CBD for Athletes: The Role of CBD in Your Performance
CBD for Athletes: The Role of CBD in Your Performance
Working out, playing sports, and participating in athletic competitions puts a lot of stress on the body. While some of that stress is good — insofar as it builds stronger muscles and promotes overall health — that’s not always the case. Overexertion and injuries can cause significant pain and impact your performance.
CBD has become a hot topic when it comes to treating pain, anxiety, and a range of other ailments that affect both the athlete and non-athlete populations. With its removal from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances for a professional athlete, many people who participate in sports have been wondering if CBD might be right for them. Here’s what you need to know about CBD for athletes.
The Benefits of CBD for Athletes
How does CBD help athletes? Let’s start with your endocannabinoid system, an active, complex, internal cell-signaling network. Also called the ECS, this system regulates several functions within your body, including mood, appetite, memory, and pain. Your body produces natural endocannabinoids on demand, which bind to receptors in your ECS to help restore balance.
So what role does CBD play? Researchers are still working to understand everything the cannabinoid can do. What we do know is that it appears to interact with the ECS. While it doesn’t bind with receptors, it may slow the breakdown of natural endocannabinoids, allowing them to have a longer-lasting impact on the body. It may also have a few additional effects.
Here are four of the top CBD benefits for athletes.
1. Safe Pain Relief Alternative to Other Medications
Current research suggests that CBD can provide a natural form of pain relief, helping with discomfort such as musculoskeletal and joint pain. It may do this in different ways:
- Inhibiting the reabsorption of adenosine (one of your natural endocannabinoids), which indirectly boosts levels in your brain and helps to reduce pain sensations.
- Binding with TRPV1 receptors to desensitize them, which can influence your perception of pain.
Some research shows CBD may provide a safe alternative to conventional over-the-counter and prescription pain medications that athletes commonly use. Many of these medications have unwanted side effects, such as insomnia, mental fog, inability to concentrate, and reduced coordination. In more severe cases, they can cause liver damage and dependence. CBD may have some side effects — such as dry mouth, fatigue, and reduced appetite — but these are generally minor and not universal.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects Reduce Swelling After Injury
Injuries trigger an inflammatory response. The immune system sends white blood cells to the affected area of your body to protect it and begin the healing process. In other words, inflammation plays an essential role in healing. However, too much can hamper rehabilitation and affect future performance.
Clinical studies show that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. In inhibiting inflammation, it can help reduce both pain and swelling after a sports injury.
3. Calms Sports Performance Anxiety
Pre-competition anxiety can affect anyone, whether you compete professionally or for fun. Feelings of anxiety before a game or other competition may affect your confidence. They could also impact your mental and physical performance.
While there is no conclusive evidence yet, studies suggest that CBD can help with many forms of anxiety, including sports performance-related anxiety. How? When you’re in stressful situations, your ECS can become dysregulated. Again, CBD interacts with this system, helping to restore balance.
Some research also shows that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in your brain. CBD doesn’t increase serotonin production. However, the cannabinoid can affect how the receptors respond to it. Activating these receptors can produce anti-anxiety effects, helping to quell your pre-performance nerves.
4. Improves Poor Sleep Habits and Provides Adequate Sleep
As an athlete, you likely already know the importance of a good night’s sleep. It aids in proper healing and keeps you mentally sharp. Sleep is also essential for your overall health. Poor sleep quality can impact your athletic performance and increase your risk of developing various medical conditions.
Sometimes poor sleep is related to pre-competition anxiety. Pain from a sports injury can also keep you up at night. As already mentioned, CBD may help with these situations. Studies also show that CBD could have a sedative effect, meaning that it may help you fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep.
How To Incorporate CBD Into Athletic Training
Now that you know how CBD can benefit you as an athlete, you may be wondering how you can incorporate it into your routine. There’s a wide array of product options available, giving you plenty of methods to choose from.
Apply CBD Muscle Balm After High-Impact Exercise
One of the top CBD uses among athletes is for the treatment of pain and inflammation. High-impact exercise causes microtears in your muscle tissues, which can trigger inflammation. Again, small amounts of inflammation are beneficial, but too much can hinder healing and affect performance.
Being proactive after strenuous exercise (or injury) can limit inflammation. One way to do this is by applying a CBD-infused muscle balm immediately after your workout. CBD absorbs into your skin to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the area, helping to reduce pain and inflammation. You might also try a warming balm before exercise or competition to prime your muscles and joints, preventing potential injuries.
Take a Small Amount of CBD Before an Athletic Performance
If you get anxious before a game or competition, a small amount of CBD before getting out there may help. You have a few options here. One is CBD gummies, which are edible products. While they do take some time to kick in, timing your dose ensures you feel the effects when you need them most.
Another option for pre-competition anxiety is CBD oil. A few drops under the tongue produce fast-acting effects. Alternately, you can swallow your dose or mix it into a beverage or food. Keep in mind that these options mean your dose will take longer to take effect.
Try CBD at Night To Prevent a Stress-Induced Loss of Sleep
Taking CBD at night can promote better sleep. Consider products with other natural sleep-inducing ingredients like ashwagandha. Don’t forget about the importance of a healthy nighttime routine too. Along with a dose of CBD formulated for relaxation and sleep, try things like dimming the lights, shutting all tech off an hour before bedtime, and meditation.
Perform Better No Matter Your Athletic Ability With CBD Products
With their ability to alleviate pain, limit inflammation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality, CBD products help you perform at your best. However, not all CBD products are equal. For the highest-quality CBD oils, gummies, and topicals for your athletic (and daily) needs, check out MuscleMX today.