD has already been beneficial in some way, such as in strength training, helping to improve post-workout muscle soreness or overall performance. However, the truth is that scientific research on CBD and exercise does not allow us to conclude anything. There are only specific studies that have shown improvements in anxiety, stress, insomnia and sleep architecture, which in turn lead to better rest for the body and, consequently, a subsequent improvement in performance.
The research that many articles on the internet feature from CBD companies that claim physical recovery through CBD consumption is not about physical recovery, but about inflammation.
Studies on CBD and Anxiety and Sleep:
Does CBD help with muscle inflammation?
Researchers are starting to examine and are finding evidence for CBD's potential as a safer alternative for inflammatory pain than the drugs commonly recommended on the mainstream market.
One of the most important studies demonstrates that CBD has a potential anti-inflammatory effect on the intestines, a very common problem in the world's population.
More and more professional athletes advocate the therapeutic effects of CBD that help with physical trauma and its alternative to traditional market drugs, often addictive and opioids, thinking about post-career life full of pain and inflammation.
Studies on CBD and Inflammation:
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24419242/ ;
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19074681/ ;
What is the future of CBD in sports?
Existing CBD studies are still in a very infant and embryonic state, largely because its illegality has only recently been acquitted and, in most countries, it is located in the so-called legal gray zone.
Perhaps in the future we will have more data that can help, but for now, no. We can't claim claims when we don't know much. It is not even known what the ideal dose of CBD is for exercising. CBD and exercise are still understudied and need a lot of work on the part of consumers, companies and researchers.
What we do know and are sure of is that there are people who, when CBD is legal for sports, consume it, practice sports and feel better than before, sleeping better and recovering better, like many professional and amateur athletes in different sports. The only condition is that the consumed CBD is completely isolated and there are no traces of THC, which is still prohibited in sport.
Can CBD show up in an anti-doping test?
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed Cannabidiol from its list of banned substances, to which it had belonged since 1999. The last Olympic Games were the first in which athletes could use CBD, without fear of any consequences, as long as it contained less of 0.3% THC. It depends a little on the sports association in question, because, for example, in the NFL, the relationship with CBD remains unfavorable, however athletes are no longer punished for consuming the substance.
Which are the best-known athletes who consume CBD?
Surf: Alby Layer, Nathan Florence;
UFC: Nate Diaz, Gina Mazany;
Box: Mike Tyson;
Rugby: Dominic Day, James Haskell, George Kruis, Ben Franks;
American Football: Terrel Davies, David Ahrens, Rob Gronkowski;
Golf: Lucas Glover, Charley Hoffman, Bubba Watson;
Women's Soccer: Megan Rapinoe;
Bodybuilding: Kieran Kevan, Tomas Wolfe;
Basketball: Paul Pierce
Crossfit: Brook Hence;
Snowboard: Ross Rebagliati.