As cannabidiol (CBD) grows in popularity across all age groups and genres, the non-psychoactive hemp-based compound is getting attention from sports and fitness enthusiasts worldwide. While cannabis and sports have historically not been associated together, times are rapidly changing. Every week, we are seeing a steady stream of well-known current and retired athletes jumping on board with the beneficial cannabinoid.
Two Olympians—gymnast Gabby Douglas and the legendary alpine skier Bode Miller—have recently begun endorsing CBD products. Retired Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski made headlines in August when he got involved with a new line of CBD topicals. Former pitcher Kevin Moran and previous ice hockey center Matt Lombardi launched their own CBD company this past year. The list goes on: Ex New York Jet Nick Mangold, former cyclist Floyd Landis, retired Raven’s offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, former offensive lineman Kyle Turley, linebacker Derrick Morgan, and triathlete Andrew Talansky are all involved in the booming CBD industry—and that’s just for starters.
Despite what many people speculate is a quick money grab to promote the fastest-growing health supplement in history, these well-known figures are in the business for the best reason of all—CBD works. Who would know better than individuals who have tried nearly every natural health alternative in existence? For these pro-athletes, pushing their bodies to the outer limits is par for the course, and so are injuries. The adage of “no-pain, no-gain” has rung true for all of them, and in each instance, they claim that CBD has been one of the most effective therapeutic alternatives they have used.
CBD and Sports Recovery
Whether you are working out or just playing hard, pain is an inevitability for most people. Active individuals already know that experts admonish careful warmups and cooldowns before and after a workout or game to help reduce the time it takes the body to recover from a strenuous session. But not everyone realizes that muscle recovery is a critical component of the workout. In fact, in many instances, it is just as crucial as the actual workout or game itself.
During activity, the muscles develop microtears as a normal part of exercise. The targeted muscles adapt as the body recovers by increasing in both size and strength. The accompanying aches, pains, and soreness that go along with this process is a result of the body’s natural inflammatory response to physical stress. Typically, most people apply heat or ice, rest, or take anti-inflammatory medicines to combat the discomfort.
Research has repeatedly confirmed that both internal cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) play a key role in reducing inflation in the body, which is where CBD comes in. The goal of all remedies in sports recovery is to minimize the inflammatory response in the affected muscles and tissues of the body so you can feel in top shape and get back in the game as quickly as possible. Studies indicate CBD potentially speeds up the healing process by not only reducing inflammation but by acting as a potent analgesic equal to its drugstore counterparts.
Perhaps most importantly, this science is backed up by first-hand experiences from active people in every walk of life—from business professionals who walk or run two miles a day to NFL quarterbacks and everyone in between—it just plain works.
The ECS Is the Key
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not a new body system, yet it remained largely undiscovered until about two decades ago. Even then, it was not well understood and was not taught in basic biology. Like the respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, and other systems of the body, the endocannabinoid system performs vital operations critical to human life. It regulates mood, memory, temperature, sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, and more.
The fact that the ECS was unheard of 20 years ago does not diminish its importance. Comprised of an enormous system of receptors and enzymes that maintain homeostasis, this vast network outnumbers every other signaling system in the human body—that’s how important it is.
While the body makes its own cannabinoids that work within the ECS, some people may need extra help. Just as we supplement with various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain proper health, adding phytocannabinoids like CBD can help restore appropriate cannabinoid levels and bring balance to the body faster.
CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory effects and pain-relieving properties may work to shorten post-workout recovery time and enhance performance. Additionally, everyone knows how important a good night’s rest is to heal and restore the body. Since CBD is known to regulate sleep and have a calming anti-anxiety effect, it is likely that it contributes positively to overall sleep quality.
Using CBD for Sports Recovery
There are several CBD products on the market suitable for use as both everyday preventatives as well as a quick remedy for faster workout recovery. The most popular product is CBD oil. Typically taken sublingually by placing the desired amount under the tongue for 15-45 seconds, it is the preferred method of many and acts relatively fast. CBD can also be found in capsules, sports drinks, and even infused water.
The second most popular way of using CBD for sports recovery is by applying topicals externally. Topical CBD products come in the form of gels, salves, balms, lotions, massage oils, and more and can be applied directly to the affected area. A favorite among those who have isolated pain in one spot, CBD topicals have been shown to work quickly and efficiently, and some people even find them to be more effective than their prescription counterparts.
Is CBD Legal?
The passage of the Farm Bill of 2018 made CBD legal at the federal level, which is why it has seemed to explode overnight. A majority of states have followed suit by mirroring the federal government’s new policies on hemp, with many areas starting their own growing programs.
There are some areas of the country where CBD remains a regulatory gray area. If you have any concerns about the legalities of hemp-based products in your state, you should contact your department of Agriculture to determine what is permissible where you live.
How Do I Know Which CBD Brand to Purchase?
The popularity of CBD has led to massive growth in the industry. Everywhere you look, hemp products can be found in both the online and offline marketplace. The industry is still largely unregulated, however, and there are as many unscrupulous companies selling poor-quality cannabidiol based products as there are reputable retailers. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be both challenging and time-consuming.
When searching for the best CBD oil or topical product for your needs, there are some crucial factors to consider. The best companies are fully transparent and will have information readily available about their products. Such data should include the source of the hemp, the extraction and processing methods used, and third-party lab tests that verify the potency and purity of the contents. For the average consumer, this information is not always simple to uncover. Sometimes a little detective work is in order.
As an offshoot of the growing hemp industry, review sites like CBD Best Review have been established, making it easy for prospective purchasers to determine the best companies and products for them before ordering.
As an unbiased review site, they have done the homework already by investigating each of the companies they feature for the most relevant and up-to-date information on the safety and efficacy of various brands and their offerings. They also provide a wealth of educational content about the benefits of the compound. If you are new to CBD, this would be an ideal place to begin.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.