Athletes are always looking for that extra edge, and CBD could be the magic ingredient they’ve been searching for.
Every year, countless athletes in contact sports suffer from concussions and other injuries, and many of these injuries may have long-term consequences: chronic pain and even depression. Nowadays, doctors prescribe opioids freely to treat such pain, but this medication is highly controversial and can produce unwanted side effects.
While CBD (Cannabidiol) isn’t completely harmless, it has several benefits compared to opioids: it’s natural, non-addictive, and doesn’t cause constipation or other digestive problems. CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, which positively impacts the immune system and regulates the nervous system. CBD can be in the form of a topical cream, mouth spray, or even CBD softgels.
Here is a list of 4 little-known benefits of CBD for athletes in contact sports.
1. CBD counteracts pain induced by inflammation in the musculoskeletal system
In a 2016 study, researchers determined that CBD can attenuate the inflammatory response in muscles, which reduces stiffness and muscular pain. Athletes who use CBD report that it reduces the overall pain and discomfort of strenuous physical exercises. CBD can prevent bruises and facilitate the healing time of contusions, so athletes who need to be in top form sooner can benefit from using CBD.
Also, athletes who have arthritis and those recovering from fractures can use CBD to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
CBD enhances the body’s anti-inflammatory response without any adverse side effects
According to a 2009 study, CBD stimulates the release of fatty acids called endocannabinoids which trigger an endogenous anti-inflammatory process. These molecules are involved in many functions throughout the body, including the nervous system and immune response.
2. CBD can help athletes recover faster after concussions
The endocannabinoid system’s regulatory role in the immune response makes it a potent ally for athletes battling post-concussion syndrome. Neurons are constantly forming new connections with each other, which is what allows us to learn new things and create memories.
However, this plasticity also makes our brain more vulnerable to damage and hurts cognitive function. Fortunately, CBD can protect nerve cells from damage and further prevent neuronal death, which speeds up the recovery from concussions. CBD stimulates neurogenesis while inhibiting inflammatory enzymes such as COX-1 and COX-2.
COX enzymes are involved in synthesizing prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that help regulate immune response and inflammation. Too many of these enzymes lead to chronic inflammation while inhibiting them can reduce pain and discomfort.
CBD limits COX activity, which is helpful for athletes who have arthritis, injuries, concussions, and other pains associated with physical exertion.
3. Sleep Quality
Since it alleviates pain, inflammation, and stress, CBD is a great natural sleep aid. According to research done by the University of Pennsylvania, athletes who use CBD before bed report having better quality sleep, which allows them to train harder and recover faster.
The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulating the circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) and helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors which helps restore the average balance of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate sleep.
CBD can also reduce anxiety which is a major sleep disruptor. Stress makes it harder to fall asleep and leads to difficulty staying in a deep sleep, increasing fatigue during the day. CBD reduces anxiety, improving overall sleep quality, so athletes who need to recover between training sessions for tournaments or games can get an edge by using CBD.
4. CBD helps athletes boost their immune system
The endocannabinoid system has a regulatory effect on the immune system as well. It is involved in regulating inflammation and reducing pain, so it makes sense that CBD can also boost the immune system of athletes.
In a number of studies, researchers analyzed whether CBD could influence an athlete’s ability to recover from intense exercise. They found that topical application of CBD reduced muscle soreness and increased cellular repair.
It works by reducing oxidative stress and protecting the cells from damage. CBD also reduces levels of cytokines which are molecules that trigger inflammation response. It makes it a great choice for athletes who need to avoid overtraining or flare-ups caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis, IBS, and asthma.
Every athlete has to be able to push their body to the limits. While CBD is not a miracle drug, it can help them recover faster after intense training sessions or games, which allows them to perform better in the long run.
CBD does not have any psychotropic effects and has been found safe for human use. It also doesn’t interfere with their ability to focus and stay alert. It reduces stress which leads to better sleep quality and faster recovery from injuries.
Thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it can also help athletes boost their immune systems before and after intense training sessions. What is not to like about this little flower?
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