Why CBD is so Beneficial for Athletes
Even though more people have begun to recognize the beneficial properties of CBD, it has still flown under the radar for many others. Especially in sports, we have seen a dramatic increase of CBD use and the medical community has found many additional benefits. From college to professional, usage has seen a positive reaction from athletes around the world who use it to relax, heal, destress, and focus.
CBD Acts on the Body Through the Central Nervous System
Most of this compound's effects derive from its action on your body's nervous system. Within your brain, numerous receptors line every inch, and when you ingest CBD, these chemicals come into contact with those receptors and help you to relax, due to its effect on your endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD is derived from the cannabis plant and gives you some of those relaxing effects, but it does not contain THC and won’t provide users with a “high” or intoxicated feeling in any way.
When CBD is consumed, the body interacts with your ECS similarly to the way that it promotes relaxation, which is why so many athletes take it before and after games. Have you ever had an anxious feeling in your stomach while participating or watching a game? Most athletes do, which is why CBD can help prepare an athlete to relax and focus on what they're doing.
In General, Athletes Train to Endure Stress
While you are on the field, nothing else enters your mind. At least, that's how things are supposed to go. Of course in reality, small aches and pains take your attention away from what matters, and the stress of games can make your body feel weak and your legs feel heavy. Reports even show that players who deal a lot with stress or have high anxiety levels are more easily injured! Anxiety also tends to lead to stress which can result in migraines. The American Migrain Foundation reported that CBD may be a “viable topical option for some patients with joint and muscle pain associated with migraine”.
How Much CBD Should You Dose?
Generally speaking, there aren't any agreed-upon guidelines. So, if you happen to ask an expert, they would tell you to start small and build up gradually. A standard 2 oz bottle with a dose of 500 mg, equates to about 8-10 mg of CBD per dropper, which is a good starting point. Start with one to two droppers and see how you feel. Over time, you'll develop a feeling for what gives your body the ability to relax effectively.
Before using CBD, be sure the product you are using is pure, without THC. If CBD is mixed with THC, the effective dose can be much smaller, and the effects will be far different. Putting THC in your body before an important athletic event might cause effects that will not be conducive to a strong performance. Intoxication and dizziness can cause serious issues that prevent you from playing entirely. It is also illegal to consume THC in many states, and consuming CBD that is not pure could cause drug testing issues for you as well.
Pure CBD has so many benefits and there are different forms you can take it in. For instance, CBD oil (which is usually the most common form) is a base oil, like coconut oil, plus the actual CBD oil. The CBD oil is characterized as full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate, based on how it’s extracted. Full spectrum and broad spectrum is made by removing the THC from the Cannabis plant while retaining some of the additional terpenes and natural benefits of the plant. CBD isolate is extracted from the cannabis plant so you don’t get the same benefits or the entourage effects from the oil. As long as your CBD does not contain THC, you won’t get high from ingesting it, but you can still gain many of the medicinal benefits like the ones we discuss below.
- Could Help Lower the Heart Rate
Some studies have shown that taking CBD oil might help reduce your heart rate which is not only great before an intense game, it is also great for overall health! In fact, some doctors recommend the usage of CBD in elderly patients who are struggling with high cholesterol.
- Might Reduce Cortisol / Stress
At the same time, throughout the body, cortisol levels begin to decline once CBD is introduced to the body. Since these are the body's stress hormones, it's not surprising to hear that people report feeling more relaxed after consumption. Many times, when those hormones decrease, the weight of stress lifts from you and you are able to focus better on the task at hand.
- May Help Contro Healthy Blood Pressure
Beyond those two effects emerges another interesting phenomenon. Some studies have shown that people who consume CBD may see a reduction in blood pressure.. This is because CBD oil can help get your body’s stress responses under control. Lower blood pressure, of course, is also extremely beneficial for the health of your heart.
May Contribute to Better Sleep
When you are a competitive athlete, sleep is about the most important thing on your schedule. Frequent nights without the proper amount of sleep can cause fatigue and your body will lack the appropriate energy it needs to perform properly. When the body lacks sufficient sleep, everything starts to degrade. Reaction time decreases dramatically and studies show injuries increase when an athlete is drowsy.
There are also many long term effects of lack of sleep which are damaging to athletes and non-athletes alike. This includes an increased risk for diabetes, increased weight gain, and a weakened immunity. Scientists have even discovered that poor balance and a lowered sex drive are results of people with poor sleep habits!
Yet another negative impact of little sleep is increased restlessness. We’ve discussed how CBD helps reduce stress and one of those ways is by helping to increase sleep so your body has time to refresh and face the challenges of the day with renewed energy. In fact, deep sleep restores the part of the brain that helps regulate emotions. When that is affected so can our stress levels and mood.
CBD in Sports
There are quite a few athletic uses for CBD besides ingesting it. For instance, many athletes use a CBD gel or cream on spots where they feel pain, such as sore muscles.. Even beyond benefits of use on the field, CBD can help increase your recovery time off the field as well. After a big game, CBD oil can help players recover from small injuries, help relax post-game stresses (as we’ve discussed), and even help keep their muscles from cramping and return to normal at a faster rate, so they can be ready quicker for the next game.
For some athletes, CBD can be a game changer. Each athlete has their own process of relaxing for a game and many have found CBD oil has helped them do just that. Many chiropractors and sports medics recommend it as well to help sore muscles recover faster.
No one knows your body quite as well as yourself. Over the years of injury and activity, you know what works for you and what doesn’t. CBD is not a guaranteed answer for all,but it’s worth a try if you are looking for health, athletic or recovery benefits . Again, it’s good to start with a small dosage and go from there.
- Focus on the Game: In the middle of the game it can be difficult to focus through stress and any pains you may feel. Debilitating conditions such as these have known to decrease with CBD use. Many older individuals play sports at a recreational level, and CBD might also help aid with general aches & joint pains. Try a combination product with menthol & CBD for the best topical use. This allows many people who would otherwise not be able to enjoy the game to play it with a reasonable amount of comfort.
- Reduce Inflammation: Difficulty with pain does not only occur on the field, but also after the game. Many athletes find that after waking up the next morning, they are often in even more pain than in the middle of their game! Usually, this can be chalked up to inflammation. During the game, inflammation may not flare up, or even have the time to develop yet. Intense soreness the next days is common and called delayed onset muscle soreness . Using CBD oil before bed or rolling on a combination cream of menthol, CBD and other natural pain relievers may help reduce the pain you feel in the morning from intense exercise. Fish oil is also a great natural way to resolve exercise induced inflammation.
CBD inhibits an eicosanoid enzyme known as COX2 that has an effect on cytokines (which greatly impacts the inflammation process). Whether your inflammation is acute (which occurs after injuries and illnesses) or chronic (which is a more long-term inflammation that can last for years!), CBD might be able to help soothe it, and is a great option to try.
- Decreases Muscle Cramps: While you are sprinting down the field, the last thing you want to happen is a muscle cramp. These kinds of cramps are involuntary contractions that cause severe pain and make it almost impossible to use that muscle for a short time. As CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it helps to influence how the body responds to pain.This is similar to the effects of EPA and DHA in fish oil. T CBD may help relax tightened muscle and can help to both prevent and recover from these muscle spasms.
CBD has been used regularly by athletes such as Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Stanley, Mike Tyson, and Eddie Hall. With minimal (if any) side effects, CBD can be a great way to help you focus on your game, relax, get much needed sleep, and keep your muscles from tensing up and harming your play. As stated before, make sure you speak with your doctor regarding the recommended doses, then go out and play your game to your highest potential.