Marijuana, Hemp, and CBD oil have endured their fair share of scrutiny, coming from such a misunderstood background through decades of agenda-driven media and hearsay, slowly growing into a modern movement, becoming ingrained in holistic therapies, sports, and popular culture.
A place that it has deserved for quite some time.
The most impacting changes in sports have happened very recently. At the far end of 2019, we witnessed Major League Baseball removing marijuana from its banned substance list to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), allowing athletes to use CBD in all competitions and off-seasons as of 2018. It has to be stated that Marijuana and CBD are not identical in their mechanisms, but the wider acceptance of both is a major step forward and has to be saluted.
CBD in Professional Sports.
Top-level athletes may be forerunners in testing new methods to improve performance and recovery. Still, CBD is neighed on globally accessible and effective for all of us who lead an active lifestyle. This includes gym-goers, runners, climbers, recreational sports players, and more.
Athletes across professional sports are now publicly supportive of CBD too.
When commercial acceptance of innovations becomes widespread, it doesn’t always happen overnight, and such incidence doesn’t confirm that something is now only safe to use because authorities have finally opened up to it.
People have been using CBD for recovery and physical improvements since 2015, so one could even argue that professional sports have had to catch up on this occasion rather than being forerunners, but that’s a debate for a different day.
We’re in an incredible age of accessible information, and the efficacy of CBD can no longer be overlooked. Given that it has the potential to complement a healthy lifestyle for almost anybody looking to improve their sports performance and recovery, it becomes even more appealing when we find out why and how it potentially works.
Seeds of success.
Our growing understanding of the therapeutic properties around CBD has been a driving factor in this success of CBD in sports and competitions.
Without this knowledge, CBD would not be appreciated in the ways that it should be.
CBD is a great natural healer. It can reduce stress or pain caused by inflammation.
The inflammation and pain relevant to this discussion include exercise-induced acute inflammation and delayed onset muscle soreness.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that cannabinoids are beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disorders, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia and other conditions.
Whenever we train or exercise, we are placing the body in a stressful environment, and this stress causes inflammation of the joints and muscles, one of the main factors in improving sports performance is an adaptation to this stress. (more on that in a moment)
As humans thrive under the right amount of pressure, athletes are constantly testing their limits to maximise their stress thresholds. So the aspect that one may mistakenly want to avoid is one of the key components to a successful training program.
I can’t stress this enough?
The predicament we face in whether stress is beneficial or detrimental comes down to several factors, but the main concerns are how well we recover between exercise sessions, improving technique, adaptive reserve & knowing how far to safely but effectively push ourselves.
When we consider all of these factors and execute a plan accordingly, the right amount of stress can improve muscle memory, body composition, metabolism of nutrients and blood glucose levels.
That’s where CBD can lend a hand.
Acute inflammation is an immune system response to stress. The stress endured through exercise creates tiny tears in our muscle fibres, and the inflammation process rebuilds the muscles to grow back bigger and stronger.
The central nervous system controls inflammation responses, but it can be over-worked, and when it is, we run the risk of injury, becoming ill and other delightful mishaps.
CBD can help inhibit excess inflammation, so we don’t negate our recovery threshold, meaningless taxation of the central nervous system and the potential to recover quicker between sessions.
This could mean faster progress as you could need less time to rest, giving you improved skill acquisition, speed, flexibility, power or whatever you have been training for.
Essentially, we must break the body down (catabolism) to activate the recovery process (anabolism) repeatedly to keep improving in our chosen sport, event or exercise.
CBD oil can assist our central nervous system to allow faster recovery, priming us for our next exercise session or event.
As dosing is different per individual, we must allow for some inflammation to occur, so working out the right dose for you may take some trial and error, in a similar approach to your training and nutrition.
It also has to be understood that CBD is not medicinal, it is supplemental, and one can only get the required potential benefits from this when all other aspects of recovery, training and nutrition are adhered to.
Clinical trials are still in their early days, but there are more and more promising data to back up constant positive responses, anecdotes & feedback from athletes and active people who regularly use CBD. IT will be interesting to see what future discoveries this will entail as we discover more about CBD in the years to come.