It seems everyone is talking about CBD these days. These three letters stand for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound in cannabis touted for providing relief from anxiety and depression to relieving chronic pain and inflammation.
Some athletes have taken a liking to CBD, finding it to be a natural pain and inflammation-reliever while also helping to better cope with the psychological stress that comes with playing intense sports.
Let’s take a look to see if there is really a CBD and sports connection.
CBD MAY RELIEVE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
Most pain is directly linked to inflammation, so targeting inflammation can mean relief for the aches and pains that come with being an athlete.
Every person has an endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors and agonists that interact with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, including ones made by our bodies.
There are two primary receptors in the endocannabinoid system: cannabinoid receptor 1 and cannabinoid receptor 2 (or CB1 and CB2). CB2 is known for modulating immune cell function, making it a suggested target for relieving inflammatory conditions. Since CBD targets CB2 receptors, it may help reduce inflammation, providing relief from all sorts of aches and pains athletes endure daily.
CBD MAY ALLEVIATE STRESS AND ANXIETY
There’s no doubt athletes face a lot of stress and anxiety. From grueling workouts to not having enough time in the day for leisure, there’s a lot for athletes to deal with on a daily basis.
Because CBD activates 5HT1A receptors, it can reduce anxiety and prevent the long-term effects of stress. 5HT1A serotonin receptors are associated with anxiety, and some anxiolytic medications target them.
Athletes who struggle with performance anxiety may benefit from using CBD to alleviate negative feelings before an event. One 2010 study found that CBD can reduce symptoms of social anxiety, making it an excellent choice for athletes who get nervous before performing.
CBD MAY HELP WITH HEART HEALTH
In a randomized study from 2017, nine healthy male volunteers were given a dose of CBD or placebo. The volunteers who were given CBD experienced a decrease in blood pressure.
More research will need regarding CBD and heart health, but the potential for CBD to improve cardiovascular function is promising.
CBD MAY BOOST YOUR RECOVERY TIME
We know CBD can reduce inflammation, relieving pain in various parts of the body. This anti-inflammatory effect can also be beneficial for recovery periods when healing muscles after intense activity.
CBD’s role in the endocannabinoid system is one that promotes balance across the body. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, which keeps all systems functioning properly. If anything in the endocannabinoid system is out of whack, the body will not recover as smoothly.
THE BOTTOM LINE: CAN CBD REALLY MAKE YOU A BETTER ATHLETE?
With its anti-inflammatory properties and potential to ease stress, anxiety, and even boost heart health, there’s no question that CBD can help athletes with their performance.
It’s best to incorporate CBD as a part of a healthy lifestyle to boost your overall health. Athletes can certainly benefit from incorporating CBD alongside other healthy habits to make them stronger, more able sports players.