CBD can be used safely and effectively by any kind of active individual – from hikers, to daily joggers and even professional athletes. In recent years it has had a huge surge in popularity among people from all walks of life, from those looking for relief to those looking to reap the health and wellness benefits such as it’s anxiety reducing properties. Such benefits have caught the attention of sportspeople and athletes. CBD’s legendary role as an anti-inflammatory also makes it an ideal aid to recovery from injury or training and one of the reasons it should be an essential item in every gym bag.
The popularity of CBD as a muscle recovery supplement has grown so omnipresent that national gyms- such as ‘24 Hour Fitness’- sell varieties of the cannabinoid at the front desk, and it’s easy to see why. CBD has become all the more present in our social consciousness over the years. Its removal from the World Anti-Doping Agency list and increasing research showing it’s effectiveness at treating sports-related conditions, has evidently earned it a place as a legitimate sports remedy. Boutique CBD brands are now actively targeting the fitness market.
As many experienced athletes are conscious of, a recovery regime is just as vital as a training routine. Recovery is key to improvement, stamina and muscle strength. Without adequate recovery time after intense training sessions or competitions muscle breakdown can occur alongside immune system deficiencies, chronic pain and even severe injury. Human muscle is made up of specific, sensitive muscle fibres – the more muscle contraction, the stronger the muscle. CBD reportedly does the muscles wonders. This is because workouts are designed to break down these fibres, making recovery all the more important. Strength and endurance are vital athletic traits.
This is where CBD for athletic recovery becomes most effective. While products like a CBD recovery cream or balm can reduce the tenderness associated with the recovery process, administering the product orally could potentially help speed the process along thanks to its role as an anti-inflammatory.
While the breaking down of muscle fibres is critical for gains and growth, the excess inflammation it can cause within the body is not desirable. When muscles are unable to recover due to excess inflammation, athletes (or those who like to exercise) are more at risk of becoming run down, injured and even becoming ill due to a decreased immune response. CBD’s natural anti-inflammatory properties make it an optimal addition to any muscle recovery routine. That’s because – as several studies have proven– the compound exerts antioxidant effects that decrease inflammation and “loosen” muscles by decreasing spasticity that often besets athletes.
Athletes that use CBD
Many athletes are now sponsored by and promote CBD brands, actively speaking out about the plethora of benefits that incorporating CBD into their fitness regime has had.
American professional soccer player, Megan Rapinoe, has spoken out about her CBD use, revealing that she has regularly used it for years and has noticed significant advantages from consistent use. She is also keen to push the use of CBD for pain management into the mainstream: “I’ve seen really good benefits for me. It’s something that’s part of my daily routine now and something that’s certainly part of my recovery routine. I think that there are a lot of athletes very curious about CBD — I think generally as an athlete, you’re looking at the next piece of technology, whether it’s a wearable, how you can recover better or just what you can do to get that edge. And certainly I think the shift for athletes has been towards more natural products and products that have a more holistic approach, so CBD falls right into that obviously.”
Rapinoe is far from the only athlete promoting CBD, in fact, many more athletes have seen the market for CBD in professional sports rise and have actually gone about creating their own CBD brands. Boxing legend Mike Tyson launched a cannabis line- Tyson Ranch. NFL alum Ricky Williams launched a CBD product line- Real Wellness Herbal. And Lamar Odom, the former NBA star and ex-husband to Khloe Kardashian, has his own brand of CBD products- Odom 7.
As well as the obvious physical benefits, being a pro-athlete at the highest level can also be particularly stressful, so CBD’s anxiety-relieving properties make it even more attractive to these athletes. Lamar Odom has spoken openly about his initial reasons for taking CBD: “It helps me with my anxiety, anxiety for me was big because it led to poor decision-making. So for me to be able to curb that is important. Any kind of ailment you may have, whether it’s dry skin, to a scrape, to a cut, any inflammation in your body, your joints, your bones, take a drop, put it on, it heals right up.”
CBD brand ‘fourfivecbd’ was launched by two pro rugby players, Dominic Day and George Kruis, who were inspired to launch the brand after a combined 25 years in the rugby world. The brand is 100% natural and manufactured to have 0% THC levels so that the substance does not appear positive in a drugs test- perfect for professional athletes. As professional athletes, the duo behind fourfivecbd understand what it’s like to be wary of CBD and the suspicion it still elicits in a professional setting. Consequently they offer buyers third party lab tests on their products to put them at ease.
What has become evident in recent years, is that CBD is beginning to permeate the mainstream of sports globally. Both in an amateur and professional sense. However, if you’re an athlete who has to be drug tested, you may want to avoid taking CBD. If you do choose to take it, read product labels and do your research to be sure you’re getting a high-quality product that meets requirements and doesn’t break any regulations.
Although we are seeing a shift towards the normalisation of cannabis in sports, many individuals will still be wary due to the lack of long term CBD studies on humans and the unregulated market. As such, this might (and probably does) scare off professional athletes who don’t want any traces of THC in their system. However, with more interest and investment in the CBD market (which is due to be worth 23.6 billion dollars by 2025) more innovative and sophisticated products will soon allow CBD to be more accessible in every space, including sports, where the benefits are much desired.