Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming increasingly more popular across the globe, and the same trend can be seen in the athletic world. Although there is still a lot of research to be done in order to prove the efficiency of CBD, many athletes are already using CBD-based products daily. The question that remains is: can CBD help with athletic performance?
How does CBD work?
The first thing we need to understand is how CBD affects the body. According to Miister CBD Canada, cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS. Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system that is responsible for keeping the body in balance.
The body naturally produces endocannabinoids that interact with the ECS, however, there are also certain compounds found in nature that have similar properties to those endocannabinoids, being CBD one of them. As such, by consuming CBD products you are ensuring that your endocannabinoid system is working well, and therefore you are keeping your body in balance.
Research has been published in the Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets back in 2012, which explains the potential of cannabidiol in Alzheimer’s disease, with much other research being conducted on other health-related matters. But only recently have these studies focused solely on athletic performance. What have these studies found?
Reduces Inflammation & Helps With Pain Management
A recent study from 2020, published on Frontiers in Pharmacology, explains that CBD can provide benefits in relieving chronic pain. Although there is still more research to be done on this topic, it seems that cannabidiol can aid athletes with:
- Pain reduction
- Control musculoskeletal issues developed through exercise
- Decrease inflammation in joints
Even though there is still a long way to go in terms of scientific proof, many athletes have shared that they have felt improvement in their muscle aches by using cannabis-based products.
Decreases The Possibility Of Gastrointestinal Issues
Endurance athletes often suffer from discomfort that is caused by the inflammation of the intestines. This is even more prevalent during races, as dehydration and overheating have a negative effect on the GI tract.
Although CBD doesn’t directly interact with these issues, its anti-inflammatory properties can have positive effects in decreasing inflammation of the GI tract during or after training and competitions.
Increases Bone Health
According to a study published by the Top Institute Food and Nutrition from the Netherlands, CBD may also be responsible for healthier bones. The report states that cannabidiol has the possibility of supporting healthy bone deposition and even increase the speed at which bone fractures heal.
Athletes can suffer from traumatic injuries that negatively impact the health of their bones during competitions or training. Being the bones, along with the muscles, such important parts of their ability to be competitive, it’s understandable why this positive effect of CBD can be beneficial.
Manages Sport-Related Anxiety
The nova-Institut in Germany has published a study that states that CBD can aid in decreasing anxiety, which is something that often interferes with the performance of athletes. Although not every athlete suffers from pre-competition anxiety, some do and its effects can be devastating in their results.
Moreover, a 2015 study by Neurotherapeutics has shown that the anxiolytic properties of CBD can make it a potential treatment for anxiety disorders.
Improve Sleep Cycles
Rest and sleep have a big impact on the performance of athletes, which is why having a good night of sleep can be crucial to winning a competition. According to one study, cannabidiol and adenosine, one of the molecules responsible for regulating sleep, are very similar.
Some preliminary studies have shown that CBD binds to the same receptors are adenosine, thus having a positive effect in moderating sleep. The research shows that CBD helps the body reuptake adenosine, which makes the person feel sleepier and more at rest quicker.
There is still a lot more research to be done, however, the studies that have been published so far seem to be very positive. Cannabidiol’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system has the potential to bring general wellness to those that consume it, and the same happens with athletes and their performance.