CBD and Sport: A Game Plan for Athletic Recovery

CBD and Sport: A Game Plan for Athletic Recovery

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CBD, Sport, and You: Navigating the Path to Athletic Wellness

In the fast-paced world of sports, where every edge counts, there's a buzz around a game-changer – CBD. Yep, that's the stuff from the hemp plant that everyone's talking about. Athletes are leveraging CBD products like oils, capsules, gummies as well as topical CBD products (CBD sport gel, CBD sport cream, and CBD sport balm), not just for wellness but to up their training and recovery game. It's not just some alternative wellness trend anymore; it's the new secret weapon for athletes, helping them perform better and bounce back quicker. So, buckle up as we dive into the world of CBD and sports, from recovery tricks to potential endurance boosts, we are exploring how this natural compound is shaking things up in the pursuit of peak athletic performance.

Why Should Athletes Take CBD for sport?

Athletes subject their bodies to significant stress through rigorous training and endure the consequences of injuries and discomfort. While modern pain relief prove effective methods for sport CBD on the other hand offer a more natural way mitigating the downsides associated with traditional pain management approaches.

Digging into why athletes are turning to CBD in their sports routine brings us to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a big shot regulator in our bodies. This system takes care of important things like the immune system, mood, sleep, and how we deal with pain, basically keeping everything in check. Upon entering the body, Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with ECS receptors, and the result? A bit of balance in the body's big picture.

Exploring the Scientific Landscape: Insights from Studies on Cannabidiol and Sports Performance

In the pursuit of scientific understanding, we turn to studies like "Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research" to shed light on the matter.[1]

Given the current absence of direct studies on CBD and sports performance, the evidence for this narrative review was drawn from preclinical studies and a limited number of clinical trials conducted in non-athlete populations. In animal models, preclinical studies have reported robust anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and analgesic effects of CBD. Additionally, preliminary evidence suggests that CBD may safeguard against gastrointestinal damage associated with inflammation and promote the healing of traumatic skeletal injuries. However, it is crucial to note that further research is needed to validate these findings.

Early-stage clinical studies indicate that CBD might have anxiolytic properties in stress-inducing situations and among individuals with anxiety disorders. Although some case reports suggest improvements in sleep with CBD, comprehensive and robust evidence in this regard is currently lacking. Cognitive function and thermoregulation seem unaffected by CBD, while its effects on food intake, metabolic function, cardiovascular function, and infection necessitate further investigation. CBD exhibits potential physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects that could benefit athletes; however, conclusive statements on the utility of CBD in enhancing athletic performance require well-controlled studies conducted specifically within athlete populations. Now, let's look more into how CBD tackles inflammation and muscle soreness.

How CBD Targets Inflammation and Muscle Soreness

No matter how in shape you are, we all have those days when a workout takes its toll. Some exercises can leave you feeling sore for days. It's all part of the deal – when you work out, tiny damage happens to your muscle fibers. Those muscles then get a bit inflamed, and your body jumps into action to fix things up, leaving you with that familiar feeling of muscle soreness or stiffness. Existing evidence highlights CBDs potential benefits in mitigating inflammation and improving pain relief.

As per a comprehensive analysis of 132 original studies featured in Frontiers in Neurology in 2018, CBD has been found to effectively diminish inflammation in the body and enhance pain relief and mobility in individuals dealing with multiple sclerosis. [2] The authors of the review study noted that CBD exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties.

Emerging findings propose that CBD consumption in humans may enhance satellite cell differentiation in muscles, potentially benefiting muscle recovery (such as attenuating muscle damage) and performance (such as strength) (Schouten et al., 2022).[3] Recent research also indicates modest yet significant effects on muscle damage and recovery, including reductions in creatine kinase and myoglobin levels, within 72 hours after a 60 mg CBD supplementation (Isenmann et al., 2021). [4]

CBD's Impact on Sleep and Restorative Processes

The delicate balance between rigorous training and adequate recovery often tips towards the former, leaving athletes and sports enthusiasts grappling with heightened stress and compromised sleep. The importance of quality sleep in an athlete's overall well-being cannot be overstated, and this is where CBD emerges as a potential ally.

As athletes frequently overreact to high training loads and inadequate recovery, these conditions can lead to disturbances in sleep patterns, hindering restful recovery. CBD appears to play a crucial role in modulating the body's sleep-wake cycle, a key factor in the athlete's recovery journey (Burstein, 2015; Hill et al., 2017). [5], [6]

Additionally, CBD has shown promise in reducing nightmares and symptoms of insomnia in athletes (Russo et al., 2007; Choi et al., 2020; Mondino et al., 2021; Ranum et al., 2023). [7], [8], [9], [10]. Exploring the intricate connection between CBD and the endocannabinoid system further reveals substances that promote sleep, with CBD acting as an activator for this crucial system (McCartney et al., 2020; Rojas-Valverde, 2021). [11], [12] As athletes strive for peak performance, the potential of CBD to support restful sleep becomes an intriguing aspect of holistic well-being in the athletic world.

Stress Less, Recover More: Exploring CBD's Role in Managing Stress Hormones

CBD has already been shown to be effective for anxiety disorders. Like other people who experience regular stress, athletes also suffer from recurring periods of anxiety, which can be caused by peer pressure, performance anxiety, or injury.

Recent research hints that CBD could be a game-changer in tackling anxiety. How? Well, it turns out that CBD activates the 5-HT1A receptors and fixes the communication breakdown in the serotonin system, according to De Gregorio et al. in 2019. [13] By binding up to these receptors, CBD helps the transmission of serotonin—a key player in shaping our moods and emotions. But that's not all. CBD also demonstrates an impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a big player in our body's stress response. By putting a damper on the production of stress hormones like cortisol, CBD steps in to dial down the overall stress response. A recent survey conducted by OnePoll for Forbes Health though revealed that 51% of U.S. adults who use CBD do so specifically to address and alleviate their anxiety concerns. [14]

Athlete Testimonials: Real Stories of Recovery with CBD. Mike Tyson.

You probably know that Mike Tyson made boxing history as the first heavyweight champ to hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles simultaneously. According to The Sun, cannabis, especially CBD, has played a transformative role in Tyson's life. [15] He's not shy about singing the praises of CBD for athletes, openly sharing that he incorporates it into his daily training routine.

Tyson Holistic is on a mission to contribute to the ongoing conversation about the therapeutic potential of cannabis, particularly its key component, CBD. The company, under Tyson's guidance, has developed sport CBD CopperGel, a product infused with CBD that has proven clinical efficacy in alleviating muscle and joint pain, arthritis, and even extends to CBD-infused dog treats.

In addition to his ventures with Tyson Holistic, Tyson has put his money into CHILL, a company specializing in CBD alkaline water. Tyson passionately believes that CBD can be a vital tool in combating opioid addiction, drawing from his personal experiences. Reflecting on his two-decade-long career in the ring, Tyson stated, "I've been fighting for over 20 years, and my body has a lot of wear and tear. I had two surgeries, and I used marijuana to calm my nerves and take away the pain. But before, they had me on those opiates, and those opiates had me all screwed up."

Is CBD Legal for Athletes?

The use of prohibited drugs and doping in sport is dangerous. Athletes can be disqualified therefore, the issue of the legality of the use of CBD products is more relevant than ever.

Taking CBD before or during competition will not get you into legal trouble. Like many European countries, the UK has long since removed cannabidiol from its list of banned drugs. CBD is not currently on the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List. Therefore, its use in sport is permitted. All other cannabinoids (including but not limited to cannabis, hashish, marijuana and THC) are prohibited in competition.

UK Anti-Doping's position on the use of cannabidiol products in sport is as follows. The use of any CBD product is at the athlete's own risk. Therefore, CBD products should be considered in the same way as any other dietary supplement. This means that if an athlete used a CBD product that resulted in an Adverse Analytical Finding for THC (or any other prohibited substance), the use of that product would not mitigate their fault.

The World Health Organisation classifies CBD as a safe and generally well-tolerated substance, with studies indicating minimal, if any, adverse effects. However, there are potential risks associated with using CBD in combination with other medications, as interactions between these substances can lead to adverse effects, including but not limited to weight gain, drowsiness, upset stomach and changes in appetite.

In Conclusion: Integrating CBD into Your Athletic Recovery Game Plan

Wondering about the best way to incorporate CBD into your recovery routine? Well, beyond the classic CBD oils and tinctures, you'll find a variety of options like infused balms, lotions, capsules, and edibles offering different ways to experience its benefits. Whether you prefer ingesting it or applying it topically for relief is entirely up to you.

When it comes to dosage, it's a bit of trial and error. While the suggested dosing guidelines provide a starting point, CBD reacts uniquely in each person's body. Once you've found that sweet spot and feel the desired effects, there's no need to constantly up the dose. If you're using CBD oil for recovery, you can simply fill the pipette to the same spot every time.

In a nutshell, if your doctor gives the green light and you're open to trying CBD as an alternative to traditional anti-inflammatories, why not give it a shot? Experiment with different delivery methods and doses over a few weeks to figure out what works best for you. Who knows? Tomorrow, you might find yourself recovering faster from your workout, giving you one less reason to skip leg day.

Sources:

  1. Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research
  2. Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis
  3. Molecular Mechanisms Through Which Cannabidiol May Affect Skeletal Muscle Metabolism, Inflammation, Tissue Regeneration, and Anabolism: A Narrative Review
  4. Effects of Cannabidiol Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Regeneration after Intensive Resistance Training
  5. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation
  6. Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review
  7. Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine
  8. Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis on Sleep Disorders and Related Conditions
  9. Effects of Cannabis Consumption on Sleep
  10. Use of Cannabidiol in the Management of Insomnia: A Systematic Review
  11. Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research
  12. Potential Role of Cannabidiol on Sports Recovery: A Narrative Review
  13. Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain
  14. How To Use CBD For Anxiety: Uses, Dosage And Side Effects
  15. Inside Mike Tyson’s cannabis empire that makes £500k a month and promises weed-themed resort as he launches new company
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