With rigorous training sessions and putting constant stress on the body (and the mind!), athletes are considering alternative methods of pain management. This is where the magical cannabidiol or CBD comes into play; it is one of the many cannabinoids, a well-known chemical found in cannabis. CBD influences pain perception, stress, memory (and many other things) by working within the human body’s endocannabinoid system. Plus, CBD does not cause hallucinations, unlike the THC cannabinoid.

However, one may ask the question, is CBD even legal in the world of athletes? In short, CBD has been legal for athletes since the start of 2018, when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took off CBD from the list of illegal substances. However, it is important to keep in mind that only CBD was eliminated from the list, whereas THC is still illegal. Furthermore, in the United States sports leagues and organizations, CBD is still banned because it is considered a marijuana-derived product and it is prohibited in the United States. Even though this is the case, many American athletes support the use of CBD. Professionals like Riley Cote, Paul Pierce, and Rob Gronkowski are avid supporters of cannabidiol.

So, what benefits can athletes reap from using CBD? 

Firstly, CBD is amazing for reducing muscle pain and cramps in the body. A great thing is that it is often sold in gel form or as a topical cream in stores or online, which makes it accessible to the majority of people. Secondly, CBD is believed to relieve inflammation, an effect that scientists have proven on rats suffering from arthritis. A review published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2018 claimed that cannabinoids have a powerful effect on significantly reducing inflammation on animal test subjects. 

Thirdly, CBD is believed to relieve symptoms of anxiety in athletes. The most common form of anxiety present in professionals is performance anxiety, which can range anywhere from simple jitters to extreme race anxiety. Fortunately, CBD has been shown to help relieve these negative symptoms in professionals by providing them with a calming effect before big competitions or training sessions.

How can athletes use CBD before training sessions and competitions? 

Well, there are a couple of ways to do this, from ingesting the cannabinoids through simple capsules, in pill form or as an oil. Creams and patches are helpful too. Furthermore, athletes can inhale it as a type of vapor or infuse it into different sports drinks and various edibles.

To conclude, cannabidiol can truly make a difference in the world of the biggest athletes. It has been shown many times to be effective in relieving stress, anxiety, and inflammation, as well as assisting the athlete in recovering quickly from injuries. Of course, it is important to be mindful when purchasing a product and it is also important to read the labels, because if the product contains THC, it may pose as a doping violation.