Have you heard about CBD? Are you an athlete and are considering using it? Numerous CBD products have been launched in recent years. But why is it? What are the benefits of CBD? If you are thinking of trying CBD or want to know what is this component everybody is talking about… This is the perfect blog post for you!
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most important components of the cannabis sativa plant. There are two main cannabinoids: THC and CBD. The first one is the main psychoactive cannabinoid, and the second one does not have a psychotropic effect. So, even they both are cannabinoids, they have a completely different chemical structure. CBD is not THC or marijuana.
The importance of CBD lies in the fact that it is not psychoactive, addictive, or toxic. Due to its properties, the interest in CBD has increased dramatically recently suggesting CBD is an antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory compound. These are the main reasons why athletes are using CBD.
Is CBD legal?
The first big question that everyone has is the same: Is CBD legal? Will I test positive for doping control? The answer is very simple: Yes, it is legal. And no, you will not test positive. Remember CBD is not marijuana. In 2019, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) exempted cannabidiol from its Prohibited Substances List. So CBD is permitted at all times. However, THC and the others cannabinoids (there are more than 115 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant) are not allowed.
This is why it is really important that, if you are going to use it, you buy CBD oil or creams which contain less than 0.3 percent of THC because that is the maximum permitted.
The interest in CBD by athletes is due to several benefits related to this compound. To understand how CBD acts in your body you need to know scientists identified that we all have the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which plays important roles in the central nervous system, synaptic plasticity, and the response to endogenous and environmental insults. The ECS is comprised of cannabinoid receptors, and by consuming CBD you could supplement or increase the activity of your endocannabinoid system.
Let’s check what the main benefits related to CBD are. In the first place, studies have shown CBD is effective to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Something very useful when intense exercising. That means it could be an alternative for painkillers which may not be as safe as we once thought. Another effect of CBD is that reduces stress, allowing your muscles and brain to recover. Sleeping well is needed for everyone, but especially athletes need to sleep better and more to achieve greater training. CBD seems to get that.
What about the side effects? So far, studies suggest it is fairly well tolerated, it is not likely to cause dependence or abuse, and the side effects of CBD that have been reported are related to interactions with prescription medications. So if you decide to give it a try, just consult your doctor.
It is important to understand that CBD does not cure illnesses (or at least there are not enough studies and information to claim that), so run away from labels that assure their products are capable to do so. As medications, WADA explains there are just two FDA-approved CBD medications: Epidiolex, for the treatment of seizures associates with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gaustaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome, and Sativex, an oral spray to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis (but it is not approved in the United States).
How to use CBD
As we have said previously, there are different CBD products. The most common for athletes are oils and creams. When should you use each one? Topical products as creams are more effective when you want to use CBD for specific parts of your body. For example: To prepare your muscles before training or to help them recover and alleviate tiredness after. However, you will probably prefer CBD oil to get more general benefits on your body.