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Do Athletes Use CBD?

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If you're wondering, can CBD and athletes help with performance, recovery, and common athletic issues like pain and competitive anxiety, look no further than the professionals (1). Everyone from women's pro soccer player Megan Rapinoe to NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski are now CBD partners, and this therapeutic oil from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant is considered so safe and effective that it's currently approved (2) by several top organizations, including:

  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (for Olympic athletes and international sports federations)

  • The International Tennis Federation (ITF)

  • The NFL Players Association (3)

Non-elite athletes are also discovering the benefits of using CBD oil for athletes. According to a recent survey (4) of both amateur and pro athletes, 26% of participants use cannabis that contains both CBD and other plant-based cannabinoids.

How CBD Helps Athletes

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You may be curious about what exactly cannabinoids do, and why athletes would be interested in them.

These natural plant-based molecules work in a similar fashion to your body's own endocannabinoids to help keep your 'master regulator' system, known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), thriving.

The ECS was first discovered in the late 1980s and early 1990s by scientists doing research on how cannabis affects human health. It is made up of:

  • Key signaling agents (endocannabinoids) that work to keep your internal health processes well-balanced

  • Receptors that these endocannabinoids bind to. The two main receptors are CB1 and CB2.

  • Enzymes to remove these endocannabinoids when their job is done

As it turns out, when your endocannabinoids become depleted, cannabinoids like CBD can step in to help replenish them. Why is this so important?

The endocannabinoids within your ECS execute many of your body's most important health processes, including managing pain, inflammatory responses, energy levels, mental health, memory, cognition, and psychomotor skill control.  

Therefore, when your ECS becomes depleted of endocannabinoids, it can cause significant mind-body health imbalances (5), including (6):

CBD is so powerful because it is a cannabinoid that can help replenish your naturally-occurring endocannabinoids and assist them in binding to key receptors to help rebalance your ECS and improve your overall health and fitness results.

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How to Use CBD Oil for Athletes

When to Take CBD Oil for Athletes

Immediately after a workout or performance, the small muscle tears that normally help build muscle strength can cause a runaway inflammatory response, leading to sprains and strains. CBD and athletes may help with this post-workout recovery (10) due to its anti-inflammatory effects. This is especially helpful if you've just completed a particularly intense training session. 

Many also take CBD oil athletes before a practice session, workout, or performance to improve their focus and provide a steadier stream of energy. The exact timing of your CBD dose will depend on the type of delivery method you choose (oral, topically on the skin, or drops placed under the tongue), how quickly you'd like the effects to kick in, and how long you'd like them to last.

To learn more about the best time to take CBD, check out CBD Oil Dosage: How to Use CBD Oil. (11)

How Much CBD Should Athletes Take?

CBD dosing can depend on a variety of factors, including your weight, metabolism, symptoms or conditions you're treating, and the consumption method. It's generally recommended (12) to take 1-6 mg of CBD per day for every 10 pounds of body weight.

Athletes tend to have both a higher metabolism and a training schedule that can cause added wear and tear on the body. This is why extra-strength CBD products (13) can be ideal, especially for pain management, anxiety, and sleep issues. That being said, always start at a lower dose, and work your way up as needed.  When considering the best CBD for athletes, CBD roll on for athletes is not only a convenient way of apply but also a perfect topical CBD use.

In addition, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a CBD dosing routine, especially if you take other medications.

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Benefits of CBD for Athletes

Better Pain Management

CBD oil binds to key receptors to help aid athletes with pain management, (14) plus it has many powerful properties to optimize athletic performance. For example, it assists in activating 5-HT1a receptors to help better regulate pain. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to aid in reducing pressure on swollen joints after a strain or injury.

Improved Immunity

CBD's immune-modulating (15) properties include helping to fight off infection, even from antibiotic-resistant strains of "super bacteria". (16) Its antibacterial, neuroprotective, (17) and antioxidant properties may aid you with focus, strength, injury recovery, and improving your overall mind-body wellness.

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Faster Joint Inflammation Repair

CBD's neuroprotectant, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory (18) properties mean that it protects your nerves and decreases joint inflammation, which can help (19) improve your mobility, range of motion, speed, and muscle endurance.

Improved Anxiety Symptoms

Focus and anxiety can go hand-in-hand, and effectively managing sports-related anxiety has been associated (20) with better injury prevention, improved rehabilitation, and a quicker return to your athletic endeavors.

CBD actually has anti-anxiety properties. (21) It balances key compounds such as the endocannabinoid anandamide and the neurotransmitter serotonin to help you regulate stress, mediate anxiety responses, and better manage a variety of anxiety disorders.

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Improved Sleep and Better Focus

Sleep is one of the most important functions of the human body, and at least 7-9 hours (22) a night is vital for most athletes. Why? Healthy slumber allows for overnight muscle repair, new memory creation, improved performance, better mood, less fatigue, and improved resilience to injury and illness.

The benefits of CBD for sleep (23) are well-documented, and it seems to work at least in part by positively regulating the "flight or fight" hormone cortisol. (24) In a review (25) of CBD for sleep studies, this natural essential oil had therapeutic effects on insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and REM sleep disorder, some consider this the best sleep aid products. CBD, as a natural sleep remedy has even been shown to help improve facial recognition, (26) which may indicate elevated focus and cognition levels.

Does CBD Help Athletic Performance?

The benefits of premium CBD products have, indeed, been shown to help with athletic performance. For example, a 2015 study (27) of college tennis players revealed that improved sleep quality increased the players' serving accuracy. What's more, a recent review in Sport Medicine (28) revealed that premium hemp extracts or CBD shows promise for enhancing overall athletic performance through its work in easing pain and discomfort, reducing inflammation and anxiety, and improving sleep patterns.

The best news is that CBD oil athletes may help to avoid dependence (29) on standard painkillers, which is another reason why many top athletes are turning to this natural, plant-based alternative therapy.

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Is CBD Good for Recovery?

In addition to its benefits for performance, CBD oil athletes has been shown to help with recovery from a variety of issues that athletes face. These include helping with:

  • Post-Practice Fatigue

  • Injury Recovery

  • Muscle Recovery

How Does CBD Help with Muscle Recovery Post Workout?

CBD interacts with different neurotransmitters and receptors to help ensure that inflammation is regulated properly so that it doesn't lead to muscle damage. It also may promote (30) musculoskeletal healing after injuries so that your recovery is enhanced and you can get back to your A-game faster.

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What's the Best CBD for Athlete Recovery?

The best CBD for athletes strategy is a multi-pronged approach. This is because athletes' bodies go through more wear and tear than the average person, and injuries are common. Likewise, the stress and anxiety of competition is intense, including practicing, traveling to and from events, and the mental preparation it takes to be on top.

That's why we recommend a four-tiered approach when using premium hemp extract for recovery:

  • Extra Strength CBD Body Butter (31) and Extra Strength CBD Roll-on (32) for instantly soothing sore muscles, reducing inflammation from injuries, and relieving aches and pains.  CBD roll on for athletes is a great option that many athletes take advantage

  • Extra Strength CBD Oil (33) for calm, focus, inflammation recovery, and improved sleep patterns

  • Extra Strength CBD Capsules (34) for a great on-the-go CBD and athletes option for busy athletes that comes in convenient pre-measured doses

  • Flavored CBD Gummies (35) for a healthy yet enjoyable way to get a consistent dose of CBD oil each day to better regulate your pain, support your joint health, get a balanced night's sleep, and manage your overall mental and physical wellness

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What are the Best CBD Gummies for Athletes?

The hemp plant has well over 150 different cannabinoids, and when you combine these with health-boosting flavonoids and terpenes like limonene from lemon and limes, you can get a phenomenon known as 'the entourage effect'. (36) This is when the positive health effects of premium hemp CBD and these other ingredients combine together to help boost each others' benefits.

That's why athletes should always look for CBD gummies that contain additional cannabinoids like CBG (37) for improved sleep and better pain management.  Also, make sure your gummies are made from toxin free CBD products, ensuring you are getting the highest quality CBD products and combine natural fruit flavors to ensure you get the maximum dose of wellness in every tasty bite!

 

REFERENCES

  1. Insider “CBD Products are Helping Athletes Avoid Prescription Painkiller Dependence”  Published: April 22, 2021 Author: Jackson Thompson

  2. Cannabis NewsInvesting News “CBD Pain Relief Options Embraced by Athletes and Pro Sports Organizations” Published: November 20, 2019 Author: Joseph Keller

  3. The Comeback “NFL Players Can Now Use CBD within the NFLPA Agreement” Published: April 2, 2020 Author: Freezing Cold Takes

  4. Journals.Plos “CBD us in Active Athletes: Behavior related to CBD” Published: Edward M. Fleegler, Robert S. Zeiger

  5. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes” Published: July 1, 2016 Author: Ethan B. Russo

  6. A+M MMI “The Endocannabinoid System and the Modulation of Pain and Inflammation” Published: June 6, 2019 Author: Nathalie Gedeon

  7. Springer Link “Endocannabinoid System: the Direct and Indirect”  Publish: December 6, 2019  Author: Agnieszka Dzik, Barbara Budzynska & Grazyna Biala, Marta Kruk-Slomka

  8. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “The Endocannabinoid System May Modulate Sleep Disorders in Aging” Published: Feb 18, 202 Authors: Eric Murillo-Rodríguez, Henning Budde, André Barciela Veras, Nuno Barbosa Rocha, Diogo Telles-Correia, Diogo Monteiro, Luis Cid, Tetsuya Yamamoto, Sérgio Machado, and Pablo Torterolo

  9. sleep.org “How Sleep Affects Athletes’ Performance” Published: March 26, 2021 Authors: Afy Okoye

  10. World Report US News “Can CBD Products Improve Your Fitness Results?”  Published: May 11, 2018  Authors: K. Aleisha Fetters, MS, CSCS

  11. Eli Ruby Website “CBD Oil Dosage: How To Use CBD Oil”

  12. CBD Awareness Project “CBD Dosage Guide” Published: 2022 CBDOIL.ORG

  13. Eli Ruby Website “5 Benefits of Extra Strength CBD Products”

  14. Eli Ruby Website “5 Top Tips for Using CBD Oil for Pain”

  15. CBD Clinicals “CBD for the Immune System “ Published: March 1, 2022 Author: Casey Bloom, Medically reviewed by Dr. Aaron Wiegmann, BS, FL, MD, MS

  16. Science & Enterprise “CBD Shown Effective Against Staph, Strep Bacteria”  Published: June 24, 2019 Authors: joint Ventures/Collaborations, New Products. Australia, Biomedical, Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Pahrmaceuticals, Preclinical, University.

  17. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?”  Published: February 2013, Authors: Javier Fernández-Ruiz, Onintza Sagredo, M Ruth Pazos, Concepción García, Roger Pertwee, Raphael Mechoulam, and José Martínez-Orgado

  18. Research Gate “Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol” Published: December 2019

  19. Very Well Health “The Role of Joints in Your Body” Published: September 21, 2021 Authors: Elizabeth Quinn, medically reviewed by Stuart Hershan, MD

  20. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Sport-related anxiety: current insights” Published: October 27, 2017  Authors: Jessica L Ford, Kenneth Ildefonso, Megan L Jones, and Monna Arvinen-Barrow

  21. Eli Ruby Website "Can CBD Help with Depression and Anxiety?”

  22. Sleep.org “How Sleep Affects Athletes’ Performance” Published: March 26, 2021 Author: Afy Okoye, medically reviewed by Sherrie Neustein, MD

  23. Eli Ruby CBD website “Does CBD Oil Help You Sleep?”

  24. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series” Published: January 7, 2019  Authors: Scott Shannon, MD; Nicole Lewis, ND; Heather Lee, PA; Shannon Hughes, PhD

  25. Springer Link “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature” Published: March 27, 2017 Authors: ames Sottile & Danielle Morabito and Kimbery A. Babson

  26. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users”  Published: March 21, 2022 Authors: Chandni Hindocha, Tom P. Freeman, Grainne Schafer, Chelsea Gardener, Ravi K. Das, Celia J.A. Morgan and H. Valerie Curran

  27. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health  “Sleep extension improves serving accuracy: A study with college varsity tennis players” Published: Novemebr 1, 2015  Authors: Jennifer SchwartzRichard D Simon Jr

  28. Springers Sports Medicine “Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research” Published: July6, 2020  Authors: Danielle McCartney, Melissa J. Benson, Ben Desbrow, Christopher Irwin, Anastasia Suraev & Iain S. McGregor 

  29. Insider “CBD products are helping athletes avoid prescription painkiller dependence”  Published: April 22, 2021  Authors: Jackson Thompson

  30. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research” Published: December 6, 2020  Authors: Danielle McCartney, Melissa J. Benson, Ben Desbrow, Christopher Irwin, Anastasia Suraev, and Iain S. McGregor

  31. Eli Ruby Premium CBD Product: Extra Strength CBD Body Butter | 6000 mg

  32. Eli Ruby Premium CBD Product: Extra Strength CBD Roll-On 4500 mg | Pain Relief CBD – Eli Ruby

  33. Eli Ruby Premium CBD Product: Best Extra Strength CBD Tinctures 2000 MG | Premium Hemp Extract Oil – Eli Ruby

  34. Eli Ruby Premium CBD Products: Extra Strength CBD Capsules | Full Spectrum

  35. Eli Ruby Premium CBD Products: Flavored CBD Gummies | 25 mg CBD + 5 mg CBG – Eli Ruby

  36. Cannabis Tech "The Science Behind the Entourage Effect”  Published: June 18, 2020 Author: Sarah Ratliff

  37. NCBI.NIM.NIH | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Survey of Patients Employing Cannabigerol-Predominant Cannabis Preparations: Perceived Medical Effects, Adverse Events, and Withdrawal Symptoms”  Published: September 27, 2021 Authors: Ethan B RussoCarrie CuttlerZiva D CooperAmanda StueberVenetia L WhiteleyMichelle Sexton