To operate at peak performance, athletes train hard, exchange rest for action, face stress head-on, and don’t shy away from a physical challenge. The outcome is equal to the effort in athleticism, and effort is not always a comfortable process.
Many athletes are taking a sincere interest in hemp-derived CBD (cannabidiol) as a way to support their health and well-being. Why? In a sense, CBD levels the playing field physically because it helps keep the body functioning well. But beyond the cannabinoid’s body-therapeutic attributes, the possible psychological benefits are important for athletes as well.
Is CBD for athletes a good thing? At Nirvana CBD, we obviously believe so. But a growing number of athletes and scientists are in agreement. If you are a curious athlete yourself, you’re bound to want to know more. Let’s get into the specifics surrounding the benefits of CBD for athletes.
The Basics of CBD and How It Works in the Body
Scientifically, CBD is a phytocannabinoid. Phytocannabinoids are found in certain plants but are especially prominent in plants from the cannabis family like hemp. Cannabidiol is one of these phytocannabinoids, but the family of plants boasts an impressive collection of more than 100 unique cannabinoids. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBN (cannabinol), and CBG (cannabigerol) are a few other examples.
The body produces its own version of cannabinoids referred to as endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex system made up of cannabinoid receptors. Even though much remains to be pinned down about the ECS, scientists have determined that the system plays a part in a vast collection of biological and psychological functions. Sleep, metabolism, immune system response, and pain perception are all examples.
When cannabinoids like CBD are introduced to the body’s ECS, the ECS seems to process these compounds just like those endocannabinoids produced by the body. All cannabinoids seem to interact with the ECS in different ways, however. For example, THC seems to bind firmly to ECS receptors, which may be why this cannabinoid generates the trademark “high” feeling. On the contrary, CBD seems to interact with the ECS in a totally different way and does not generate intoxicating effects at all. The cannabinoid seems to “modulate overall ECS tone.” In other words, CBD may encourage homeostasis within the ECS and yield a long list of benefits due to that action.
Why Athletes Use CBD
Research into CBD and all the cannabinoid can offer is just beginning, but we already know that the benefits of CBD for athletes are worthy of attention. So far, CBD has been found to have a wealth of beneficial properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and antioxidant properties. The cannabinoid has been examined for its ability to aid in pain relief, support sleep, soothe digestive issues, and so much more. Therefore, the list of ways CBD could prove valuable to athletes is ever-growing.
No great athlete ever reached their status without facing physical adversity head-on. Most will tell you that pushing through physical limitations and discomfort is just part of shaping yourself into the best you can be. The grueling nature of reaching a prime athletic status can mean pain, injuries, and even stress for the individual.
As much as athletes have the no-pain-no-gain mindset and respect it, the repercussions of pushing themselves physically and emotionally to the limits are very real. CBD may be a natural way to support the mind and body in extreme circumstances—circumstances athletes are familiar with.
The Benefits of CBD for Athletes
Pushing the body to the brink puts a strain on the muscles, which are made of fibrous tissue that sustains tiny tears during aggressive training or physical challenges. A growing number of athletes are using CBD for muscle recovery, which may help them recuperate quicker and get on with their plans. Because CBD has both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the cannabinoid soothes damaged muscle tissue. The regulation of the inflammatory response may aid in the recovery of damaged muscle tissues.
Pain Relief and Management
Pain may be part of the athletic life equation, but many athletes do seek pharmaceutical help to relieve pain. In 2017, there were reports that varsity athletes used prescription pain meds as much as three times more than those who were not athletes. CBD may be a much more viable alternative for athletes trying to deal with pain.
A number of published studies have shown that CBD may hold promise as a treatment for chronic pain. In a specific study published in 2019, CBD reduced pain scores by 30 percent among study participants with fibromyalgia. All the mechanisms of how CBD works to help people with pain are not yet fully understood. However, we do know that the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabinoid and the potential to affect pain perception via neural pathways could be at work.
Promotes Better Sleep
Sleep gives the body an opportunity to recuperate, reset, and refresh. Research has suggested that athletes may have a harder time falling asleep and less quality sleep. As an adage, one study showed that athletes can have worse sleep issues prior to big games or important competitions. As many as 70 percent of the 632 survey participants had issues falling asleep the night before a big event.
CBD for athletes who do have issues falling asleep could prove valuable. CBD has been found to be effective to help people both fall asleep and stay asleep, especially when sleep quality is disrupted due to anxiety.
Can Encourage Weight Loss
Keeping your weight in check as an athlete can be an ongoing thing. After all, your weight can affect important facets of athletic performance, such as your agility and speed. Beyond eating a well-balanced diet, focusing on protein intake, and eradicating sugar, CBD may also help encourage weight loss. While the initial research is limited, CBD has been shown to deliver a metabolism boost and reduce the intake of food in animal studies.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Athletes can be especially prone to getting stressed and anxious. Stress and anxiety can be in relation to their performance capabilities, the time requirements of training, and other unique stressors associated with certain sports like traveling, dealing with the public, and more. Using CBD as a way to calm stress and anxiety has grown increasingly common among athletes. CBD can act as an anxiolytic, and several studies have proven this cannabinoid’s efficacy for improving anxiety symptoms.
Regulated Mood and Emotion
Your coach gives you a lot of slack, a teammate pushes your nerves to the limit, you don’t meet your goals, and you’re feeling especially agitated. All this can mean a hard time keeping your emotions stable and your mood on an even keel. Staying emotionally regulated keeps you focused on your efforts and goals, but athletes can face a few curveballs. CBD may help you stay level-headed.
The ECS plays a major role in maintaining emotional well-being by regulating serotonin and dopamine levels and potentially stabilizing chemical imbalances. CBD acts as a sort-of stabilizer for the ECS. While the research on this topic is limited, the conclusions are easy to draw that CBD may help you keep your emotions in check.
Different Ways Athletes Use CBD
CBD is available in a broad collection of different products, and what any athlete chooses can be a matter of preference. The most popular CBD products among athletes tend to be CBD topicals, edibles, soft gels, and CBD oil.
- CBD Topicals – Creams, oils, salves—all of these can be incorporated with CBD for targeted application of the cannabinoid. For example, Nirvana CBD Body Lotion and Roll-On CBD allow you to apply the product right to the source of discomfort and our CBD Roll On can be used to easily apply CBD on the go. Topicals with CBD can also be a valuable addition to post-workout massage therapy routines.
- CBD Soft Gels – CBD can be found in capsule, tablet, and soft gel form for convenient dosing. Capsule-style products offer a precise CBD dosage, which can make it easy to control exactly how much CBD you take. For example, Nirvana CBD Broad-Spectrum CBD Soft Gels offer 25mg of CBD per soft gel.
- CBD Oil – CBD oil, such as Nirvana CBD Oil Tincture, is created by suspending the cannabinoid in a carrier oil. CBD oil is a popular option among athletes because sublingually dosing (under the tongue) can yield the fastest onset of effects; usually within 15 minutes.
- CBD Edibles – Edibles come in all shapes and sizes, but CBD gummies are easily the most popular. Edibles can take a little longer to take effect (about an hour) but are convenient to add to your daily regimen as an athlete. And, the precise dosage of each edible makes it easy to consume an exact amount of CBD.
Pro Athletes That Use CBD and Why
Nirvana CBD has had the pleasure of sponsoring a number of professional athletes from diverse backgrounds. Take a look at just a few of the well-known athletes that use Nirvana CBD and why.
As a Two-time Olympia Classic Champ and 1st Arnold Classic Champ, Breon Ansley uses CBD every day and every night. Therapeutic massages with CBD Muscle Recovery Lotion allow him to decompress after an intense workout. Ansley also says that CBD calms that rattled state of mind and body that come along with rigorous training.
Pro mountain biker and Pro BMXer Tommy Zula says he uses Nirvana CBD specifically after intense riding or training to help with sleep and muscle recovery. He says CBD really helps if he has swelling or if he needs to unwind. As an adage, Zula says one Nirvana CBD Gummy every morning helps him stay focused for the day.
Sashli Star has been recognized as an NPC Wellness Athlete and 2018 Amateur Olympia. Her intense bodybuilding regimen has fostered her accomplishments as a female athlete, but she also counts on CBD to support her efforts and retain focus.
Also a pro BMX rider and a part of Team USA, Jeff Upshaw says CBD has done wonders for him after having to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery in 2009. He relies on Nirvana CBD to support joint health, specifically the health of his knees that support his performance on the track.
Jon Yoshiro is a professional golfer who gained conditional status in 2019 on the Mackenzie Tour, otherwise known as the PGA Tour Canada. Yoshihiro says CBD helps him both on and off the course—he uses Nirvana CBD for focus during competitions and to relax and recover after training.
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder Mattie Nelms says his introduction to Nirvana CBD has fundamentally changed his approach to recovery and repair. Nelms says that CBD allows him to alleviate stress and anxiety, but to also get relief from joint and muscle pain.
Discover the Benefits of CBD for Athletes with Nirvana CBD
With so many benefits to offer and an excellent safety profile, CBD has rapidly gained interest and support from top athletes. If you are ready to try CBD for yourself as an athletic individual, be sure to go with a good broad-spectrum product made from high-quality hemp and no THC like Nirvana CBD products. From CBD edibles and CBD oil to CBD topicals and soft gels, we offer a full lineup of hemp-derived CBD products to support your active lifestyle.
Thanks for reading our guide on CBD for athletes! We hope that it helped provide valuable insights into the many potential benefits of CBD for athletes.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave us a message in the comments below, and be sure to check out the Nirvana CBD blog for even more guides, news, and more.
The information contained in this article is not intended to serve as a substitute for advice or guidance from a certified doctor or lawyer. Before trying Cannabidiol (CBD) or purchasing any CBD product, you should always conduct your own research and consult with your doctor. While CBD was classified as “generally well tolerated with a good safely profile” by the World Health Organization (WHO), further research is needed in order to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of CBD on a generalized basis.