It is no surprise to hear that exercise puts a lot of stress on our bodies, to both positive and negative effect. Training stress leads to adaptation and increased performance (such as being able to run further or lift heavier weight) but physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear can also lead to injuries and pain. Some athletes are turning to CBD in the search for alternative pain relief and effective sports recovery, but how can it help?
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound naturally occurring in the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. It can be taken orally (as a tablet, capsule or gummy), sublingually (under the tongue as a tincture) or topically (applied to the skin as a cream) to deliver a wide range of benefits.
CBD or Cannabidiol is legal in the UK, provided it comes from an industrial hemp strain that is EU approved and contains no THC, but you need to make sure you are getting it from a trusted source. Hemp Well organic CBD comes from EU certified hemp grown at our own farm, processed and lab tested to make sure it is pure and contains accurate dosages. We control the process from seed to shelf so that you can be confident you are getting a high quality, fully traceable product.
The human body contains a complex network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors known as the endocannabinoid receptor system (ECS). Research suggests that cannabinoids and the ECS may play a role in many bodily processes including anxiety, stress and mood.
There is limited evidence from human studies to support the benefits of CBD oil, due to restrictions on the use of and research on cannabis. Fortunately, science is now rapidly trying to catch up and there are more than 30 clinical trials currently being conducted in Europe.
Relieve pain. Anyone who regularly exercises has probably needed some pain relief, whether due to injury or for training-based soreness. Both preclinical and clinical studies have indicated a potential benefit of CBD use in chronic pain (Source). Existing over-the-counter pain relievers known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs - NSAIDs (ibuprofen being one example) can sometimes be dangerous to athletes, (particularly ultra-distance athletes) as there is increased risk of gastric trauma, especially if taken as a prophylactic. This can range from relatively benign dyspepsia, to potentially life-threatening events such as upper GI bleeding. Source. It is unsurprising that athletes are looking for alternative treatments.
Anti-inflammatory. It is well known that Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents (Source) and therefore could provide benefits to athletes to help relieve inflammation, swelling and pain, especially those recovering from injury. With both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, is it possible that CBD could therefore provide a safer alternative to NSAIDs for some athletes?
Aids sleep. Athletes know how crucial it is to get enough rest in order to aid recovery, sleep is when bodies repair themselves. If you are pushing your body in training then it's likely you will need more, better quality sleep. Health Harvard website writes: ‘studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep’ (Source) which could benefit athletes recovery.
Is it legal for athletes? What about drug testing? CBD is available as “broad spectrum” or “isolate”. Broad spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other compounds found in the original plant, which could potentially include trace amounts of THC. If the CBD was derived from EU certified industrial hemp (such as our Cannabis Sativa plants), the THC content of the original plant is legally required to be less than 0.3%. Some people prefer the broad spectrum products because of a reported “entourage effect” of all of the cannabinoids together. CBD isolate products should only contain CBD without any other cannabinoids. From an anti-doping standpoint, CBD isolate produced from hemp would be the best choice for anyone undergoing zero-tolerance drug testing.
Although it is not a banned substance for athletes in or out of competition, the potential risk for athletes is if the product you buy doesn’t contain what it says on the label. For example, if a product contained significant amount of THC, there would be a risk of committing a doping violation if drug tested. It is your responsibility to do your research and choose a reputable brand with lab analysis of their products readily available.