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Athletes are always looking for ways to push their bodies and performance in the best ways possible, and the supplement world is a big part of this. However, one sector that is beginning to grow more and more in terms of both athlete and common use is CBD. However, the nature of CBD and how it ties into marijuana means there’s both a great deal of confusion and concern in some circles on whether it works and whether athletes can safely use it. So, if you’re on the fence about using legal CBD products to support your athletic needs, here’s what to know.
As a brief explanation, CBD functions by introducing additional cannabinoids into the system. These chemicals then activate receptors in the body to produce certain positive feelings. From an athlete’s perspective, this can provide support in a variety of ways. For starters, athletes naturally have to deal with pain management, even when not injured, due to the rigors of competition and training. CBD is a natural partner in this regard, thought to inhibit these sensation by affecting glycine receptors, adenosine receptors, and other types. For example, rubbing a CBD cream on the afflicted area may help relieve pain after a workout so athletes can get back to training faster.
In addition, for full-contact sports, there’s always going to be heavy strain on joints and tendons just by the nature of playing, which can lead to pain and soreness that causes issues on and off the field/court. Commonly, the way that this is tackled is through a combination of physical training and opioids/NSAIDs. However, chronic use of pain medication and prescription drug use has been shown to have a pronounced impact on both mental health and other aspects of an athlete’s life.
CBD has the benefit of being a non-toxic, non-addictive alternative for this. As a result, many hobbyist athletes or generally athletic people can use it just fine to manage their pain.
Note that CBD with less than .3% THC concentration is permitted by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency), all other cannabinoids are prohibited, and athletes are still liable for any substances found in their body. As a result, it’s important to understand the risks and consideration with using CBD as a competitive athlete.
For example, many CBD products on the market may combine CBD and other cannabinoids, which would be prohibited. Some CBD products can be also be mislabeled. In 2017, the American Medical Association published a study showing that 69 percent of all CBD products covered had different levels of CBD than what they found on packaging. Labels can be misleading as to how many cannabinoids you are taking, and adding more variance to it, every athlete metabolizes and excretes chemicals differently.
As a result, when it comes to using CBD–whether a professional athlete subject to drug testing or weekend warrior–ensuring purity and quality can be difficult, so essential to find the best quality product.