Can CBD Help Athletes Focus on Their Game?
In scientific parlance, CBD is known as cannabidiol. It belongs to a group of more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, or scientifically the Cannabis Sativa.
More about CBD
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or more popularly THC, is the primary active cannabinoid in Marijuana. The next most important ingredient is CBD. The key difference between CBD and THC exists in their psychoactive tendency. CBD is not psychoactive, but THC is. This means CBD does not give you the “high” when consumed as THC does.
This property of being non-psychoactive makes CBD a fascinating compound for scientists to research and explore its possibilities as a health-inducing medicine.
Though CBD research is still in its infancy, a multitude of studies exists to indicate that this cannabinoid can help with a range of human problems, including anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Research continues to provide more and more evidence of the safety of CBD consumption for several medical conditions. Also, more and more people are becoming aware of CBD and its various health benefits. This has resulted in a range of general and specialized products for consumers.
There are pain relief products, including pain relief cream, pain relief spray, pain relief roll-on that are used for reducing inflammation and pain.
The range of beauty and wellness products includes glow oil, face cream, facial serum, sleeping mask, anti-aging facial serum, facial cream, body oil, and recovery lotion, which work to moisturize and relieve users from skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
CBD eye serum is a specialized product for the skin around the eyes. It is formulated to handle wrinkles and bulges under the eyes while keeping the skin around the eyes hydrated and nourished.
An extensive range of CBD products for medical and general care purposes is available through CBD Plus and CBD Must.
Use of CBD is fast-growing in sports
The awareness regarding CBD is more than before and is constantly increasing. The latest industry to show a greater interest in CBD and its various health benefits is that of sports.
A key reason for the sports industry to shift focus to CBD is its ever-growing need for a solution that reduces stress for athletes and enables speedy recovery while being legal.
Many professional sports personalities, including Megan Rapinoe (American soccer player), Rob Gronkowski (football player), and Lamar Odom (basketball player), are vocal advocates of CBD.
In fact, the World Anti-Doping Agency includes all cannabinoids EXCEPT cannabidiol or CBD in its list of prohibited substances.
Research on the benefits of CBD for athletes is still progressing. But existing research does show favorable results for conditions such as muscle soreness and joint pain and inflammation that are common among athletes.
CBD enables athletes to improve focus by treating debilitating conditions
Some debilitating conditions that can affect the performance of athletes include pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Research gives evidence that CBD can address all these conditions.
Pain and inflammation
Athletes, especially those undergoing intense exercises for demanding sports, are susceptible to pain and inflammation. Intense exercises performed over a long period tend to create tiny tears in muscles.
The body heals these tears once athletes finish their workout. But repeated occurrences can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to injury and illness over time. This is especially the case when athletes perform intense workouts, but do not have, or deliberately give, the time that the body requires to recover.
CBD can be an effective solution for treating pain and inflammation. Research suggests that in general, cannabinoids are helpful in treating pain. The cannabinoid CBD, in particular, offers an efficient alternative for addressing different kinds of chronic pain.
In a study published in the European Journal of Pain, CBD showed positive results for pain and inflammation resulting from arthritis. The study used an animal model for fact findings. CBD was administered by application on the skin in this study. Results showed a decrease in pain and inflammation in the subjects.
Another study discovered the way in which CBD reduces pain caused by inflammation and neuropathic disruption.
These two types of pain are the most difficult to treat, according to experts.
There are other studies that attest to CBD’s ability to address chronic non-cancer and neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic disruption happens when the nerves transmitting information between the spinal cord and brain from different parts of the body get damaged due to reasons such as injury.
Even though THC is a cannabinoid capable of treating pain, its psychoactive properties make it unfit for consumption for athletes. In addition, THC poses the risk of damaging side effects, which can impact an athlete’s career and life in the long run.
A research finding revealed that THC resulted in short-term memory damage when administered on lab rats. CBD did not have any such effects.
A WHO report affirms the safety of CBD consumption by stating that pure CBD has not shown to be a product that provokes abuse or dependency. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that pure CBD has resulted in health problems in people.
More studies are currently underway to provide conclusive results regarding the efficacy of CBD as an analgesic compound.
Anxiety and depression
The stress of performance, competition, injury, and even overtraining can be possible reasons for anxiety and depression in athletes.
Though there are many pharmaceutical drugs available for addressing depression and anxiety, many of them come with side effects such as mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, and blurred eyes.
Studies suggest that CBD can be a better alternative. CBD can have an anti-depressive and anti-anxiogenic effect, a study on animal models suggest. A study suggests that CBD can relieve anxiety and that it has a calming effect on the CNS – Central Nervous System.
In another study, it was observed that when healthy males were administered a dose of 600mg of CBD orally, they showed no signs of anxiety, any physiological impact, or symptoms of dysphoria.
Another study also suggests that the anti-depressant effects of CBD are rapid. This finding is significant in the light of the fact that available anti-depressants take time to induce a response, and the results are not highly effective. This study also goes on to say that CBD is showing great potential as a therapeutic compound for humans.
A reason associated with depression is the low serotonin level. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, meaning it sends and receives information from and to nerve cells. It is popularly known as the “Happy Chemical.” It is responsible for promoting a feel-good mood in humans. Serotonin also manages the body’s internal sleep clock.
CBD does not directly increase serotonin levels. Studies suggest that it could act by affecting the response of receptors found in the brain to the chemical that is already within the body.
One of the reasons for CBD to be a safer and non-addictive alternative for depression and anxiety, as the above study and other studies suggest, could be the compound’s ability to stimulate the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) without directly interacting with its receptors by binding itself to them. The ECS is an important body system – it is responsible for several crucial body functions, including immune maintenance, sleep, reproduction, pain and mood management, and nerve functions.
Existing research indicates that CBD is a promising solution for anxiety and depression. More studies are underway to arrive at clinical conclusions.
When athletes do not get proper sleep, they can lose focus on their game. Lack of adequate sleep increases the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. In addition, sleep deprivation reduces carbohydrate and glycogen production in the body.
Carbohydrates and glycogen are stored by the body for use during physical activities. When their production decreases, it can result in a lack of energy for athletes during intense workouts.
Thus, insomnia can result in loss of focus, fatigue, and low energy levels, which affects game performance. The recovery period after a game can also be affected as a result of insomnia.
Studies showing CBD as a promising therapeutic alternative for insomnia are many. For example, there is this study that was conducted on a clinical population of 72 adults having sleep and anxiety issues.
The study measured sleep and anxiety parameters at the beginning of the study and again after a month to evaluate improvements, if any.
Participants were administered CBD, measuring 25mg in dosage, in the form of a capsule. Participants with sleep issues took CBD during the evenings. Those with anxiety problems were administered CBD in the morning.
The results assessed after a month of follow-up showed the following – an improvement in sleep was observed in 66% of the adults, indicating a decrease in difficulty to sleep; 79% of people showed an improvement in anxiety scores.
On the whole, several participants experienced an improvement in their sleep.
CBD research shows promising results in decreasing insomnia and anxiety. Athletes with such problems may experience easing of symptoms with the use of CBD. They can experience increased focus and a better game performance by addressing these root causes.
CBD can also help athletes suffering from PTSD or Post Traumatic Disorder in improving their sleep. In a study, a girl of ten years suffering from PTSD and poor sleep was given CBD oil. Results showed a consistent decrease in anxiety and a consistent improvement in sleep quality and quantity.
The girl was given pharmaceutical medications earlier, which failed to show any consistent results. With CBD administration, the results were much better.
RBD sleep disorder
RBD is the short form for REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep Behavior Disorder. Patients with this disorder tend to become active when they are dreaming. They act violently while enacting their dreams, especially by kicking and screaming during their sleep.
Athletes suffering from RBD do not get adequate sleep and can undergo stress as a result. RBD can thus affect the focus of athletes. Such athletes can benefit from the use of CBD.
A study involving four Parkinson’s patients discovered that CBD decreased the frequency of RBD symptoms without inducing any kind of side effects. The extent of reduction in RBD symptoms was substantial.
Somnolence refers to the condition of feeling drowsy. Excessive sleepiness during the day can be caused by a variety of factors, including the use of sedatives, lack of adequate sleep, sleep disorders, and other psychiatric or medical issues.
It should be noted that insomniacs, though sleep-deprived, are less likely to suffer from somnolence. They are more likely to suffer from daytime fatigue.
Somnolence can shift athletes’ focus from the game and reduce the quality of their performance.
Athletes with somnolence may benefit from CBD. Research shows that CBD is an effective wake-promoting agent.
The research included participants with Parkinson’s disease with sleep symptoms such as daytime drowsiness. The study showed that there was an increase in alertness in the participants.
The study suggests that the wakefulness promoted by CBD could be due to the increase in DA or Dopamine – a neurotransmitter as well as a hormone that controls key brain functions such as memory, thinking, and planning.
CBD is available in different forms for athletes to improve focus
If you are an athlete and are planning to use CBD, it is crucial to get your doctor’s advice first. CBD dosage varies according to several factors, including your weight, and any medications that you may be using.
As an athlete, you may be advised not to consume CBD before a workout session or a competition when you are just starting to use it. A low dose is usually recommended at the outset. Once the body gets used to the compound, the dosage is increased gradually.
CBD is available in multiple convenient forms, including vapes, edibles, capsules, oil, and tinctures. Edibles consist of a wide variety of options, including chocolate, cookies, gunnies, smoothies, coffee and tea, muscle balms, and pre-exercise drinks.
If you want CBD to show a faster effect, then perhaps vaping should be your option. A vaporizer or a device called a vape pen is used to produce a CBD vapor by heating. The vapor is directly inhaled for a quicker effect.
Numerous study results provide evidence of the fact that CBD has the potential to address a range of medical conditions, including pain, anxiety, and sleep. A variety of studies are currently underway to include a larger sample of the population and a more controlled environment to arrive at concrete clinical conclusions.
As an athlete, using CBD provides an opportunity to increase not only your focus but also your potential for greater career success.
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