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Fitness, sports and CBD

Fitness, sports and CBD

The rise of CBD and professional athletes. 

With the public awareness of CBD and its benefits growing exponentially, its popularity has also increased amongst fitness advocates and in a variety of sports industries. UFC fighter Nate Diaz was one the first athletes to publicly speak about his use of CBD, and even famously vaped CBD in one of his press conferences. The MMA athlete regularly praises cannabidiol for its pain-relieving properties, advocating it over prescription medication due to its natural origin.

Nate Diaz Vaping After UFC 202 Shouldn't Be a Big Deal - Rolling Stone

Women's soccer legend Megan Rapinoe is another huge figure in the industry that is also a public (and enthusiastic) advocate of CBD for athletes. Her successful career stretches back to the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in 2004. She has competed on teams in the US, Europe and Australia, and now plays for the Seattle Reign Football Club. Rapinoe has spoken publicly of the advantages of CBD oil as a healthy, natural method to maintain general wellbeing while training and competing. She has also discussed the importance of changing the “status quo” around pain management in sports.

Spartan race, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, struck an exclusive partnership back in 2019 with Elevate Hemp. “I’ve been using Elevate® Pain Relief Cream religiously, before every run, and I can honestly say it’s the reason I can run farther and longer without the symptoms associated with hip pain,” said Spartan Race Pro Team Athlete Brittney McGuire.

The use of CBD has also increased amongst Rugby athletes in the UK, largely thanks to the public support shown by Saracens teammates Dominic Day and George Kruis. The pair claimed that taking cannabis oils, capsules and balms helped "put our bodies back together". In fact, they believe so strongly in the recovery effects of cannabidiol (CBD) they have started their own business selling it.

What are the potential fitness benefits of taking CBD?

Starting from your pre-workout ritual, you are probably already aware of the importance of a good stretch and warm-up, to rev up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. In many cases, tension plays a significant role. CBD is thought to help reduce muscular tension and support healthy blood flow, which can reduce the time it takes to get warmed up and increase the quality of your warm up before your workout. Additionally, people usually go for a drink coffee or a pre-workout supplement before a workout to get revved up. However, there are potential drawbacks like dehydration and a post-caffeine crash! In contrast, a CBD dietary supplement can support your body holistically, leading to increased energy throughout the day.

The muscle soreness and joint pain you experience after workouts are more than just a nuisance. They are symptoms of post-workout tissue inflammation, which slows recovery, limits fitness gains and can even cause overuse injuries. One of the most widely known benefits of taking CBD is its potential in reducing pain and minimizing inflammation. This could prove beneficial for athletes taking CBD post-workout. Any reduction in inflammation can reduce the pain associated with normal muscle pain after a tough workout as well as injuries. “Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it's rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD, told MensHealth.com.

The CBD’s anti-inflammation properties can also prove to be effective in aiding muscle recovery. Rigorous workouts and competitions during which you go all out cause tiny tears in muscle tissue, which in turn trigger inflammation. The body then goes to work repairing the damaged tissue, building it up to be stronger muscle tissue.

CBD and sport: 4 benefits for athletes - NATURALPES

CBD can indirectly benefits athletes and fitness advocates by using it as a sleep aid. In order to perform at their fullest capacity, athletes must prepare in every aspect of their lives. They train regularly, eat healthy meals and snacks, and make time for rest, recovery, and sleep. When one area is lacking, overall performance can suffer. Sleep is certainly no exception.  A review of research involving all types of cannabinoids and sleep found that there is evidence that CBD can directly affect sleep by interacting with related receptors in the brain. Preliminary research suggests CBD can help with a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia, REM sleep behaviour disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness disorder. Additional preliminary research suggests CBD can also help patients improve sleep and reduce anxiety.

If you are interested in giving CBD a shot, we suggest that you check with your doctor first since the chemical can interact negatively with other medications.

Sources used in this blog post:

  1. Darkovska-Serafimovska, M., Serafimovska, T., Arsova-Sarafinovska, Z, Stefanoski, S., Keskovski, Z., and Balkanov, T. (2018). Pharmacotherapeutic Considerations for Use of Cannabinoids to Relieve Pain in Patients with Malignant Diseases. J. Pain Res., 11, 837-42. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922297/
  2. Babson, K.A., Sottile, J., and Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Curr. Psychiatry Rep., 19(4). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28349316
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  4. Bonn-Miller, M.O., Loflin, M.J.E., and Thomas, B.F. (2017). Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA., 318(17), 1708-9. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2661569
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