Can CBD support athletes recovery?
In recent years CBD has become increasingly popular among athletes as a wellness supplement.
Early research suggests that CBD may help to support pain relief, reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality, which could in turn support recovery and performance.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a natural compound found in cannabis and hemp, is growing in popularity among elite athletes and sports enthusiasts as a natural way to potentially support recovery. CBD is the only cannabinoid that is not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Recovery is an essential part of any athlete’s training regime. Rest and quality sleep are vitally important for allowing the body to repair itself after any intense exercise – increasing muscle tissue growth and reducing the risk of injury – while also helping athletes to stay mentally focused.
All athletes should be aware of the risks of using full- and broad-spectrum CBD, as they contain other cannabinoids that are prohibited by WADA.
As a precaution, Natural Strains does not recommend CBD for athletes who are subject to regular doping tests.
Recent research indicates that cannabinoids like CBD are the second most popular substance among contact sports athletes, and that one third of cyclists, runners and triathletes use or have used cannabinoids with the aim of supporting their recovery and performance.
In addition, more than one quarter of professional rugby players have used CBD as a natural alternative to painkillers, many of whom report it could help with recovery and sleep.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100+ compounds known as cannabinoids found in the Cannabis/ Hemp plant. It is the main active ingredient in an ever-growing range of hemp-based products, from CBD oils, flowers, capsules, CBD gummies, balms, and beauty products.
Unlike the controlled cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-intoxicating and does not cause a “high”. Early research indicates that CBD offers lots of potential health benefits, and may be able to ease inflammation, support pain relief, aid with stress & anxiety, nourish and aid with various skin issues and help aid fatigue.
CBD products must contain non-detectable THC and be derived from hemp containing less than 0.2% or 0.3% THC in order to be legal in the UK, EU, USA and other countries.
What is CBD for athletes?
CBD influences the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vast cell-signalling system found throughout the body that regulates many important processes, including sleep, mood, pain and appetite. The primary function of the ECS is to keep the body in a balanced internal state (or homeostasis).
When consumed, CBD is thought to support the function of the ECS indirectly. One way it does this is by preventing enzymes from breaking down endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by the body that facilitate communication within the ECS). In doing so, CBD may be able to indirectly support a wide range of processes, including sleep and recovery, and potentially help the body to stay balanced and healthy.
Although there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence for CBD’s therapeutic potential among athletes and other users, clinical research is still in the early stages. However, preliminary studies suggest that CBD may contribute to supporting pain relief and aiding to reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality, all of which could in turn support recovery and athletic performance.
The safest option for competing athletes is CBD isolate, which is CBD in its purest form, with no other cannabinoids. However, the absence of minor cannabinoids means that CBD isolate does not offer the potential benefits of the entourage effect, a phenomenon whereby all the cannabinoids and other hemp compounds work together to enhance the oil’s natural properties.
To minimise any risk of a failed drug test, athletes and those looking to support their recovery with CBD should look always check the sellers Certificate of Analysis (CoA) on each product. These can be find in the description of all Natural Strains products.
Disclaimer: As of now, there is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of CBD in the condition(s) mentioned. Always seek the advice of your healthcare/medical professional if you are taking prescribed medication or are thinking of using CBD for your condition.