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If you are an athlete – either professionally or as part of a hobby – then you’re likely very aware of the amount of stress that is put on your body. From muscle soreness and fatigue to recurring aches and even the occasional sports injury, there are a lot of side effects to manage while pushing your body to perform. These side effects can be inconvenient even for casual athletes; but, for professional or semi-professionals, these stresses can seriously hinder progress. 

As such, many athletes choose to take additional supplements as part of their diet. These include: protein, which can help to speed up muscle repair; creatine that can lead to increased muscle mass, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after exercising. 

More recently, an increasing number of athletes are also beginning to explore the effects of CBD oil. When used alongside a healthy diet, this supplement could have a range of positive side effects that would appeal to people who exercise regularly. 

Firstly, is CBD Oil Legal for Athletes?

Understandably, many athletes’ main priority is ensuring that any additional supplements they take are both legal and compliant with any sporting bodies they’re a member of. Fortunately, the CBD oil stocked at Greenlife is 100% legal. Our cannabidiol supplements are made from hemp, which is a natural and non-toxic plant, and do not contain any THC (the cannabinoid associated with the ‘high’ of cannabis). 

Furthermore, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed any bans around CBD use in competitions in 2017. In fact, several high-profile athletes from around the world have publicly spoken about using the supplement. 

So, why would athletes potentially be interested in CBD oil? 

CBD Oil Can Help to Relieve Pain

One of the main things that athletes face on a regular basis is pain. Whether from injury or exertion caused by training, aches and pains are a common part of most athletes’ lives. CBD oil has been associated with pain relief as it contains cannabinoids that help improve the functioning of the endocannabinoid system of the body. The receptors send messages to the brain to increase anandamide levels in the body, which reduces both pain and inflammation. 

Being able to manage pain effectively can help athletes recover more quickly and even make training a more enjoyable process. 

Cannabidiol and Inflammation

Another big issue that athletes face on a daily basis is inflammation. This is a natural side effect of their training, as inflammation helps muscles to repair themselves and heal. However, inflammation in the joints can slow down athletes’ progress or make training painful and difficult. Furthermore, some stomach problems can be triggered because of inflammation.

CBD oil’s role as a potential anti-inflammatory could therefore be of some interest to athletes. Adding it into the diet could help to prevent joint injury during physical activity, while also helping to reduce any pain from swelling. 

CBD Oil as an Alternative to Medication

Of course there are plenty of medications that athletes can use to deal with pain and inflammation. These include medicines that fall under the categories of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, or opioids such as codeine and morphine. 

While both over-the-counter and prescription painkillers are known to mask pain, there can be a lot of potential side effects that athletes prefer to avoid. For NSAIDs, frequent use could be damaging to the kidneys and blood, whereas opioids have a risk of dependency and addiction. Therefore, athletes who are looking to manage their pain in a more natural way could be interested in cannabidiol as a non-medication alternative. 

CBD Oil and Match Day Stress

Sometimes, no matter how much an athlete trains, they can still struggle with nerves before a big event or match. CBD oil has been known to help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, meaning that it could be ideal for athletes suffering from performance anxiety. 

CBD oil is available in a number of different forms, and so most athletes should be able to find one that easily fits into their pre-event routine. Whether it is a calming CBD-infused tea, a capsule that can be taken along with supplements, or an oil that can be applied topically to the skin, cannabidiol can be used flexibly to help calm those performance jitters. 

CBD Oil and Sleep

Training and diet are obviously key components for any athletes’ regime, but another factor that can’t be ignored is the importance of sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to lower levels of energy and reduced focus – two things that are key for athletes, regardless of their sport or competitive level. However, we all know how difficult it can be to nod off the day before a big event.

CBD oil is thought to help people sleep as it activates serotonin receptors in the brain. The steady release of serotonin has a relaxing effect that can help people get to sleep, which is another reason why athletes may choose to include CBD the night before a big training session or event. 

CBD Oil and Appetite Control for Athletes

People may assume that athletes find it easy to stay in great shape, but many find that this is not the case. Fit, active people can struggle with cravings and portion control as much as anyone else, and so diet management can be another daily struggle that athletes face.

There is some evidence to suggest that CBD oil can help to block CB1 receptors, which are responsible for increased appetite and overeating. While there hasn’t been much research in this field, there is a lot of anecdotal support from people reporting more control over their appetite and subsequent weight loss after using CBD (which is also one of the reasons that people are increasingly interested in the link between CBD and diabetes). 

Incorporating some CBD oil products into their daily routine could help athletes snack less, focus on good nutrition and maintain their ideal weight for their sport. 

Let’s Summarise…

While the cannabis plant wouldn’t traditionally be associated with physical exercise and athletes,cannabidiol appears to have a number of side effects that could be helpful. Pain, injury, stress and anxiety are all common factors that can affect athletes’ performance – and so if CBD oil can help to relieve any of these, it could be a useful addition to their diets and lifestyles. 

Athletes could consider taking CBD oil in the following ways:

  • Capsules or oils – these ingestibles can be taken along with vitamins and supplements as part of a normal diet
  • Balms and massage oils – these can be applied topically and could be particularly useful for small areas of pain or inflammation, such as joints
  • Coffees and teas – these could be consumed in place of an athlete’s normal hot drink of choice, and could be particularly helpful the night before a big event to aid with relaxation and a good night’s sleep

How quickly the CBD takes effect varies from form to form, and so people may wish to try a few different products to find what works best for them. 

If you have any questions regarding CBD oil, don’t hesitate to get in touch or take a look at our FAQs