What do Conor McGregor, Brett Favre, Rob Gronkowski and Megan Rapinoe have in common? They all use CBD! Professional athletes across the board are turning to CBD for its health benefits.
Leading an active lifestyle can put a lot of stress and strain on the body. Overuse, reoccurring injuries, stress, muscle or joint pain, concussions, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and anxiety are some common conditions associated with maintaining active and healthy lifestyles suffer from. Prolonged use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen also poses significant health risks, including impaired kidney function and increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
CBD has gained in popularity since it offers a more natural, holistic way of managing pain and inflammation, as well as a host of other benefits. It’s not only legal in the United States, but it’s also approved for use by professional athletes by the World Anti-Doping Agency and US Anti-Doping Agency. In 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) removed CBD from its list of prohibited drugs. The NFL is also exploring CBD as a potential pain management tool for players.
Read on to discover the different ways CBD may support an active lifestyle.
Benefits of CBD for Athletes
1. CBD Aids in Recovery
While some inflammation can stimulate training adaptations, chronic inflammation can cause muscle soreness and pain, none of which is good for anyone leading an active lifestyle. Inflammation is one of the biggest barriers to fast recovery, which impacts performance.
CBD has been shown to help reduce inflammation and pain by impacting the activity of ECS receptors. It binds and stimulates CB2 receptors, which reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory compounds in circulation and promote healing of traumatic skeletal injuries. CBD also increases anandamide production, an endocannabinoid compound associated with pain regulation affecting pain perception, thus improving your pain tolerance. Using CBD for recovery can help improve your overall performance. With reduced inflammation and pain, you’ll be able to recover faster and train harder.
2. CBD Alleviates Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can have a devastating impact on any athlete’s health and well-being. Anxiety and stress from the pressure to perform in training can present a considerable challenge. CBD is well-known for its therapeutic effects regarding stress and anxiety.
CBD interacts with serotonin receptors, endocannabinoid receptors, and other receptors in the brain that regulate anxiety-induced behaviors and mood. It also lowers levels of stress hormones like cortisol. So, if you experience stress or anxiety before a workout or a competition, taking CBD can help calm your mind so you can concentrate on your performance.
3. Better Sleep
Getting more and better sleep is one of the most effective ways someone leading an active lifestyle can achieve more significant training gains. More sleep means more time for your tired muscles to recover. If you aren’t sleeping enough, using CBD can help you get more quality sleep. High cortisol levels are associated with an increased number of nighttime awakenings, but since CBD inhibits the release of this stress hormone, you’ll be able to sleep throughout the night. By eliminating pain, inflammation, and promoting balance in the body, CBD allows you to have a more restful sleep.
4. Neuroprotective Properties
Fatigue is common during strenuous exercises; running that last mile or completing that last rep becomes more challenging. Recognizing this fatigue is how you push yourself to achieve your fitness goals. But consistently over-exerting yourself during training can cause the part of your brain that controls movement to become chronically tired and inefficient. This is often referred to as Central Nervous System fatigue (CNS). When your motor cortex neurons become ineffective, you’ll be slower, have reduced strength, and muscle fatigue.
Using CBD can alleviate the effects of CNS fatigue, thanks to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. CBD acts as a critical modulator of synaptic plasticity, revitalizing the ECS, synchronizing neural signaling, and balancing synaptic neurotransmitters. CBD also stimulates the repair of the protective myelin sheath that covers nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain, allowing your neurons to recover. With time, your tired nervous system will recover and become more flexible, allowing you to get back to your active lifestyle.
5. Improved Gastrointestinal Health
GI distress is common among 30-50% of endurance athletes, especially during triathlons, marathons, and other endurance events. This is usually caused by inflammation in the small and large intestines. While CBD may not solve GI issues caused by overheating and dehydration, it can alleviate gut inflammation problems. The GI tract contains CB1 and CB2 receptors, which bind with CBD, reducing inflammation. CBD has been shown to improve inflammatory signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. So if you’ve been having gut issues during and after exercise, taking CBD can help settle your stomach so you can perform at your best.
Types of CBD Products for Athletes
CBD is available in several different forms so that you can tailor your method of use to your specific need. Here are the most common types of CBD:
- Creams and lotions: for muscle or joint pain, applying CBD cream or lotion to the affected area can help soothe aches and pains, and support muscle recovery.
- Oils and tinctures: These are liquids that you place under the tongue with a dropper. If you’ve had a challenging workout and your entire body is aching or you are experiencing stress, consider using CBD oil or tinctures.
- Gummies (edibles): They’re a popular (and tasty!) way to take CBD and are ideal when you want to use CBD for pain relief or stress relief. They need to go through your digestive system so may take longer to feel the effects, but they effects may also last longer.
- Capsules and pills: If you have GI distress or seizure disorder, CBD in capsule or pill form is ideal for you.
CBD for All Athletes
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to experience the benefits of CBD. Potential benefits include easing symptoms from anxiety, stress, inflammation, GI distress to CNS fatigue. CBD for pain relief offers a natural alternative to pain management, helping to reduce reliance on opioids and NSAIDs’ consumption. CBD may improve your recovery times, allowing you to train harder and longer, and achieve more gains.
Allvane was developed with the intention of helping people and pets live active lifestyles. That could be simply providing a little extra boost to get out of bed in the morning, fitting in a few extra steps or setting out to crush a new goal. Our Allvane CBD oils, topicals and gummies are here to help support your goals.