How Does CBD Help Athletes?

When it comes to cannabis and sport, CBD is the only cannabinoid that is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list. CBD was removed from WADA’s list in 2018 and since then a number of athletes have endorsed CBD as a key element of their sports nutrition and supplement plan. But what is so attractive about CBD that has so many Olympians and professional athletes turning to it?
Here are five reasons athletes are turning to CBD:

1. CBD helps athletes by reducing inflammation and pain

Inflammation is the precursor to pain, and pain not only hinders performance, it can also cause permanent damage. CBD is able to reduce inflammation which leads to decreased pain. CBD also treats inflammation and pain on a cellular level. As a naturally anti-inflammatory compound, cannabidiol decreases inflammatory responses without impacting our endocannabinoid system.

2. CBD helps athletes by improving sleep quality

Insufficient sleep can lead to a variety of problems such as impaired decision making, slow reaction time, and reduced ability to focus on the task at hand (i.e. playing your best). CBD has been shown to improve sleep quality.

One study on sleep and anxiety showed improvement in both areas as, “anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 79.2% patients and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 66% of patients, but fluctuated over time.” These results show that CBD has the potential to help with a good night's rest.
Megan Rapinoe poses with sister Rachel Rapinoe, founder of Mendi
Credit: Forbes

3. Athletes can take CBD in pill form or as a topical cream to help with injuries

Not only is CBD available as a pill, but the topical cream is an excellent choice for athletes because CBD can be mixed in topicals with a variety of other natural ingredients that can help with pain and inflammation - like arnica, yarrow, and plantain. 

4. CBD is not addictive, so it won't interfere with athletic performance

Many athletes have turned to CBD as a means to treat pain without the addictive qualities of some prescription drugs. Additionally, it has been suggested that CBD may reduce cravings for other addictive substances such as cigarettes and alcohol due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

5. CBD is not psychoactive and can potentially help with depression and anxiet

Depression and anxiety plague many athletes due to the hormonal and physical stress constantly occurring in their bodies. CBD has been shown to help with these issues because of its calming properties.

Additionally, depression is common after athletic injuries and CBD can aid in recovery from this emotional trauma as well.

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Interested in learning more about athletes and cannabis? Check out 10 Professional Athletes Who Use Cannabis.