One of the tremendously ironic things in this world is that cannabis use has always been associated with hippies or stoners lying on the couch doing nothing.
Let’s face it, there is some truth to that. So it’s crazy to think that one of the fastest-growing trends in the fitness world is CBD oil for athletes.
With enough misunderstanding of the topic, a keen athlete could read the title of this article, think that CBD is some kind of performance-enhancing drug and then drop a high dose of it before a race or event. But it’s not quite as simple as that.
CBD is not like a drug like caffeine that taps the adrenals.
Athletes often take caffeine pills before a race to get the heart going. The caffeine releases adrenaline, the heart rate goes up and the athlete feels like they have a lot of energy. But, this is an artificial type of energy. Caffeine manipulates a survival mechanism that releases adrenaline based on the flight or fight response. This possibly had something to with running away from saber-toothed tigers at one point.
It’s why we are addicted to coffee. The adrenaline forces the heart to beat faster which clears the channels and we feel pretty damn good. But too much caffeine uses adrenaline faster than we can make it so our supplies get low and the heart can’t even find enough to perform its normal function so we feel sleepy as our muscles and brain get low on oxygen. Anyone who drinks coffee regularly has experienced the tiredness that comes from overuse.
When it comes to CBD and what we have been told, it might seem counter-intuitive to take it as part of physical exercise. Most people know about the couch-lock that can be experienced by smoking certain cannabis strains that are naturally high in CBD. So how can CBD help an athlete perform better?’
In this case, it’s all about the dose. At small doses, CBD relaxes the muscles gently. Muscle relaxation in athletics is not something new. Ask any professional golfer about what makes them hit the ball further and it’s not more tension but more relaxation. CBD is a very effective muscle relaxant. As well as creating a more supple muscle state, it allows for greater flow of oxygen to the brain for better focus and to the muscles for better performance. So taking small doses of CBD can enhance performance. Taking larger doses can, of course, be too relaxing and whilst making you feel good, it might not be the best for athletic performance.
In sports such as Golf, Ju-Jitsu and Bodybuilding, muscle relaxation is critical to success. In fact most sports require a certain degree of muscle relaxation.
The other use of CBD for athletes is in recovery. Either post-workout, race or event. When muscles are worked hard, they break. The goal of bodybuilders is to absolutely destroy the fibers of their muscles and then to overload on protein to aid in repairing them to twice their original size. Like any bodily function, the repair of these muscles relies on the effective transportation of proteins and amino acids that ride in the blood.
Sometimes when an athlete goes hard at something there can be a lot of post-event inflammation in the body. Especially among contact sportspeople. This inflammation can really inhibit the transportation of compounds during the repair period.
CBD oil is a strong anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant. Often when a muscle had been worked hard it is very relaxed anyway but in post-recovery CBD oil works in an anti-inflammatory role to reduce swelling. This reduction in swelling allows the channels to open which aids in faster recovery. Also, the reduction of inflammation manages the pain aspect in the body since pain can release stress hormones which can lead to muscle tension again.
Steve Kerr, Coach of the Golden State Warriors is a big advocate of CBD and the list of athletes who have publicly talked about their use of CBD oil is endless. Check out this article from Men’s Health about Athletes advocating for CBD oil in recovery.
So, we could say that CBD pre-workout is useful as a mild muscle relaxant which helps with blood flow and focus. Small doses are recommended here. Post-workout a larger dose is required to control pain and inflammation to help aid in recovery. Then there is the use of CBD in head injury cases and recovery from other injuries. We will talk about this at a later time.
For centuries people have been speaking the health benefits of cannabis, but the mainstream has simply been put off by its mind-altering effects. Fortunately, now we live in a time where you can get amazing health benefits without getting wasted. This being the case, surely it’s only a matter of time before CBD becomes a regular part of any athlete’s schedule. That is unless they find its many advantages as unfair and list it as a controlled substance.
Watch this incredible case-study featuring a top-level baseball player who uses CBD oil to overcome his ailments
This article is a collection of ideas by the author. It does not constitute facts or advice in any form. Please consult a medical professional and check the legality in your area before purchasing or taking CBD products.
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