Cannabidiol – the cannabis derivative known more commonly by its abbreviated name, ‘CBD – has gained popularity among people from all walks of life. The cannabinoid has been adopted by people of all ages looking for relief from a variety of symptoms. But CBD has gained particular popularity among sportspeople and athletes.
‘Why do athletes seem to be attracted to CBD?’ -you may ask. There is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence and a growing body of clinical research suggesting that the cannabis compound may be beneficial for symptoms such as pain and anxiety. A growing number of athletes are using and endorsing CBD products for this reason.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 compounds known as cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. It is one of the more commonly occurring of these compounds – second only to Tetrahydrocannabinol Delta-9 (THC). Unlike THC, however, CBD does not cause a ‘high’ that is often associated with cannabis.
It has been discovered that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant can interact with receptors within our bodies, naturally reserved for endogenous cannabinoids (or endocannabinoids). Together, these are known as the endocannabinoid system and are thought to modulate a number of physiological and neurological processes such as pain management, mood control, appetite, and immune system functions.
What Symptoms Can CBD Help With?
Although research is still limited, there is a growing number of clinical trials and reviews demonstrating that CBD may be useful in treating a variety of symptoms and ailments. Among these are pain, stress, and anxiety.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions faced by modern society. CBD has been found to interact with both CB1 and serotonin receptors, leading to an increase in the development of natural substances anandamide and serotonin. These naturally-occurring compounds are known to regulate feelings of anxiety and depression.
Pain, caused by a number of ailments or health conditions, is also often quoted as the reason for using CBD. The compound’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system has been found to interfere with the reception of pain. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties mean that the substance is often added to topical treatments.
What is the Connection Between Athletes and CBD?
A growing number of athletes and sportspeople have announced their use of CBD. Many have even endorsed specific CBD brands, such as pro golfer, Bubba Watson, and MMA fighter, Jessica-Rose Clark who, along with professionals of BMXing, FMXing, surfing, skateboarding, and many more sports, who have endorsed cbdMD.
Multiple Masters Winner, Bubba Watson, claimed:
“I’ve personally felt the benefits of cbdMD’s products. cbdMD is the safest on the market and I am proud to partner with them to help millions feel better.”
The pain-relieving potential of CBD can be utilised locally through topical lotions for muscle soreness. Some users also report pain relief after taking the cannabinoid sublingually in the form of oil drops or orally via capsules and edibles.
Being an athlete at the professional level can undoubtedly also be very anxiety-inducing. Many athletes may also take advantage of the anxiety-relieving potential of the compound.
CBD and Sporting Regulation
Sporting regulatory bodies are also becoming more liberal when it comes to the cannabis compound. In 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances. Other sports policymaking bodies soon followed suit. However, some continue to recommend against the use of CBD products, due to current regulation of the industry.
Although this remains a problem in most countries with a budding CBD market, it apparently hasn’t put off many athletes, as they maintain their trust in the brands they endorse.