Any athlete knows that you don’t get to the top of your game without putting in the time and effort. This applies to professional and non-professional sports. But that effort doesn’t come without a price. On the field as well as during training, athletes risk getting hurt.
Injuries as well as the stress that comes with striving to do your best have unfortunately contributed to the increased use of opioids among both professional and, even more alarming, student athletes to combat pain and ease tension. A study found that adolescent participants in high-injury sports had 50% higher odds of non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPO) than adolescents who did not participate in these types of sports (i.e., nonparticipants and participants in other sports).
In seeking an alternative to opioids for pain release and stress reduction, athletes are turning to cannabidiol (CBD). Recognizing the benefits of CBD on the body, in 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its prohibited substances list.
CBD reduces inflammation and pain
Athletes push their bodies hard. CBD offers many benefits that are particularly suited for the physical and competitive demands placed on them. It’s is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana that interact with natural receptors in the brain and body to affect pain response, lower inflammation and aid injury recovery.
Back-pain treatment is a good example of the way in which CBD aids pain relief. Lower back pain in athletes can be due to anything from strained muscles and ligaments to bone abnormalities. Lower back among athletes can affect their ability to play. Among the options for back pain relief are CBD topicals – ointments, creams or salves - rubbed into the skin where pain occurs. CBD topical products are absorbed through the skin where they bind to the body’s own CB-2 receptors that are found in the peripheral nervous system and which play an important role in fighting inflammation. Once CBD connects with CB-2 receptors, it has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Knee pain and injury also is common among athletes. Knee pain can be the result of improper exercise form and technique, overexertion or a pre-existing condition from a previous injury. By helping relieve pain and inflammation, CBD can be a key part of knee pain treatment to aid in relief and recovery.
CBD relieves stress
Athletes are under a great deal of stress, especially before a game. During stress, muscles tense up, which affects performance and therefore increases the chance of injury. CBD may help the body process serotonin, a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the body and contributes to wellbeing and happiness, thereby reducing stress. CBD therefore can be part of pre-workout prep to enable athletes to train without causing damage to their bodies. For the best pre workout, athletes can consider CBD oral tinctures to help them achieve a greater sense of calm.
Lack of sleep as well as poor-quality sleep affect performance, so it’s critical that athletes get enough quality sleep when they are training and competing. CBD increasingly is becoming a go-to solution for improved sleep. As noted, CBD lowers anxiety and stress, which may cause sleep issues, and it relieves pain, another cause of a poor night’s sleep.
Choosing CBD products
The best CBD topicals and tinctures for athletes must ensure that they don’t contain any THC, the psychoactive ingredient that can be found in CBD that comes from marijuana versus hemp. (See: “What Are the Differences Between Cannabis, Marijuana and Hemp.”) THC should be of major concern to athletes, or anyone else who is required to take a drug test. For this reason, athletes and others need to look for CBD products that provide the assurance that they have no THC.
Lab+Blends offers a full range of CBD products that contain no THC. Find out more about our CBD pain-relieving topicals and tinctures that promote an overall sense of wellness and a good night’s sleep.
 Veliz PT, Boyd C, McCabe SE. Playing through pain: sports participation and nonmedical use of opioid medications among adolescents. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(5):e28-e30. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301242