Whether an amateur chasing a personal best or competing at a professional level, athletes are always on the lookout for ways to improve performance and achieve goals. From nutritional strategies to psychological tricks, finding hacks to gain an edge is part and parcel of being involved in physical exercise, which is why so many people are turning to CBD to supplement their training programmes and achieve those all-important marginal gains.
What is CBD?
CBD is the short name for a substance called cannabidiol - one of the most abundant ‘cannabinoid’ compounds extracted from cannabis plants. Don’t be put off by that – CBD doesn’t produce any intoxicating effects. It’s another extract, called THC, that’s responsible for the ‘high’ associated with cannabis.
So how does it work? Well, in the same way as humans have opioid receptors in our bodies, which make us responsive to opiates such as painkillers, we are also biologically primed to respond to cannabis. This is thanks to our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate bodily processes including anxiety, pain, inflammation and many more. CBD may help modulate this system and these conditions, and keep it functioning as it should.
Benefits for athletes
For professional athletes, the line between supplementation and performance-enhancing substances can be a fine one, and vary between disciplines. The good news is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recognises CBD as a safe and legal supplement, and permits its use for professional athletes.
As CBD interacts with our ECS, it can potentially aid accelerated recovery, better sleep and reduced stress. And with many people looking to use natural remedies over synthetic drugs, CBD is growing in popularity.
So, how can CBD benefit our sporting and fitness endeavours? First of all, all forms of high-intensity or endurance exercise puts stress on our bodies, which in turn produces free-radicals. These can cause oxidative stress, which among many other things can affect performance and the ability to recover properly. CBD has been shown to counter the effects of oxidative stress , as well as suppress inflammation , and help with any post-training related pain.
While a little bit of inflammation can be good for adaptation, too much can be debilitating and lead to a reduction in performance. This includes inflammation of the stomach, one of the main causes for professional athletes to withdraw from events. Gastrointestinal problems can affect us all, but for pro sportspeople they can be the difference between a great performance and a no-show. As CBD is effective in reducing all forms of inflammation, it may also help with any stomach issues.
Getting adequate rest is an important element of recovery too. And CBD can aid more peaceful sleep, allowing our bodies to repair the damage caused by intense training or effort. It helps us get to sleep and stay asleep.
And let’s not forget how useful a good night’s sleep is for reducing anxiety – another reason to reach for the CBD if you’re prone to ‘game-day stress’ before an event.
The pro view
In order to improve their performance, professional athletes put an unbelievable amount of stress on their bodies. This is why quick recovery, pain reduction and stress management are key. In the past, athletes may have relied upon over-the-counter and prescription pain-killers, for example NSAIDs and opioids. But with an increased awareness of the negative side effects of such products, athletes are now looking for natural and healthy ways of achieving these goals.
The use of CBD has been endorsed by a number of big-name rugby players, footballers, weightlifters and boxers, but it’s not just contact sports where the benefits are being found. In disciplines such as golf and cricket, professional athletes have extoled the benefits of CBD, too.
So, if you’re looking for a solution to help with recovery, muscle soreness or even race-day nerves, take a tip from the pros and look into CBD.
Manuka Pharm’s expert range
Manuka Pharm’s range of CBD oils, supplements, creams and gummies contains 0% THC and Genuine Manuka honey in every formulation.