Can CBD Help Athletes with Performance?
CBD has become so normalized that everyone is curious about it now, from your grandmother to the endurance runner who only eats wholesome foods and clean burning energy. What does CBD do and why would either of these people want to take it? In order to understand why people use CBD, you must understand what it is, where it comes from, and how it works. It isn’t overly complicated and we’ll make it easy to understand.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a compound found in cannabis, known as a cannabinoid. Not all compounds in cannabis are cannabinoids and not all cannabinoids come from cannabis. Cannabis is the name of the family of plants that includes hemp, marijuana sativa, and marijuana indica.
CBD is found in all three of these, but it actually is more highly concentrated in hemp than it is in marijuana. Industrialized hemp has been cultivated to have higher levels of CBD than THC, whereas in marijuana, there is more THC.
CBD has attributes that give it the ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. Humans, mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles have endocannabinoid systems. Amphibians haven’t been studied for it as of yet.
The ECS is made up of enzymes and receptors that create and use endocannabinoids that are used by our bodies every day. We make our own. Endo means “within” or “from inside” which fully explains what endocannabinoids means.
When other cannabinoids from plants (known as phytocannabinoids) are introduced to our body, they can also interact with the ECS and the outcomes are fairly stupendous. CBD can bind right to receptors of the ECS.
There are two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. CBD binds with CB2 receptors, which are located mostly in the gut region of the body, but CB1 receptors are found in the brain. THC likes those receptors and this is why THC makes you high. CBD doesn’t even give you a slight buzz, sorry! You cannot get high from CBD use.
CBD does give you a very uplifting feeling though and we’ll get into that in a moment. Let’s talk about what happens when CBD enters the body first.
How Does CBD Work?
When CBD enters the bloodstream, it immediately goes in search of CB2 receptors. When it finds them, they bond, like to two people in love and they form a lipid as a result of their bond.
This lipid goes right into your neural network. That’s where thoughts and messages travel in the body, sending messages to and from the brain. When the brain gets a message that there is pain or a cut, it sends orders to the body, “Send white blood cells, release the histamine, and tell the body there is pain.”
As you might imagine, we feel the pain once the brain acknowledges it, as the body begins sending white blood cells to the site of the wound. This is seen as swelling, or in clear fluid around a wound – that is plasma and it is rich with white blood cells for healing.
When that lipid formed from the CBD bond is released into the neural network it intercepts many signals that are repetitious in nature. Therefore, chronic pain symptoms can be blocked in part, due to the brain never getting the signal.
For people with autoimmune diseases in which the body overreacts to pain and nerve damage, this means they are far less bothered by pain. It also means that many other signals are blocked, such as the start of seizures, tremors, upset stomach, nausea and more.
As CBD travels the neural network, it coats the walls with a protective coating similar to you putting Armor All on your tires. It makes them healthy, protected and this is essential to retaining memories for longer, boosting short-term memory and it also plays a role in making you ultra-focused and in the moment right now. Some people might call it ‘being in the zone.’
At a cellular level, CBD is a rich antioxidant that helps keep cell functioning at peak performance which helps the body maintain homeostasis – a fancy word that means balance. When you are balanced and healthy, all systems are functioning properly and at peak performance.
For athletes, this means that your cells can recover from harsh workouts faster. Nutrition is optimally absorbed, metabolized, and burned as prime fuel, as well.
What Does It Mean for Athletes Overall?
CBD is capable of being the oil for your engine, keeping your gears from grinding and getting the extra boost that you need, when you need it. CBD for athletes helps improve mental focus, keeps the body burning calories efficiently, helps to maintain and control weight and insulin metabolism as well.
If you have a sprain or sore muscles from strenuous workouts, CBD can work to get the body rebuilding cells and works as an anti-inflammatory to ease your post-workout aches and pains as well. Bodybuilders love CBD. The benefits of CBD for Athletes can be huge.
A lot of athletes suffer from muscle aches and joint pain from pushing the body to its limits over and over. CBD for athletes will effectively help to manage the pain and discomfort so that when it comes to game day or race day, you’re more than ready. You mind will be in that zone to perform as well.
CBD is also an effective mood and sleep enhancer. It helps to relieve anxiety, calm and quiet the mind, and reduce muscle tension. Not only will you fall asleep faster but you will stay in a deep sleep longer.
Sleep is extremely important to anyone, but especially valuable to athletes. The body recovers and repairs itself while we sleep. If you get a restful night of sleep then you are definitely getting a performance enhancement.
Many athletes have discovered CBD use for all of the above reasons and don’t worry. The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the list of drugs that they consider illegal performance enhancers. You’ve got the green light to give it a whirl. Try CBD for two weeks and see whether it enhances your performance and recovery times. It starts working right away, within minutes. Try it and see if you are as convinced as many professional athletes are.