Athletes put their bodies through rigorous stress and intense training to perform at a high level. Years of training and workouts, practices, and games or matches can lead to injury and pain. People are always looking for ways to manage pain with the least side effects as possible. Chronic use of over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen have harmful side-effects, and prescription pain relievers like opioids are habit-forming and have led to an epidemic of addiction and overdose.
Due to the issues mentioned above with current pain relief methods, it is no wonder that athletes are now exploring CBD as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances , thus opening the door for athletes to explore the benefits of CBD. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USASA) soon followed suit and did the same.
It is now known that cannabinoids naturally exist in the body in what is called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system produces endocannabinoids that are released into a synapse and bind with receptors in the brain to inhibit the release of certain neurotransmitters. In other words, CBD can reduce the build-up of certain neurotransmitters and thus reduce specific unwanted activities such as seizures or inflammation.
Athletes experience pain and inflammation because their endocannabinoid systems are overloaded. Adding CBD to the system can help the system regulate the overloaded neurotransmitters. This regulation can reduce pain and inflammation in athletes’ bodies. Too much inflammation can hinder recovery and hurt performance.
Athletes need to get quality sleep for peak performance. CBD has been proven to increase sleep quality in two ways – first, users of CBD report being able to fall asleep faster, and second, CBD use can create more restful sleep. This is because CBD inhibits the reuptake of adenosine which is naturally produced in your brain when it is time to go to sleep. While you sleep, adenosine is metabolized, and when it gets low, you wake up. Slowing this process by using CBD can help you stay asleep longer. CBD also helps adenosine accumulate more quickly, which makes you feel sleepy sooner.
CBD dosing is different for everyone, so it may take some trial and error to find the correct amount that works for you. It is recommended to start with small doses and work upwards when first trying CBD.