Cannabidiol—better known as CBD—has been making waves among runners and athletes alike for the past few years. Some claim that it can quicken physical recovery and improve athletic performance, while others use it as a natural sleep aid or stress relief.
Because of these benefits, many top CBD brands have released product lines dedicated to athletes. Companies like MuscleMX, Elixinol, Whether you want to eat it or apply it to your skin, a CBD product will likely match an athlete’s needs and preferences.
If you’re curious about how CBD can enhance your performance and way of living as an athlete, we will cover the various ways CBD can help you and some of our recommended CBD products for those who frequently engage in sports.
What is CBD?
The hemp plant contains over 100 plant compounds known as cannabinoids. CBD belongs to this group, along with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—the psychoactive component of marijuana. However, CBD does not produce the same mind-altering effects as its cousin, so in 2018, the FDA removed cannabidiol from its list of illegal substances.
Scientists have long recognized the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD before it has exploded in popularity. Its natural abilities stem from its ability to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). People of all walks-of-life use CBD as a healthy alternative to sleeping pills, pain and inflammation killers, anti-anxiety medications, and many more.
How CBD Can Help Athletes
A recent review conducted by Sports Medicine on the impact of CBD on athletic performance highlighted the objective studies undertaken to understand CBD better. Of the potential applications, the following CBD benefits will likely be well-appreciated by athletes doing any sport:
- Healthier Sleeping Patterns
CBD doesn’t work the same as a traditional sleeping aid. Rather than inducing sleep, it helps eliminate or reduce the factors preventing you from falling or staying asleep. Typical examples include chronic pain, high level of stress, or anxiety. Furthermore, some experts have noted that CBD may help you deal with some sleep disorders, such as insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness. Most products that utilize CBD for sleep contain other ingredients that are more widely known for their sleep-inducing properties. Some of these include melatonin, lavender oil, ashwagandha, valerian root and even tryptophan.
- Faster Physical Recovery
Research studies show that CBD can be effective in reducing inflammation and pain. When taken orally, this cannabinoid may provide general relief for your body. However, localized topical application (balms, lotions, jells, oils and foams) works better for those who suffer from pain in specific areas of the body due to repeated movements. These topical applications have quickly become a runners pre/post run ritual!
This benefit from CBD is possible because of the locations of ECS receptors. We used to think that it’s limited to the central nervous system only, but experts have since identified ECP receptors on the following parts of the body:
- Muscle tissues
- Bone marrow
- Vascular system
- Immune system
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress
Athletes of all types are no strangers to the debilitating effects of anxiety and stress on their performance. To protect your mental health, taking CBD may make you feel relaxed and less troubled by your worries and doubts, especially before important events. A study involving rats in a complicated maze sheds light on how CBD can enhance your performance, too. The rats were in a stressful situation, and with the help of CBD, they were able to finish it faster than the control group.
- No Risk of Developing an Addiction
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the usage of CBD for pain relief does not pose the same risks as THC or opioids. Some experts have even highlighted the potential of CBD in breaking different types of substance abuse or dependence. CBD will benefit athletes undergoing training, performing during a sporting event, or recovering from either activity. It can also do wonders for our overall lifestyle and shield us from free radical damage because it is also a natural antioxidant.
- Different Ways to Take CBD
CBD isn’t a magical cure-all. However, it can be an indispensable tool for any athlete when taken or applied correctly. Given the wide variety of CBD products today, you must know which ones will be best suited for your needs. CBD is personalized. Each type has its pros and cons, so it’s a matter of searching for a good product with limitations that aren’t deal-breakers for you.
Here are some common ways to take CBD and its pros and cons for athletes.
- CBD Oral Products
Under this category falls the CBD capsules, tablets, edibles, beverages, oil and more. Some can be taken as they are, while others may be mixed with other foods or drinks.
Pros: Effects can be felt gradually and for a longer duration. Recommended for those who want to manage a range of health challenges from pain management, faster recovery, anxiety or stress, sleep, focus and energy, immune deficiencies, appetite control and more.
Cons: Might take up to 1 hour before being absorbed. Some types may require additional prep work.
- CBD Sublingual’s
The sublingual method involves holding a tiny amount of CBD tincture oil underneath your tongue for a short while before swallowing it (recommended one-minute or more).
Pros: Quicker absorption rate compared to simple ingestion. An excellent option for those who want to feel immediate effects and a lingering sense of relaxation for the next few hours.
Cons: Requires some pre-measuring to get the dosage right. Not as tasty as most CBD edibles.
- CBD Topicals (A runners go to!).
Any product that is designed for external applications belongs to this category. CBD lotions, balms, body creams, jells, foams and bath bombs are the most popular types.
Pros: Works extremely well when applied directly or near the swollen or painful part of the body (localized). Faster acting for some. Can be used anywhere on the body to loosen up your muscles, relive pain, manage inflammation, speed-up the healing process and relieve stress.
Cons: Not many. The duration may last only 2-4 hours and topical CBD application does not affect other ECS controlled systems.
- CBD Smoking/Vaping Products
Another way of consuming CBD is by smoking hemp flowers or vaping CBD oils or waxes.
Pros: Effects can be felt within 10 minutes or faster. Different CBD flower strains offer varying potency levels.
Cons: Vape pen cartridges may contain chemicals that can be irritating when inhaled. Not recommended for those with preexisting lung conditions and not recommended for athletes. NOTE: Under Iowa Law (Inspection & Appeals File 481). Vaping CBD is illegal for retail sale.
You might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of CBD products and information available today. Though the final decision is still up to you, most runners, and athletes alike, take CBD topical products, especially those that are portable, ready to use, and have impactful effects. CBD edibles, oils and drinks are a popular choice since these products help enhance the overall performance of the bodies ECS system.
HW Premium CBD believes in the power of cannabis as a component of a healthy lifestyle. Our team is committed to teaching others about CBD and the healing properties it offers while providing it at an affordable price. We offer a line of products with a range of wellness applications. This allows our customers to choose a cannabis product with a concentration and delivery system best suited to meet their needs. We seek to help people by offering the market’s premium, lab tested, certified, and natural CBD products as a component of a healthy lifestyle.
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