As regulations for cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) continue to change, there have been many questions and concerns about its legality, especially when used by athletes. While many users have reported a number of positive experiences from using CBD oils or CBD topicals, others may be concerned about whether athletes are allowed to do this.
CBD and Athletes
For many years, cannabis was considered a Schedule 1 substance, and its use in sports was heavily illegal. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the organisation responsible for the fight against drugs in sports, removed CBD from its Prohibited in Competition substance list in 2018. This also coincides with the 2018 Farm Bill passed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. In short, athletes who are regularly drug tested do not have to worry about having CBD in their system.
However, the WADA only removed CBD from this list, not other cannabinoids. While CBD sports topicals and balms are used externally, athletes may want to refrain using full-spectrum CBD products internally or in dietary supplements, as they may contain traces of other cannabinoids that appear in testing. A CBD isolate is a great alternative for athletes, as it is pure CBD crystal and contains no other cannabinoids.
Benefits of CBD for Athletes
There are several reasons an athlete uses CBD. Athletes who train hard may experience discomfort in different parts of their bodies. CBD can support recovery after intense exercise or physical activities. Many athletes have incorporated CBD creams, lotion, and salves into their workout and recovery regimen to support wellness and supplement their active lifestyle.
CBD oils can potentially promote focus while providing a soothing effect on the body. This can help athletes get in the right state of mind before training or a game. An additional benefit is that CBD has virtually no major side effects, making it a great alternative to prescriptions that may have adverse effects.
Whether athletes use it for its physical or mental properties, CBD is said to act on our endocannabinoid system, producing a whole-body effect. Whether used internally or externally, athletes can greatly benefit from incorporating CBD products into their daily practice.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of neurotransmitters in our bodies. There are two main cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which regulate the release of neurotransmitters. CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain and spinal column. CB2 receptors are found in those places as well, but are more concentrated in the immune system and gastrointestinal system.
When binding with cannabinoids, CB1 receptors create a noticeable effect on the central nervous system and mental state, while CB2 receptors have more of a soothing effect on the body.
The endocannabinoid system manages and regulates your body’s processes, maintaining balance and wellness. Cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and hemp plant, such as THC and CBD, interact with the ECS.
CBD acts on both receptors in different ways. When CBD binds with CB1 receptors, it helps maintain a sense of calm within the nervous system allowing the athlete to feel more focused.
When CBD binds with CB2 receptors, it can support relief and assist our immune system’s response to germs. CB2 receptors are also responsible for helping the body fight against overactive immune system conditions.
Athletes apply extreme physical and mental stress on their bodies and minds and often seek relief using prescription medications, over-the-counter topicals, and other therapeutic techniques. CBD can potentially promote overall wellness with virtually no side effects.
While much grey area exists regarding the matter of cannabis, hemp, and CBD, recent changes in cultural and legal attitudes have allowed CBD to proliferate over the last two years. Since its recent removal from the WADA’s list of prohibited substances, many new CBD products are now directly targeted for sports markets, helping athletes find an organic, natural way to promote a sense of well-being.
While CBD is completely legal to use, other cannabinoids such as THC are not. If you are concerned about ingesting other cannabinoids, use CBD isolates, which you can mix in with creams and balms.