Whether you are a weekend warrior, frequently at the gym, or a competitive athlete, we are all looking for ways to speed up recovery, reduce soreness (pain), reduce inflammation, increase focus, energy and optimize performance. And, if you are a competitive athlete, you may need to stay within certain testing guidelines to remain eligible for the competition, limiting what medications and supplements you can use. Many professional (and non-professional) athletes are turning to CBD for sports performance as a natural, safe, effective option to support their athletic training regimen and daily diet.
We have seen athletes run into trouble with marijuana use because it is still federally illegal and unregulated by the FDA, particularly because of the chemical compound THC (that causes you to feel high) found in the marijuana plant. CBD is different from being derived from the hemp plant containing minute traces of THC (legal amount 0.3%), and does not cause any psychoactive effects.
When discussing CBD for sports performance, the first thing to address is whether it helps support a healthy and active lifestyle while recovering, getting pain relief, increased focus & energy, and quality rest possible in athletics. The short answer – yes. But it is crucial to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Choosing a CBD company to ensure that they provide full panel lab reports showing the purity, potency, label accuracy, and safe of harmful bacteria and toxins. Full Panel Lab Testing is costly and what separates the top brands.
There are 3 types of CBD hemp-derived products:
1) Full spectrum products contain all the naturally occurring plant compounds, cannabinoids, terpenes and contain trace amounts of THC (legal limit of 0.3%) which could show up on a urinalysis.
2) Broad Spectrum products have a spectrum of plant compounds, cannabinoids, and terpenes but without any traces of THC. *This would be a great option as it contains 0% THC.
3) Isolate products only have one cannabinoid/compound CBD and zero % THC. *A good option with 0% THC. However, you lose the other beneficial plant compounds found in a broad spectrum product containing 0% THC.
Topicals offer a great way to help with localized pain-soreness-inflammation in the muscle and joints. When considering CBD for sports performance, look for topicals with proven pain-relieving properties like Arnica, Capsaicin, Lemongrass, Turmeric, Camphor & Menthol that will give a cooling-warming sensation while helping to numb the pain away.
The NFL, NBA, MLB does not mention CBD in their list of substances, but THC is, so by default CBD is highly recommended not to use. However, the NFL & NBA are currently studying the best way to allow their athletes to use CBD for sports performance.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances allowing the sports organizations like FIFA, NHL, and MMA to use CBD.
Research suggests that CBD for sports performance is a viable option for treating pain and inflammation naturally without using heavier pain killers or other medications that may have a host of short-term and long-term side effects. A study published in Sports Medicine reported positive findings in their research for the use of CBD as a tool to support sports performance, “CBD has been reported to exert several physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects, that have the potential to benefit athletes. For instance, there is preliminary supportive evidence for anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, analgesic, and anxiolytic actions of CBD and the possibility it may protect against GI damage associated with inflammation and promote the healing of traumatic skeletal injuries.” While more studies are needed, initial research and significant anecdotal evidence point to CBD as a useful tool for athletes in recovery, pain management, and general well-being.
Additionally, it is important to consult your physician and your specific athletic organization or agency to ensure CBD is not prohibited.