The Growing Role of CBD in Athletic Recovery

Athletes constantly seek new ways to optimize their performance and enhance their recovery because they compete in a world where every second counts and every muscle matters.

The use of CBD products for post-workout recovery is an emerging trend that has captured the sporting community’s attention. Amateur athletes to elite-level National Football League (NFL) superstars are turning to CBD to reduce recovery times, reduce inflammation, and improve their moods. We’re about to explore the potential benefits of CBD for athletes, the science behind it, and more.


Understanding CBD: More Than Just a Trend


CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant; it has gained popularity in recent years for its purported therapeutic properties. Unlike its counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD has no psychoactive properties, meaning it doesn’t produce the “high” typically associated with cannabis use. Instead, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates various processes, including inflammation, mood, and pain sensation.

CBD’s lack of a psychoactive component means it is entirely legal in professional sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances in 2017, with the rule change coming into effect on January 1, 2018. This means using CBD in football, basketball, the Olympics, and more is as legal as some online betting sites in California


The Science Behind CBD’s Benefits For Athletes


One of the main reasons thousands of athletes turn to CBD is the chemical’s potential to reduce pain and inflammation, two common ailments experienced during intense training sessions or competitions. Extensive research suggests that CBD works as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reducing oxidative stress in the body. This property alone could help athletes recover more quickly from strenuous workouts and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.


In addition, CBD has been shown to possess analgesic properties, meaning it works as a pain killer. Other forms of pain relief, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and opioids, come with a myriad of potential side effects. CBD gives athletes a natural pain relief option that does not compromise their long-term health and well-being.


Tips for Incorporating CBD into Your Recovery Routine


It is essential to approach CBD with caution and mindfulness. CBD affects everyone differently, so we suggest you take note of these practical tips while incorporating CBD into your routine.


First, realize not all CBD products are created equal. Giving your business to reputable brands that prioritize quality and transparency in their manufacturing process is advisable. The more reputable brand submit their CBD products to third-party testers, meaning you are guaranteed a specific potency and purity.

Although CBD is not psychoactive, its consumption affects individuals differently. With this in mind, it is crucial to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. You can always take more to increase the effect, but you can not remove it from your system if you initially take too much! Take note of how your body responds to different dosages before adjusting.


CBD is available in various forms, making it important to consider your delivery method. Multiple applications exist, including capsules, edibles, oils, and topicals, so finding the best delivery method for you and your lifestyle is advisable. For example, topical CBD products like ointments can be used for targeted relief, while oral ingestion can provide systemic effects. It is worth noting CBD vaping products are becoming increasingly popular, but the long-term effects of vaping on the human body are still not fully known.


The timing of taking CBD also requires consideration. Some athletes prefer taking CBD before a workout, while others find post-workout consumption more beneficial. The delivery method will also significantly affect your timing. Orally ingested products need time to get into your bloodstream, while topical or inhaled products can work within minutes or seconds.


Lastly, as with any supplement, you must listen to your body and make necessary adjustments. Pay attention to how CBD makes you feel and whether or not it improves your recovery. You may experience adverse effects, ranging from dizziness to gastrointestinal discomfort. If this happens to you, you should discontinue use and contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible.


Navigating the Legality of CBD in Sports


You should not fall foul of many laws if you are a sportsperson competing in the United States. Several professional organizations, such as the NFL and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), have relaxed their rules and policies on cannabis use, allowing athletes to use CBD products within specific guidelines. However, some leagues still prohibit the use of any cannabis-derived substance.


Anyone using CBD products must familiarize themselves with the rules of their respective sports’ governing bodies; otherwise, they risk breaking them. Furthermore, be aware of the risks of contamination of CBD products because some may contain traces of THC, which could result in a positive drug test. Punishments for positive drug tests vary per sport but almost always result in a ban from competing in competitions.

You must investigate the legality of CBD in countries outside your home country. While legal on a federal level in the United States, not every country allows cannabis-derived products. If you are an athlete who travels to international competitions or is considering taking CBD products with you on vacation, seek advice from experts and specialists because some countries have strict laws relating to anything they consider drugs. For example, CBD is regarded as a recreational drug in Saudi Arabia, with possession punishable by imprisonment and public flogging. 


In Conclusion


Athletes are encouraged to approach CBD with an open mind and one eye on any research into CBD products. While anecdotal and preliminary studies show promising results, more rigorous scientific studies could change people’s thinking.


CBD promises to be a natural and effective tool for athletic recovery, offering an alternative approach to pain management and inflammation without the side effects of traditional medications. Educate yourself about the potential benefits and risks, all while keeping up-to-date with the latest scientific research and guidelines. In addition, ensure you consult with your chosen sport’s governing body so you do not unknowingly break any rules that prevent you from enjoying the sport you love.