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CBD Use Boosts Athletes Sports Performance: New Research Surfaces

The scientific and wellness communities have made it explicitly clear that CBD isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As researchers seek to understand the ways that CBD can positively impact those who use it, a new study reveals that professional athletes may have a lot to gain from its use.

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that is derived from cannabis.
  • Researchers found evidence of inflammatory relief, neuroprotective effects, and pain relief, based on preclinical studies involving animals.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, was only recently legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill, but advocates of this compound have been studying the impact that it can make for quite a while. Notoriously approved by the FDA as a way to treat certain types of childhood epilepsy, studies have also shown that CBD plays an important role as a pain and stress reliever, especially when used topically. Now, a new study (found in Sports Medicine) reveals that CBD use may be usable as a performance-enhancer in sports.

Though CBD and the closely-related THC compound from cannabis are both among the most popular to reach the public, there are actually over a hundred compounds found in the plant. Both THC and CBD have provable and beneficial effects on wellness. However, only THC is prohibited for use by the World Anti-Doping Agency in sports, due to its psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, can be freely used, as the impact is more therapeutic.

The study, published on July 6th, 2020, showed 200+ studies and trials that the researchers compiled on CBD, coming to an interesting conclusion. The researchers stated, “CBD may exert a number of physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects with the potential to benefit athletes.”

Countries around the world (United States included) have many different CBD supplements available for the public to see what it can do for them. Companies that offer these products even ship to every state, making it that much easier for athletes to improve their performance. In fact, there are even brands (like Mendi by Rachael Rapinoe) that cater their products specifically to athletes to give them what they need. CBD can be used as an oral supplement for the anxiety relief and pain, but some athletes choose to use it topically at the exact area that they need to treat.

Research is constantly growing, helping researchers and consumers to better understand the ways that CBD can impact someone. For this particular study, the researchers also examined clinical trials that involved non-athletes, as well as studies that were ahead of the clinical trials. Based on this information and evidence, researchers remarked, “Preclinical studies have observed robust anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and analgesic effects of CBD in animal models.”

CBD was linked to many other positive effects during the study, including:

  • Soothing for digestive discomfort and pain, for inflammation.
  • Reducing stress by easing anxiety
  • Increasing quality of sleep

Athletes go through substantial stress on their body and mind through their involvement in sports, and these effects in CBD could be essential for anyone that is trying to preserve their physical and mental health. Sleep, while a helpful benefit, was not as well-supported by the evidence discovered by the research. The researchers added, “Cognitive function and thermoregulation appear to be unaffected by CBD while effects on food intake, metabolic function, cardiovascular function, and infection require further study.”

Ultimately, the researchers came to the conclusion that the positive effects found in the 200+ studies they cited for CBD could possibly benefit athletes. Considering the broad skillset needed for many sports, the “physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects” of CBD could be a major advantage.

Still, as with any new compound with potential health benefits, more researcher is needed. Many of the studies have lacked the human testing or only cover a very small amount of resources, and there are multiple research papers that contradict others on the same topic. The early research and evidence is enough to leave consumers with hope, and no other study to date has included the details from so many other studies.

The full study can be viewed here.


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