Cannabis, a flowering plant genus, is known to have at least 113 cannabinoids or chemical compounds, all distinct in characteristics and properties. Cannabinoids are found naturally in plants (phytocannabinoids) as well as human beings (endocannabinoids), therefore the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants can also interact with cannabinoid receptors in the human body, triggering a host of different physiological reactions. CBD is one such cannabinoid.
What Is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, or chemical compound, commonly found in the hemp plant of the plant genus cannabis. It is found predominantly in the flower and the leaves of the hemp plant. It has several benefits, including the ability to reduce anxiety, stress and symptoms of depression. What gives CBD a unique quality is the fact that it has no psychotropic effects.
This is in stark contrast to THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, another popular cannabinoid found in marijuana plants, which is the principal psychoactive element in the plant. THC is the chemical compound that causes the feeling of being “high”. The cannabinoid interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the human body in a way that often causes an altered state of reality, sometimes even hallucinations.
CBD extracts can be derived from both hemp plants and marijuana plants, however, the THC content in both differ. CBD oil is typically derived from low-THC industrial hemp and therefore has negligible traces of THC, making it perfectly safe for use by adults, pets and even children in some cases.
Benefits of CBD for Athletes
CBD, as mentioned above, has several health benefits. In its oil, tincture or topical cream or gel form, it can be of great help to athletes to recover from injuries, calm nerves and improve long-term performance. The following are some benefits of CBD athletes that will find useful:
Active athletes can often experience inflammation, pain and injuries during practice, workouts and even on the field. No matter how warmed up the athlete is, pain and injuries can come out of nowhere and can be quite hard to recover from.
A severe injury could also mean the athlete has to spend the rest of the season on the bench or cannot play or run for a few weeks at least. CBD oil has shown to have provided relief from chronic pain in cases of multiple sclerosis, arthritis, etc. The cannabinoid binds with cannabinoid receptors in the body by way of the endocannabinoid (ECS) system, which regulates several important impulses in the body like moods, sleep and even pain. The oil is known to show great relief when used in physiotherapy.
Since the cannabinoid CBD binds with the ECS system, it also helps regulate mood, reduce stress and anxiety. Like anybody else, athletes may also feel performance pressure, especially right before a big game or race. If the athlete is injured, there could also be anxiety about making a quick recovery.
Being a successful athlete is a full-time, high-stress job. CBD extracts have the ability to calm nerves, reduce agitation and anxiety. CBD not only helps alleviate general stress but has been shown to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If it can help treat stress so severe, a little pregame stress is not so hard for it to handle. A great way to keep your head in the game!
Sleep is critical to an athlete, the only time you are truly recovering from training is while you are sleeping.
Because of CBD's ability to treat many of the underlying causes of sleep disorders, such as - stress, anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, ect. It can be effective in improving sleep quality. While CBD itself isn't a sedative, combating issues that can cause sleep disorders at their core is a great way to get a better nights rest.
There is some research to suggest CBD has helped regulate weight in lab rats. CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, which are believed to help regulate the weight. Of course, this benefit of CBD needs to be studied further to be prescribed readily to athletes for this purpose, but it sure is a step in the right direction in terms of research. Athletes are constantly working out and playing to stay in shape. If the CBD extract can help keep excess weight off, it’s an area of research that could be greatly beneficial for athletes.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help reduce inflammatory stress. Whether it is inflammation of the intestine or neuropathic pain from inflammation, CBD extracts are a great way to tend to those inflammations. It can also aid digestion by reducing inflammatory stress and maintain a healthy appetite. This means its anti-inflammatory properties are not only helpful in alleviating pain but are greatly helpful in maintaining a healthy metabolism and help you feel your best.
Cannabis is generally banned in the sporting world by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Cannabidiol, however, owing to the negligible traces of THC in it, has been approved by the agency and can be used by athletes. More importantly, cannabidiol is not a steroid or a performance-enhancing drug. It only helps to alleviate pain, anxiety and stress, but will not accord protein strength to the athlete to perform better as most banned steroids do. CBD is only a way for athletes to do what they love doing but by taking the pressure and stress down by a notch.
CBD, often, is looked at suspiciously because of its association with cannabis and THC. It is, however, not widely known that CBD is a lot like a ‘miracle drug’ that doesn’t get you high. Its non-psychoactive properties help alleviate symptoms of pain without getting you “high”.
Given its association with cannabis, CBD is not prescribed as commonly as perhaps it should. But the benefits of CBD oil weigh out the perceived risks. The biggest difference between THC (derived from marijuana) and CBD (mostly derived from industrial hemp), is that only one has psychoactive properties. Athletes should embrace CBD for all its benefits pertaining to athletic performance and recovery.