With cannabis being legalized in many states and Canada the increasing use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, more studies are being conducted on the benefits of marijuana.
There is certainly a lot of talk about CBD in the sports world and some contradicting opinions as well. It’s not a secret that many athletes use cannabis to boost their training or to help alleviate pain. In this article, we will shed some light on the matter and talk about ways CBD can help athletes.
Health Benefits of CBD
When speaking about the health benefits of marijuana, we mostly refer to CBD. CBD is one of the dominant components in the marijuana plant that has gained a lot of attention recently. It’s the non-psychoactive component that does not make you high but does provide a feeling of relaxation. In recent years, numerous health benefits of CBD have been discovered. While research is limited, it is safe to assert that CBD can successfully be applied to help with various medical conditions.
It has been used for helping cancer patients for years as CBD is known for its ability to reduce nausea and increase food appetite. This cannabinoid is also known to be good for chronic pain management, anxiety, depression, and many other medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease.
CBD and Pain Management
A study conducted on the effects of cannabis on athletes’ health and performance (published in 2018) showed promising results. While the results did not show that using cannabis can enhance athletes’ performance, the use of the substance for pain management proved to be undeniable.
Due to its ability to relieve pain, cannabis is a more natural alternative to prescription medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Using cannabis for pain management certainly has fewer negative effects when compared to pharmaceutical solutions. Many athletes use cannabis to alleviate pain and speed up their recovery after an injury.
Cannabis is known for its anti-inflammatory properties which means it can speed up the recovery of muscles. Although limited, the data gathered on the matter is reliable and showed that CBD is can help with medical conditions caused by inflammation including arthritis and liver injury.
Cannabis and Training
There are beliefs that CBD helps enhance athletes’ performance. However, there is no concrete evidence to support that claim. But it doesn’t harm or reduce their performance either. What we do know is that cannabis and training go hand in hand.
Cannabis helps relax and focus on training. It is also very effective post-training as it helps relax the muscles and recover from an intense workout session. Sore muscles, inflamed ligaments, and spasms are not an unusual occurrence after training and using cannabis can help reduce the effects.
Esquire magazine published an article in 2017 in which a professional trainer Scioli explained how cannabis aids performance. Scioli examined numerous different strains and believes the key is to find the one that is right for you instead of simply buying any weed you can find. If the motivation for training is the problem, Scioli says that Cannabis Sativa is the right choice. It boosts motivation and gives you energy.
Indica strains have a more therapeutic effect so it is a better choice if you want to relax prior to your workout. When coaching his clients, Scioli claims that cannabis extracts are far more effective than pharmaceutical stimulants.
Intense workout sessions can leave athletes tired and feeling unable to perform the following day. That is why athletes of high-risk sports use cannabis to relieve soreness and stiffness after a workout and to stay in a great condition the following day. Scioli also pointed out that using cannabis can help gain muscle mass as the substance stimulates the appetite.
CBD and Stress Relief
Athletes are under a lot of stress, both physically and mentally. They are must show excellent performance, endure tough workout sessions, and stay in their best shape. One injury can end their careers and so the pressure is huge. To help them endure all that, the majority of athletes become addicted to pain medications which have numerous harmful effects.
That is another reason why CBD and sports go hand in hand. Cannabis can help athletes to relieve stress and relax and it is estimated that about half of athletes use CBD products to help them. Such pressure can increase anxiety and depression among athletes and CBD has a proven positive effect on both.
Despite the controversy surrounding cannabis, there is no doubt that many athletes use and will continue to use cannabis to help them alleviate pain and relieve stress. However, the problem is that cannabis is still illegal in many states and athletes are tested on a regular basis.
Still, the fact that they choose to use an illegal substance for pain relief instead of harmful prescribed medications does speak for itself. However, more research is necessary to determine how athletes can benefit from CBD.