Why CBD is Perfect for Athletes
Did you know that CBD has become the main tool in thousands of world-class competitive athlete's training routines?
You’ve heard about CBD and its powerful properties, but you’re not quite sure what it’s good for. Well, you’re in the right place!
CBD is a non-toxic compound from Hemp and it was recently removed from the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
CBD isn’t “dope”, though and doesn’t cause the intoxicating and psychoactive side effects associated with its more popular relative marijuana.
CBD is short for cannabidiol and its high safety profile coupled with an incredible array of therapeutic benefits has brought it into the sport and fitness world spotlight recently.
This article explains why CBD’s benefits are perfect for all types of athletes, fitness professionals, or any active person seeking to optimize health, performance, and athletic potential.
You’ll learn all about CBD’s health benefits and more, let’s go!
CBD Helps Gain More Muscle Mass
Cortisol. Do you know why it’s the biggest culprit keeping athletes from developing the muscle tone and mass they seek? Cortisol is a catabolic hormone also referred to as “the stress hormone”. At a healthy level, it serves many important biological functions.
For athletes though, it impedes muscle growth and much-needed strength gains. It does this by reducing the synthesis of tissue-building proteins, especially muscles.
Cortisol levels are usually highest in the morning and at their lowest while we sleep. That’s why quality rest is imperative for increasing muscle tone and mass. It’s at this time of the day, when cortisol is at its lowest, that your body can really get to work building new muscle tissue.
According to research, not only does CBD increase REM sleep, but it might also help with decreasing cortisol blood levels. That means that, with deeper rest and optimized biochemistry for muscle building, CBD helps athletes make the gains they’re working hard to achieve.
CBD Relieves Pain and Inflammation
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the opioid epidemic, right? It’s not talked about much, but at the professional level, competitive athletes have been among the most affected.
High-performance training regimens, stressful competitions, and pushing the body to its limits, takes a toll on the body. Painful inflammation, muscle aches, soreness, and injury are all daily challenges for many types of athletes.
Unfortunately, doctors and trainers have reached for OTC pain relievers and prescriptions drugs like opioids, muscle relaxers, and anti-anxiety meds to help players manage for decades.
OTC drugs such as NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen have been shown to have horrendous side effects to the gastrointestinal organs. Furthermore, it has also been proven to significantly increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and damage to other organs such as the kidneys and liver.
NSAIDs also lose their efficacy quickly and shouldn’t be taken for extended periods of times. Unfortunately, athletes have been chomping them down for years.
Opioids, while they have their place in medicine, have been overprescribed to athletes for years. How many athletes or fitness professionals are included in the terrifying overdose death and addiction statistics plaguing the US today?
CBD works to provide relief in a number of different ways. For starters, it directly targets the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating a number of bodily functions including:
- Pain perception
- Inflammatory response
- Musculoskeletal spasticity
- Mood and behavior
- And much more
Make sure you read our other articles about how CBD boosts athletic potential to learn more about the endocannabinoid system.
Training is hard, but once you get warmed up and concentrated you feel things begin to flow easier in the body. Yet, many athletes struggle to maintain stamina or to break through plateaus and expand their limits during training and performance.
While there are many things you can do that increase your athletic potential, in the moment that it happens there is only one thing that truly boosts stamina. It’s called anandamide, an endocannabinoid compound produced naturally in the body.
Also referred to as “the bliss molecule”, this biological compound plays in an intimate roll in nearly every function of balancing homeostasis in the body.
For years, researchers pointed to endorphins as being responsible for the classic feeling described by athletes as a “runner’s high”. Now, scientific investigation reveals that the euphoric or blissful sensation that enhances stamina is actually due to a sudden burst in anandamide levels within the bloodstream, and guess what!
CBD can boost anandamide levels in the bloodstream by naturally inhibiting metabolic enzymes responsible for degrading the stamina-boosting compound.
Increased concentrations of anandamide in the bloodstream can provide numerous health benefits for high-performance athletes improving:
- Stamina and energy levels
- Concentration and focus
- Diet, Digestion, and appetite
- Recovery speed
- Quality of rest and REM sleep time
- Pain perception
- Muscle spasticity, tension, and growth
- Mood and behavior
- And more
Natural Stress Relief
The physical side of fitness is only one side of sports training and athletic performance. In order for the body to function properly, the mind has to be in balance.
Champions know that the mind’s strength, stamina, and health are just as important as the body’s. Whether it’s from daily life or a rigorous athletic routine, managing stress-related anxiety is challenging for all types of active people.
Now we all know that exercise, weight lifting, and physical activity are natural powerful anti-depressants and a great way to combat anxiety. However, if the mind is simply overwhelmed, the body will ultimately not be able to function at its highest levels.
Researchers studying CBD think that the anandamide-boosting effects are partly responsible for its calming properties. Studies also show that CBD binds with neuro-receptors in the brain, such as 5-HT1A or “the serotonin receptor”, which are responsible for regulating various aspects of mood, behavior, pleasure, pain, and emotions.
Remember cortisol, the stress compound? CBD inhibits the secretion of cortisol, a catabolic compound that inhibits muscle growth and triggers symptoms of stress in the body such as:
- Appetite cravings
- Headaches and migraines
- Fear, worry, self-judgment
- Muscle tension
- And more
Luckily, CBD also has scientifically validated benefits that can help reduce negative health effects associated with chronic stress and anxiety such as:
- Improving stress-related cognitive impairment
- Chronic inflammation
- And more
While further research is needed to clarify the biological mechanisms at play, a growing body of scientific evidence confirms CBD’s powerful therapeutic benefits against stress-related anxiety.
Deeper, Faster Recovery
You learned at the beginning of this article that deep REM sleep time is imperative for achieving a high quality of rest and muscle generation.
However, a quarter of people struggle with achieving adequate sleep in general, let alone sufficient sleep time in the deep REM phase. It’s during the REM sleep phase that the body is able to accomplish most of its recovery from the days training and exercise.
Fortunately, one of CBD’s most powerful and popular benefits is its ability to instill a powerful sense of relaxation and sleepiness or drowsiness. CBD helps you fall asleep faster by:
- Encouraging muscle relaxation
- Calming the nervous system
- Regulating blood circulation
- Optimizing endocannabinoid system activity
- Balancing biochemistry
Further studies also indicate that CBD improves the quality of sleep by encouraging increased time in deep REM sleep phase. With better rest and adequate sleep, CBD helps athletes wake up feeling refreshed and strong.
CBD Improves Bone Strength
Athletes and people in general who enjoy staying strong and active don’t just stop being active as they age. Too often, age-related issues or injuries begin to affect their health and strength, especially bone strength.
Incredibly, CBD improves the recovery of fractured bones and stimulates healthy bone growth! Confirmed in animal models of femur bone fractures and validated by numerous scientific studies, CBD can help keep athlete bones strong as they age!
According to a paper recently published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the team of researchers describes the mechanisms they think are at play in CBD’s bone-strengthening effects:
“CBD stimulated mRNA expression of Plod1 in primary osteoblast cultures, encoding an enzyme that catalyzes lysine hydroxylation, which is in turn involved in collagen cross-linking and stabilization.”
“Taken together, these data show that CBD leads to improvement in fracture healing and demonstrate the critical mechanical role of collagen crosslinking enzymes.
Although CBD’s benefits to bone health are scientifically validated, more research is needed to fully understand and clarify the underlying mechanisms of the beneficial effect.
Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts and experiences with CBD and athletic performance by leaving us a comment in the discussion section below.
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