More and more we’re hearing about current or former professional athletes using CBD to help with daily physical maintenance and/or injury prevention and recovery. Whether it’s former NFL Quarterback, Jake Plummer, or elite MMA fighter, Nick Diaz, new ambassadors of the natural cannabis compound are coming out of the wee… woodwork left and right. Partly due to the destigmatization of cannabis use, but also in part because of international agencies recognizing what CBD is (and isn’t!)
CBD Removed from the List of Prohibited Substances
In late 2017, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances, opening the door for more transparent and legal use of CBD for tested athletes (THC, the psychoactive compound found in greater concentration in marijuana, is still banned). The World Health Organization also late in the year declared CBD to appear to have no potential for abuse or harm. All of these actions from scientific institutions are helping to signal that CBD is safe for human consumption, let alone athletes.
The Life of an Athlete
In the scope of athletics, proper recovery requires sleep, sleep, and sleep. Hydrating adequately and eating enough calories of the right macro nutrients makes a big difference. Getting enough electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, the proper complex carbohydrates, and proteins will likely improve an athlete’s recovery (or prep for an event). Especially with consistency over time. But why add CBD to the mix?
Why CBD is Better Than OTC
Perhaps you’ve heard of (or have been one of…) those people that downs pills like ibuprofen or Tylenol on a daily basis to manage inflammation and pain – the athlete’s daily adversary. I took a morning dose of ibuprofen during the falls and springs of my college days - oddly coinciding with the Ultimate Frisbee schedule - and luckily my medicine cabinet was a bit smaller than some of my friends’ and teammates’. You’ve probably also heard how long-term, daily exposure to acetaminophen and other pain killers isn’t great for your liver. Or how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), while not being bad for your liver, aren’t great for hearts in certain doses or in people with certain conditions. On the other hand, CBD is now being shown more and more through stories and studies to relieve the same ailments as these over-the-counter drugs common to our bathrooms.
How and Why CBD Works for Athletic Recovery
Specific to athletic recovery, a lot of cannabidiol’s potential medical uses are relevant. In every single one of us, there is a biochemical network called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system has receptors concentrated heavily in the brain, the peripheral nervous system, and the body’s organs. CBD, along with all other cannabinoids like THC, interacts with the ECS and other protein receptors to maintain homeostasis of the body’s functions. This means CBD can help bring inflammation, anxiety, or neuromuscular spasms back to a more normal, balanced level.
For an athlete, this can mean a lot. When inflammation decreases, pain tends to decrease as well. Less pain, inflammation and anxiety typically results in an easier, better sleep – especially when you need all the help you can get before a big game or day in the mountains. These studied properties of CBD are all key to maximizing recovery for everyone from the professional athlete to an amateur kickball enthusiast.
It’s Time to Add CBD to Your Regimen
In a world full of pre-workout products guaranteed to help you hit that PR in the gym or on the bike, CBD can be a helpful addition. We talked in an earlier post how CBD can help lessen the jitters from caffeine (and why it complements our gourmet coffee so well), and that means a cup of CBD coffee or a capsule to go with your caffeine can help you feel a little more steady in the weight room or while sitting on the chairlift. While Ross may have been consuming more than just CBD, it’s exciting to see this natural cannabis compound gaining more acceptance in the world of sports!