Boxing champion Anthony Fowler is known as ‘the machine’ for his performance in the ring. Here he tells Cannabis Health how CBD has helped him to reach the top of his game.
Anthony Fowler was just 11 when he first stepped into the boxing ring and fell ‘head over heels’ for the sport.
In the years that followed, his successes came thick and fast. At the age of 13, the Liverpudlian was boxing for England and by 18, he had secured the title of British champion.
As part of the British squad, Anthony went on to bring home a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships and gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, before qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Now 29, Anthony has turned professional and counts the WBA international champion and WBO Inter-Continental Middleweight Titles among the accolades under his belt.With a training regime which includes up to three sessions a day, six days a week, it’s little wonder he’s known as ‘The Machine’ for his physical presence and fitness when he gets into the ring. So what’s his secret? Well, firstly it’s no secret.
A quick glance at the athletes Twitter account reveals that when he’s not sparring in the gym, he’s shouting loud and proud about the benefits of CBD.
Anthony first discovered the cannabinoid through a friend, who asked to sponsor him after setting up his own CBD company. He said no at first, not knowing much about it and wary of jeopardising his professional career.
But then his coach revealed he was using the oil himself to help with a shoulder injury. “I asked my coach about it and it turned out he was already a big believer in CBD, so I thought it must be okay,” says Anthony.
“I started promoting the oil and everyone who was buying it was giving me unbelievable feedback about how much it changed their lives. I couldn’t believe how much it was helping people.
”But despite hearing the touts first hand, the boxer’s own awakening to CBD didn’t come until later, when a sparring incident left him with a jaw injury.
He explains: “I got punched in the jaw and was in a lot of pain, I couldn’t close my mouth, couldn’t eat. It was actually my girlfriend at the time who suggested I try the CBD.
“I put it under my tongue and within 25-30 mins my jaw felt better. I’ve taken morphine and all kinds of painkillers over the years and it worked better than any of them.
“Anthony started researching the endocannabinoid system and discovered how hemp had traditionally been used to treat a whole range of ailments, which eventually led to the launch of his own company, Supreme CBD in December 2019.
“The more I looked into it I thought this stuff is unbelievable, more people need to know about it,” he says.
“It spiraled really quickly, but that’s because it works and everyone can benefit from CBD.“I literally couldn’t live without it myself now.”
Since taking CBD Anthony says he is no longer plagued by a chronic elbow injury: “For years I’ve suffered with a bad left elbow because I use my left hand a lot when I’m fighting.
“I’ve had cortisone injections, physio and nothing ever worked. I thought I was going to be plagued my whole career with it, but since I started the oil three years ago, I haven’t felt the pain.”
Anthony also claims CBD has helped him to compete at the top of his game, by aiding his rest and recovery process.
“I’m a young, strong man, in the prime of my career, but CBD gives me that little bit of an edge,” he says.
“It’s not going to give you superpowers, I still need to keep to a strict diet and train hard, but I do definitely believe CBD has helped me recover naturally.
“In between sessions I can sleep better, my joints don’t ache as much and the next day you wake up that bit more fresh, so you can put in more work the next day.”
He adds: “It’s really amazing for recovery. I was among the first boxers to start taking CBD and now there’s hundreds.”
Despite winning awards and accruing tens of thousands of followers on social media, including a handful of high profile ambassadors, Anthony still describes Supreme CBD as his ‘hobby’ and gives away a great deal of products to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to give it a go.
“I am a full time athlete, but the CBD is such a rewarding hobby which has become a massive part of my life,” he says.
“I’ve given away free oil to so many people, because I like to give back and people who need it, who can’t afford it should be able to have access to it.”
His clients report improvements in their sleep, help managing stress and anxiety and reduced pain and inflammation.
Anthony continues: “The modern world and social media has made our anxiety a lot worse and CBD is brilliant for that, as well as helping people who can’t sleep. People with arthritis love it for its anti-inflammatory properties and everyone who I’ve spoken to with fibromyalgia says that it has been life-changing for them.”
He adds: “It should be available on the NHS. It shouldn’t be down to me, it should be the Government helping people who genuinely need it, not giving them pharmaceutical drugs which don’t really solve the problem, they just mask it.”
While he’s keen to break down the stigma associated with cannabis-based medicines and advocates for wider access, Anthony also stresses the importance of ensuring products are high quality and lab-tested that people can trust.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there that is not what it says on the tin, and it gives CBD companies a bad name, but I do believe there’s a lot of benefits to the cannabis plant, I think this stuff is the future,” he says.
“I sometimes think to myself, how can it help with everything? But it allows the body – which is the most advanced machine in the world – to heal itself.”
NFL to explore effects of CBD in players with chronic pain
America’s National Football League (NFL) is looking into how cannabis and CBD can help in managing player’s chronic pain.
The league and player’s association (NFLPA) made a formal request for information to researchers on “pain management alternatives to opioids” earlier this month.
In an official statement, the NFL-NFLPA Pain Management Committee (PMC) said it is working to “improve player health through evidence-based treatment of acute and chronic pain” and to “facilitate research to better understand and improve potential alternative treatments.”
The NFL is seeking out qualified researchers who could lead studies into pain management and athletic performance in its players.
Areas of investigation include the potential therapeutic role of medications and “non-pharmacological interventions” that are considered to be alternatives to opioids in routine pain management of NFL players, including, but not limited to, cannabinoids such as CBD.
The committee also wants to explore the cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance in NFL players.
The PMC was formed in 2019 as part of the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement with the goal of benefitting the health and safety of NFL players through education and research.
Last year it conducted two informational forums on CBD to learn about the current state of CBD science and manufacturing in the US, as part of its aim to find alternatives to opioids in the pain management of players.
Respondents to the request are expected to have experience conducting controlled, experimental studies in the relevant areas and should be affiliated with institutions or companies that meet state, federal, and IRB requirements.
However the NFL is not committing to funding any specific studies at this stage, and instead wants to seek out qualified scientists who can assist with future research projects.
CBD is not currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List and, as a result, is permitted for use in sport.
However, all other cannabinoids such as cannabis, marijuana and THC are prohibited in competition due to the receptors activated in the brain which cause a ‘high’.
A 2018 review assessed the impact CBD has on relieving chronic pain. The review examined a number of studies, concluding that CBD was effective in overall pain management and didn’t cause any other negative side effects.
In addition, it has been suggested that CBD can speed recovery and fight fatigue – welcome news for athletes suffering from long-term or recurring injuries.
How can CBD help arthritis?
In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints – and many are turning to CBD products to ease their pain and discomfort.
With an ever-expanding range of drinks, gummies and edibles on thee market CBD could be seen as something aimed at the younger generation.
However, there is a growing body of research that suggests CBD can also be of great use for the older members of the population – and one condition in particular.
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint, and while it can affect people of all ages, it is more likely to begin when people are in their 40s and 50s, worsening with age.
A Canadian study from 2020 found that up to one in five patients who consulted an orthopedic surgeon for chronic musculoskeletal pain were using a cannabis product to treat them, with the express aim of reducing pain.
The researchers also found that interest in the compound was high, with two thirds of non-users curious to try a cannabis product to treat their muscle and joint pain.
Furthermore, those patients already using CBD had generally positive experiences using the products. Nine out of 10 said it was effective in managing their pain, and four in 10 said it decreased their reliance on other pain medications. Nearly 6 in 10 said cannabis products were more effective than other drugs.
Such findings corroborate what we already know about CBD; thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, early research into its use as a treatment for acute and chronic pain is promising.
A 2016 study found that transdermal cannabidiol has potential for reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis without any noticeable side effects.
Cannabis-based medicines can help manage the pain of arthritis by rebalancing the body’s natural endocannabinoid pain-processing system and soothing inflamed body tissues.
There are two primary ways of taking a CBD supplement; topically or orally.
In the case of arthritis, a cream or ointment containing CBD would be rubbed into the affected area. Topical products may also include common over-the-counter ingredients such as menthol, capsaicin or camphor, which could make it difficult to determine if any positive effect is due to the CBD or another ingredient.
There are a number of ways to take CBD orally, from gummies, snacks and drinks to tinctures and capsules – although gummies are discouraged in households with children, due to their similarity with sweets.
However, all work in largely the same way, being absorbed through the digestive tract. However, it is worth noting that absorption can be slow and dosing is tricky due to the delayed onset of effect (one to two hours), unknown effects of stomach acids, recent meals and other factors.
Whichever method you choose, it is always a good idea to check with your medical practitioner first, as CBD, although it is natural, may interact with other treatments, such as prescription medications.
However, for those looking for an alternative to prescribed drugs, with fewer side effects, CBD could well prove to be the answer.
9 out of 10 readers have self-medicated with cannabis
Nine out of 10 Cannabis Health readers have consumed cannabis for medical purposes without a prescription – and almost all said they found it to be more effective than conventional medicines.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been asking for your views on social media to delve deeper into how people are consuming cannabis.
As expected, the proportion of our readers who self-medicate with cannabis was high, but the results also demonstrate the perceived effectiveness of cannabis in comparison with traditional medication, highlighting a need for wider access to safe cannabis based medicines.
Despite the law around medical cannabis changing over two years ago, gaining a prescription can still be challenging, particularly on the NHS.
This has forced a lot of patients to take matters into their own hands.
According to research, as many as 1.4 million Brits are self-medicating with cannabis, equivalent to just over two percent of the country’s population.
Studies from the US have backed this up, with one suggesting that as many as a third of teenagers with a chronic health condition have taken it upon themselves to manage their symptoms with cannabis.
We asked our readers if they were self-medicating to treat a health condition, with the results confirming that almost 94 percent of people said they were.
On top of this, a further five percent said they were not currently, but were open to the idea.
Just over one percent said they weren’t self-medicating due to the stigma attached, however no one responded that the law was a factor in this.
Effectiveness of self-medicating
Anecdotal evidence and some early studies suggest that cannabis can ease symptoms of some chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, where other, more conventional medicines have failed.
There is also promise in the potential of cannabis to relieve some mental health conditions, with some saying it has provided huge relief for disorders such as PTSD.
Ninety five percent of Cannabis Health readers polled said they found cannabis extremely effective at relieving symptoms.
In addition no one said they had found it ineffective when it comes to treating their condition.
The remaining five percent said they found it to have a similar effect as their conventional treatments.
Route to administration
How patients consume cannabis can have an impact on its effectiveness, as well as how quickly it kicks in.
With such high numbers both self-medicating and reporting positive effects, we wanted to discover the common consumption methods.
Smoking the flower is the traditional method of consuming cannabis and often viewed as the one which can provide the most relief.
However, even though it has been seen to be less harmful than tobacco, smoking can still lead to a number of other health issues and is note recommended by health professionals.
Despite this, it remained the most popular choice among Cannabis Health readers, with just over a third saying this is how they consume cannabis.
The modern alternative to this is vaping, which was the second most common route to administration among Cannabis Health readers.
Around a third of readers said this was their preferred consumption method.
Some professionals argue this is the healthiest way for consumption, with clinics recommending vaping cannabis flower, but more research is needed in this area.
One method which has few negative effects is the use of oils or tinctures.
This is typically how CBD is consumed, with 21 percent of readers saying this was their preferred method.
Self-medicating alongside conventional medicines
The NHS says it is unlikely that many people in the UK will be able to gain access to a medical cannabis prescription.
Despite this, many patients have chosen to self-medicate with cannabis either alongside or often in the place of conventional therapies.
The majority of readers agreed with this, with 55 percent saying they no longer use conventional medicines in favour of cannabis.
A further 22 percent said they would only use their conventional medicines if they did not have access to cannabis and the remainder said that they still consume cannabis alongside conventional medication.
Want to get involved? Cannabis Health will be running a number of polls over on our social media pages, to find out more about your views on CBD and cannabis for medical and wellbeing purposes.
- NFL to explore effects of CBD in players with chronic pain
- How can CBD help arthritis?
- 9 out of 10 readers have self-medicated with cannabis
- Cannabis may lead to “rebound” headaches in migraine patients – study
- Always Pure Organics: “The UK is a front runner in establishing a regulated CBD market”
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