Athletes put a lot of stress on our bodies, both positive and negative. Training stress encourages adaptation and increased performance, but physical trauma and excessive wear and tear can contribute to injury and discomfort. Current methods of pain control are successful, but they still kill people. Many people are talking about cannabidiol or CBD for athletes in search of better sports rehabilitation and safer pain relief. Are you going to?
Chronic use of over-the-counter pain relievers (i.e., NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and sodium naproxen) presents a higher health risk than previously understood, and we are in the midst of an opioid abuse and overdose crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. In such a landscape, athletes are understandably interested and willing to see cannabidiols (CBDs) offer pain relief and decreased inflammation without the risks associated with NSAIDs or opioids.
Are CBD goods the right thing for you? There’s a lot to unpack and ponder, so get relaxed and read on.
Is CBD legal for athletes, huh?
Yes , yes. Starting in early 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of banned substances – in or out of competition. (Here is the 2020 WADA Banned List.) The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did the same thing and provided the Marijuana FAQ page to explain the rules. There is a significant caveat: only the CBD has been excluded from the banned list. The psychoactive portion of marijuana, THC, is still banned in competition with synthetic cannabinoids. The precise terminology is: ‘Both natural and synthetic cannabinoids are forbidden, e.g. cannabis (hashish, marijuana) and cannabis products. Real and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). Synthetic cannabinoids that imitate THC effects. Except for: cannabidiol.
Interestingly, WADA set a urinary threshold of 150 nanograms per millilitre for THC, which is considerably more lenient than the previous cap of 15 nanograms per millilitre. The higher threshold is intended to minimise the probability of positive athlete testing due to out-of-competition use. A USA Today article in 2016 quoted Ben Nichols, the WADA spokesperson, as saying, “Our knowledge indicates that many cases do not require game or event-day consumption. The new threshold standard is an attempt to ensure that in-competition usage is identified and not used during the days and weeks prior to competition.
As for the lawfulness outside of sports, that’s a different thing. The federal , state and local legal status of cannabis and related items is continuously changing. Check the laws of your area.
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Basics of CBD
Athlete can legally ingest cannabidiol, but what is it, what does it do, and why would you use it?
Cannabinoids already exist in your body, to begin with. Scientists have established what they call the endocannibinoid system (ECS) that modulates neuron activity. (9) Cannabidiol ( CBD) is a natural phytocannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike THC, which is also present in cannabis.
Beyond that, scientists also understand how the ECS functions and how the CBD affects it. Study in this field has been difficult to complete for a long time due to the legal status of marijuana. However, on the basis of recent studies and 2018 The Fundamentals of Pain Medicine, Fourth Ed., here are the basics (5).
Within your nervous system , two endocannabinoids (2-AG and EAE) are formed in post-synaptic neurons (downstream) and released into the synapse. They bind to the presynaptic neuron (upstream) receptors CB1 and CB2 and act to inhibit the release of certain neurotransmitters.
CB1 receptors are located in the brain, spinal cord, and other tissues. CB2 receptors are also present, but most of them are located in the tissues of the immune system. CBD binding to CB1 receptors has a greater effect on the central nervous system, and CBD binding to CB2 receptors has a greater effect on the reduction of inflammation.
The primary aim of the ECS tends to be to preserve homeostasis, which it does by keeping the neurotransmitter levels in check. Consuming CBD may be thought of as complementing or growing the operation of your body ‘s current endocannabinoid system.
As an athlete, you place more stress on your body, leading to more discomfort and inflammation than your endocannabinoid system can manage. Adding exogenous CBD will help this overwhelmed mechanism to keep the neurotransmitters under control and help athletes maintain homeostasis.
6 CBD advantages for athletes
Relieve the suffering
Studies have shown that cannabis (mostly THC and much less CBD) is effective in reducing pain, including exercise muscle pain and stiff joints. (5) There is no research on CBD alone or on the 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. This is a field where anecdotal evidence and biological plausibility are the best we have until science has caught up. Despite the lack of hard evidence, CBD seems to have been successful in alleviating pain for many athletes.
Alternative to the NSAID
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs ) such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) have been used by athletes for decades, but they may not be as effective as we once believed. Ultradistance athletes, in particular, are usually recommended to avoid NSAIDs during long training sessions and events due to an increased risk of kidney injury. But even if your workouts and events are short-term , long-term or repeated use of NSAIDs may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Some athletes have found that the pain-relieving effect of CBD can minimise or eliminate the use of NSAIDS for exercise-related pain with minimal side effects. According to The Fundamentals of Pain Medicine, Fourth Ed., ‘There are no reported deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based items. In a systematic study of oral and oral mucosal cannabis trials for different medical conditions, most adverse effects reported were deemed non-serious (96.6 per cent).
Alternative for Opioids
According to the CDC, more than 42,000 opioids were killed in the US in 2016. Opioid pain killers (i.e. morphine, codeine, oxycontin) are highly effective for pain relief but carry a substantial risk of overdose abuse and death. Cannabinoids are not as effective as opioids for the treatment of acute, high-intensity pain (5), but can be effective for long-term pain control – either alone or in combination with other drugs – with a much lower risk of dependency or accidental death.
A little bit of inflammation can be beneficial for athletes and can help promote productive training. Too much inflammation hinders recovery and impairs results. Both the brain and the periphery have CB2 receptors, but they are more concentrated in the immune tissues. Cannabinoids binding to CB2 receptors can have an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing the production of cytokines (cell messengers). (8) In other words, CBD attached to CB2 receptors helps dial the answer when the immune system is alarmed after hard workouts.
Settle the intestine
Inflammation in the small and large intestines causes a lot of pain, and GI pressure is one of the key reasons why endurance athletes fall out of races. CBD may not solve gastrointestinal issues due to dehydration and overheating (two main causes for athletes), but if you have underlying inflammatory problems that lead to intestinal problems during or after exercise, CBD can be effective in-the symptoms. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the colon. Colitis symptoms (in mice) were inhibited when CB1 and CB2 receptors were triggered. (8) Consequently,
Improve the standard of sleep
Having more and more sleep is one of the most important ways for an athlete to receive more training. Anecdotally, CBD-consuming athletes show more ease of sleep and more restful night’s sleep. One plausible cause for this may be CBD inhibiting the reuptake of adenosine. (7) In the case of
Adenosine triphosphate ( ATP) breaks down when your brain burns carbohydrate for energy, and adenosine steadily builds up in your brain. More adenosine binding to neurons prevents the release of neurotransmitters, slows down brain activity, makes you feel calmer and induces sleep. Your body metabolises adenosine while you sleep and, some time later, low concentrations of adenosine help you wake up and the process begins again.
By binding to the same receptors that adenosine will bind to, CBD can inhibit adenosine reuptake, which helps it build up faster and makes you feel sleepy earlier. CBD can also have a potent anti-anxiety effect on certain people, which may help them get to sleep and have more restful sleep.
How to use a CDB
New CDB-containing items hit the market every week. You can get CBD by capsules , tablets, or oil. You should inhale it like a vapour. It has been infused with sports drinks, recovery drinks, and all sorts of edibles. There are also topical creams and lotions containing CBD oil, as well as tinctures / drops that can be rubbed under your tongue.
How you ingest CBD can have an impact on how quickly you feel its effects. Capsules, grease, and edibles have to be digested, so they can take a little longer. Topical creams are said to be faster than edibles, and sublingual drops / tinctures are said to be the fastest (in addition to inhalation through vaping).
CBD is available as either “broad range” or “isolate.” Full spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other compounds contained in the original plant, which may include small amounts of THC. If the CBD was extracted from industrial hemp, the THC content of the original plant is legally estimated to be less than.3 per cent (in Colorado). Items containing CBD isolates can contain only CBD. CBD isolate and CBD derived from hemp would be a safer option, from an anti-doping point of view, for those with zero-tolerance drug monitoring at work ( i.e. pilots).
How much CDB to use
This is where things get complicated. There is no single dosage that has a consistent impact on all people. CBD products are not well regulated, so there may be inconsistencies in the amount of CBD in the product. And depending on how you ingest CBD (oil, gum, cookie, recovery drink, tincture, vapour) it can be difficult to be exact. The most reliable way to ingest CBD is possibly by capsules or by measuring how many milligrammes of CBD are in a given volume (i.e. 1 millilitre) of tincture.
Companies that manufacture and sell CBD goods recommend starting at a low dose and progressively increasing it on the basis of the effects you encounter.
Conclusions and caveat
The production of cannabidiol could represent a significant turning point in how athletes recover from training stress and manage both occasional and chronic pain. The gigantic, glaring caveat is that the use of CBD right now and the way it is distributed are ahead of science. There is still a lot to learn about how CBD operates and how it can best be used by athletes. That’s not uncommon, though. When carbohydrate-rich sports drinks first appeared, it was obvious that they helped boost efficiency even if the formulations were not perfect and the mechanisms were not all established.
Although it is not a restricted drug for athletes in or out of competition, the possible danger to athletes is that the product you purchase does not contain what it says on the bottle. If it actually contains a large amount of THC or other banned drug, you are at risk of a doping violation. As with everything else, it’s up to you to investigate and find a trustworthy brand.
With what we know at this point, CBD has strong potential benefits and few risks. If recovery as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and sleep aid improves, there is a great potential to enhance athletic results. And if athletes minimise the use of NSAIDS, opioids, and prescription sleeping aids, those are even bigger victories.
CTS CEO / Head Coach
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Website: https://trainright.com/cbd-for-athletes-cannabidiol/ and https://www.cbd-byronbay.com/blogs/news/cbd-for-athletes-what-you-need-to-know-about-cannabidiol