Can Athletes Use CBD?

September 24, 2019 4 min read

Can Athletes Use CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of the hundreds of naturally occurring compounds derived from cannabis and, to put it bluntly, is all the rage right now. After the latest Farm Bill opened the doors for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products to be legally sold to consumers last year, CBD really took off. According to the Consumer Report, an estimated 64 million Americans have tried CBD in the past 24 months, a key reason why experts see the legal CBD market as being worth $22 billion by 2022. Among the many converts on the CBD, wave are elite professional athletes.

 

There are few things more universally loved globally than sports. Athletes in every sport put in countless hours in the gym, training to be one of the best in the world at what they do and sacrificing their bodies in the process. This has left many athletes constantly looking for ways to help their bodies recover from hardcore workouts/practices and also perform their best without the negative side effects. Thankfully, CBD is an all-natural solution that may be able to help.

CBD oil for athletes 

How Exactly Can CBD Help Athletes?

Due to the rigors athletes often put their bodies through in their playing careers or in the gym every day, many have lingering injuries or issues with pain management at a young age which leads to opioid prescriptions to cope. Unfortunately, research has shown that opioid addiction is not only more complex and difficult to treat than most other drug addictions but also shows no signs of slowing down.

 

Thankfully, research has shown that CBD can help to help fight inflammation, relieve and better manage pain and speed up athlete recovery, so it only makes sense for athletes to look at it as an alternative to many addictive drugs such as opiates. CBD has demonstrated reducing pain and inflammation via complicated endocannabinoid receptors found in our nervous systems and immune systems. The medicinal benefits of CBD trigger our cells in ways that have been shown to reduce both short-term muscle pain from a tough workout as well as long-term pain from chronic illnesses. On top of its effectiveness for addressing muscle pain and inflammation, research has also suggested CBD can be an awesome alternative, as it has zero overdose or addiction potential.

 

So, Can Athletes Use CBD?

 

The short answer is yes, though, that’s a new development. Until recently many athletes in some of the most physically taxing sports like mixed martial arts weren’t allowed to consume CBD for any type of pain management or recovery. For years bodies like the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States, Anti Doping Agency (USADA) both had CBD on their banned substances list, not allowing any athletes in sports they proceeded over to consume CBD for recovery and punishing them with hefty fines or suspensions if they did so. Thankfully, both organizations have lifted those bans in the last few years, with one of the most popular and prominent MMA promotions in the world, UFC, signing a deal to research CBD products on their fighters. It’s not just the UFC that’s embracing CBD however.

 

Earlier this year BIG3, a three-on-three basketball league, made waves as the first professional sports league to allow for their athletes to use and benefit from CBD products for pain management and recovery. Don Fehr, the executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association said it’s “possible that the NHL and NHLPA could come to an informal understanding about marijuana usage among players in the League in the future.” The NCAA, an organization notorious for standing its ground on player issues, has even softened its stance on cannabinoids.

 

Despite the progress that many sports have made in accepting the role of CBD as a tool for pain management and recovery for their athletes, other leagues have held firm in their opposition to CBD consumption. The NFL, for example, is still extremely punitive of their athletes when it comes to anything cannabis-related, despite players like Martellus Bennett claiming as much as 89 percent of the league use cannabis products. Both Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association the Women’s National Basketball Association all still consider CBD consumption “drug abuse” under current rules

 

The Future For CBD in Sports

 

It’s clear we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to CBD as a resource for weekend workout warriors and elite athletes alike but many leagues as still hesitant to allow their athletes to fully enjoy the benefits. While many American professional sports are still in the dark when it comes to the benefits of CBD use, others like the UFC are shifting their position with science. As each sport meets with their player's unions in the coming years for collective bargaining, we shouldn’t be surprised if one of the main issues players are set to fight for are clean, non-opioid alternatives for pain management and recovery like CBD.   

 



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