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CBD Oil Use Trending Among Professional and Amateur Athletes

MMA fighters, NFL players, and athletes everywhere are turning to CBD oil as a safe alternative.

On any given Saturday morning, thousands of runners line up on the start/finish line in cities like Denver, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles, eager to begin ticking off the miles. But this isn’t your typical race. This 4.2 mile fun run is a part of the 420 Games, an athletic and educational event hoping to shift the perceptions of cannabis in sports and destroy the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Past participants include marathon runners, NFL players and other professionals, and medal-winning Olympic athletes.

The events, held around the country, aim to demonstrate the usefulness of cannabinoids like CBD for athletes. Recently, cannabis products like CBD oil have become increasingly popular among athletes looking for a natural, non-toxic alternative to powerful medications and over-the-counter drugs. Many sports push the human body to the brink of its endurance and capabilities; CBD can assist in prevention of and recovery from injuries during training and competition.

What Can CBD Do for Athletes?

CBD for athletes has become a popular topic in locker rooms and gyms as a safe alternative to pain medications, not only because it is non-psychoactive and not addictive, but also due to CBD’s effectiveness in supporting health and wellness among athletes.

When our bodies are taken to their limits time and again, it is important to take steps to promote overall health and to properly recover from intense physical exertion. CBD has been demonstrated to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that are now effectively being applied to sports medicine.

CBD regulates immune cells to minimize pain and has the capability of reducing inflammation, helping in the recovery of intense physical activity and even injury. An overwhelming number of pain patients prefer using cannabinoids like CBD for pain over prescription opioids and many are able to reduce or even remove prescription medications from their routines, reducing the risk of overdose or addiction. Even minor pain relief can be more safely managed with CBD rather than NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which when taken frequently can cause an increased risk of heart failure and internal bleeding.

According to the U.S. government patent 6,630,507, CBD is also an effective antioxidant and neuroprotectant. This suggests CBD may protect brain cells.

CBD can be used to simply supplement the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which assists the body in achieving homeostasis (balance).

CBD in Competitive Sports

However, as more and more athletes are coming out in favor of CBD, they are running into prohibitive testing regulations, causing them to either eschew safe CBD oil use for prescription medications or risk sanctions from their sport’s governing bodies.

Last month, competing athletes received good news when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published their updated prohibited substance list revealing that CBD is now approved for use. The WADA and USADA are responsible for setting regulations and testing Olympic athletes, though their scope reaches much further. UFC fighters, competitive cheer, boxing, bodybuilding, dance, and many other amateur and professional sports organizations fall under the watchful eye of WADA and the USADA.

This new policy now allows athletes to use CBD before and during competition, as well as for recovery afterward. Athletes are beginning to appreciate the many benefits of CBD, which sometimes allows them to use fewer prescription drugs. The use of THC by athletes is still prohibited by the USADA and WADA, meaning that only CBD oil products free from THC meet their tight restrictions.

UFC fighter Nate Diaz found himself the symbol of the CBD movement in sports when he openly vaped CBD oil during a press conference after a fight against Conor McGregor. Diaz told reporters at the time, “It’s CBD…” He further explained, “So you wanna get these for before, after the fight, training. It’ll make your life a better place. CBD.”

The USADA issued him a warning, drawing media attention to the topic of CBD in sports. It appears that USADA has listened to Diaz and athletes like him when removing CBD from its banned substances list. This is a big step for the acceptance of cannabinoids in competitive sports, and it will be interesting to watch which other sports leagues follow suit.

CBD can be an effective alternative or supplement to the painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication that athletes receive throughout their career. A 2011 study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that 52% of retired National Football League players used opiates during their career, while 71% of them reported some sort of painkillers abuse.

NFL players and other athletes may also benefit from CBD’s ability to protect the brain. The NFL is suffering from an epidemic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological disease caused by concussions and repeated blows to the head. Former NFL All-Pro Nick Lowery, spokesperson for Kannalife™ Sciences, recently went on a two day media blitz in order to promote the role CBD can play in preventing CTE. Kannalife™ Sciences is currently working with a license on patent 6,630,507 to develop a CBD-based drug to combat CTE.

CBD in Fitness

You don’t need to be a competitive athlete to benefit from the effects of CBD. Amateur athletes and anyone just working out can also take advantage of CBD’s analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and balancing properties.

This is the theory that the founder of the 420 Games Jim McAlpine and former NFL running back Ricky Williams are bringing to their venture Power Plant Fitness, which is advertised as the country’s first cannabis gym. The pair hope to integrate the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids like CBD into their customer’s gym routine.

CBD can also be added as part of your daily run, tennis match, pick-up game of basketball, or round of golf. However you like to participate in sports and train your body, the benefits of CBD can be used by athletes everywhere.

Making the Switch

Because CBD can help athletes like you reach your peak performance, protect brain cells, and speed recovery thanks to its ability to manage pain and inflammation, CBD is a natural choice for anyone looking for a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals or just looking for an edge in training and competition.

You can learn more about the many benefits of CBD on our news feed.

Post by Jeffrey Stamberger

Jeffrey writes media content covering the latest in news, medical research, policy changes, and product education from the cannabis industry.

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