If you follow the world of MMA and UFC, you’ve probably heard some of your favorite athletes endorsing the use of CBD. Nate Diaz, TJ Dillashaw, Jack McGann, Gina Mazany, and Chris Camozzi all buy CBD oil and other products to enhance their game, and they’re open advocates of its use in professional sports.
Nate Diaz said that he has always been an advocate of cannabis-based products for athletes: “II thought it was all positive, productive,” he told reporter Aaron Bronsteter, a reporter for TSN.
“I don’t think people should be going out and smoking weed,” I continued. “I don’t want to put that look out or anything. But as an athlete, I think you should be smoking some marijuana, if you choose to do something to help you get through the day, instead of sticking a bunch of steroids in your ass and taking a bunch of faulty supplements.”
Many other champion fighters have shared the same sentiment. They have discovered the many benefits to this completely safe, non-opioid supplement that relieves pain, fights anxiety, and speeds recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of using CBD for MMA fighters and anyone else in extreme sports, for that matter.
How CBD Works for MMA Fighters
Before establishing the unparalleled benefits of CBD, let’s take a closer look at what CBD is and how it works. CBD is the shortened, more commonly used term for cannabidiol, one of 400 substances derived from the hemp plant.
It’s often lumped in the same category of marijuana, but when examined more closely, it can’t stay there. Marijuana and CBD are completely different because when sold legally online, CBD does not contain THC. THC is the psychoactive property that delivers a high for marijuana users. Without THC in your CBD, you can’t get high.
CBD works with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system. It inhibits receptors of CB1 and CB2 in the brain to help regulate hormones and help your body reach homeostasis. Hormone-related issues can be healed with the use of CBD, and the effects manifest themselves in many ways.
For MMA fighters, CBD can be an incredible tool for combatting the rigor of training. You could argue that MMA fighting is one of the most physically demanding sports because not only are you constantly moving, but you’re also being assaulted. The effect on the body is totally unpredictable because every fight is different.
There’s also the psychological toll. MMA fighters must come prepared with their A-game to every fight. It’s a struggle to prove yourself as the best. Being able to control the mind and handle the pressure can be utterly overwhelming for fighters in the ring. Those who do get hurt can also experience PTSD-like symptoms that make it difficult to get back in the game.
CBD can help return fighters’ bodies to homeostasis in many ways. Read on to discover the most impactful uses of CBD.
CBD for Pain Relief
Bruises, sore muscles, cracked ribs, black eyes—the list of injuries goes on and on for MMA fighters after both practices and intense fights. Many rely on high-dose anti-inflammatories or prescription painkillers to get them through the pain. Not only does the body’s sensitivity to dosages decrease over time, but it can also become addicted to the painkillers.
Many MMA fighters shop for CBD because it’s is an amazing alternative for pain relief. It reduces inflammation and eases pain. Many people with chronic pain swear by its effects in helping them manage everyday pain, and those in extreme sports use it often too.
CBD for Faster Recovery
Inflammation is typically the biggest inhibitor of a speedy recovery, and CBD is known for reducing that inflammation to speed healing. MMA fighters often use CBD balms, topicals, and oils to soothe aching muscles so they can return to their rigorous training schedule faster.
CBD for Anxiety
It’s hard to describe the pressure fighters feel to perform. Success in the ring is as much mental as it is physical, and a bad day could mean the difference between greatness and mediocrity.
With that looming over their heads, MMA fighters often turn to prescription anxiety and/or depression medications to ease their anxieties while in the ring. CBD is an excellent alternative that’s non-addictive and less likely to come with side effects. It’s so effective at treating anxiety, in fact, that more than half of CBD users who also take anxiety medication have replaced their prescriptions with CBD.
CBD for Sleep
Pain, anxiety, stress, inflammation, and more can make it difficult for hard-working fighters to get the sleep they need. Sleep is fundamental to recovery and good performance. Even one hour less of sleep can be detrimental to a fighter’s A-game.
CBD can relax the mind and body enough that sleep comes easily. It’s most effective with a few drops of oil under the tongue, but gummies or capsules work well too.
CBD and the Brain
The neuroprotective effects of CBD should be the most celebrated for MMA fighters. Concussions and head trauma are very common in the ring, and they’re extremely dangerous. When the soft tissue of the brain hits the hard skull, it can cause bruising and, in some cases, long-term damage.
CBD is believed to help prevent serious damages from head trauma. It helps to stimulate brain cell growth, rapidly replacing damaged brain cells before major damage can be done. It’s so effective in this respect that it’s often used in treating early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and it can help MMA fighters suffering from head injuries too.
CBD and Fighting Addiction
Unfortunately, addiction can be common among CBD fighters simply because they become reliant on painkillers. After a short time, ibuprofen and other non-addictive NSAIDs become ineffective at treating pain. They must move on to something stronger, usually of the opioid-based variety.
Research continually points out the dangers of opioid-based drugs. Addiction is rampant among those who use these painkillers frequently with more than a third of users becoming addicted to the substance of choice. They can spiral out of control with their opioid use, causing long-term emotional and physical damage.
On the flipside, CBD is totally non-addictive, but it can be nearly as effective as prescription painkillers. Some research also indicates that CBD can curb cravings for opioids, helping those addicted to break the cycle. If everyone in MMA used CBD instead of opioids for pain, we could see a significant reduction in addiction among professionals in the industry.