25 May Here’s Why Athletes Are Inclined to Use CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, is known for helping with anxiety, providing a better quality of sleep, alleviating depression, and providing pain relief as well as lessening inflammation. Adults of all walks of life are finding themselves using CBD to treat these conditions, including athletes.
Why would athletes be so inclined to use these products?
One particular athlete that comes to mind is Rob Gronkowski (aka “Gronk), a retired football player who advocates for the use of CBD for a number of ailments, including pain. Gronk is not alone in promoting the use of CBD; former hockey players as well as former NBA stars all cite the use of CBD for pain and other health issues.
First, CBD does not have any psychoactive ingredients, and it will not produce a “high.” One must note that this is only true when the CBD is NOT mixed with THC (the ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for a “high” and for some paranoia associated with the drug). This is likely one of the primary reasons that athletes are so excited to use CBD for pain relief.
Athletes tend to participate in a great deal of high-intensity exercise. This exercise can lead to inflammation of the muscles and, in the event of an injury, athletes can experience a great deal of pain. Although this is typically treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, CBD is all natural and does not have a limit to its use the way over-the-counter medicine does.
Let’s talk about NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and why continuous use of them is not healthy for anyone, including athletes. First, particularly with acetaminophen, liver damage can occur when a person takes more than the recommended dosage for a long period of time. Naproxen can only be taken in certain dosage levels, and pain can return before it’s time for the next dose. Furthermore, long-distance runners in particular have been found to experience renal damage should they take NSAIDS during long training sessions or athletic events.
In addition, using THC to treat the aforementioned conditions can actually have adverse effects on athletes. When one uses THC to treat pain, one may incur short-term memory loss, which could affect one’s ability on the field. Another side effect of THC is paranoia, which can lead to even more decreased mental deficiencies.
Next, athletes can use CBD without fear of breaking any doping rules. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances; therefore, athletes are now able to utilize the benefits of this natural substance without fear of failing a drug test. (NOTE: There ARE some CBD derivatives that have been found to cause false-positive results for THC. However, this typically occurs when one takes CBD from an unreliable source or a CBD that is considered “full-spectrum.”)
Another important reason that athletes are becoming more apt to choose CBD to combat pain is because CBD is a safe alternative to opioids. While we are becoming more educated on the dangers of opioids, for athletes who became injured in the past, doctors routinely prescribed opioids for pain relief. People became addicted to these painkillers, and some overdosed on opioids. Cannabinoids are a safe, non-addictive alternative to painkillers.
In 2016, at least 42,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to opioid use.
Cannabinoids can be used safely for long-term pain management.
One should note that some trainers and sports medicine physicians may prescribe opioids for high-intensity pain, and switching to CBD can help one to transition to alternative pain medications more easily. This is because many experts believe that CBD can help to lessen the side effects of opioid use and alleviate any possible physical need for opioids.
CBD reduces inflammation in the body. For athletes, this can be even more important. The amount of training that athletes endure often produces inflammation in the muscles and in the joints. If an athlete’s muscles and joints are too inflamed, his or her performance is actually hindered. CBD binds to CB2 receptors in the brain and reduces the production of cytokine (the “messengers” of the cell). This helps athletes to recover more quickly from intense training without hindering their overall performance.
CBD is also known to help quell nausea. Some nausea is the result of inflammation in one’s “gut.” Endurance athletes sometimes experience GI distress during their lengthy training and competitions. Taking CBD reduces this inflammation, and helps these athletes to complete their competitions.
CBD helps everyone, athletes included, to improve not only the amount of sleep they receive, but also the quality of their sleep. Sleep is necessary for our muscles and bones to repair themselves. This is important to athletes because part of their training involves working the muscles. Sleep helps to repair any damage to the muscles and tissues affected by intense exercise. Furthermore, CBD users often report that they not only go to sleep easier at night, but they tend to stay asleep.
CBD also helps to lower the anxiety level of many. Of course, many people cannot sleep as they have issues on their minds. CBD helps to naturally lower anxiety so that all of us (athletes included) can drift off to sleep more easily and stay asleep.
CBD has many health benefits for athletes as well as those who are not particularly athletic. However, the benefits of this natural substance for athletes is propelling them to choose CBD to improve their overall health and athleticism.