Always Pure Organics’ research assistant, Alexandra Gkoutzidou, reports on the role that CBD can play in sport.
Strenuous exercise has been proven to affect many aspects of athletes’ health.
The toll of championship can be psychological (anxiety), habitual (sleep pattern) and physical (injuries, bone health, nerve damage, muscular pain, gastrointestinal, infections).
CBD is not a panacea for all problems, but the mechanisms through which it promotes the body’s homeostasis can help ease some of the adverse effects induced through exercise.
CBD for the Bones
Exercise injuries are common. While working out is beneficial overall to bone health, athletes are also prone to injuries and low energy availability. This can cause overall bone health to deteriorate and cause nerve damage.
The effect of CBD in human bones has not yet been researched, but the role of the Endocannabinoid system has been investigated to some degree.
The endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 expressed in bones regulate bone homeostasis. Endocannabinoid, and animal studies indicate that CBD can possibly enhance fracture healing, and could prevent bone loss, and minimise post-fracture bone callus size.
CBD for the Nervous System
Peripheral nerve injuries in sports are rare, and they are usually the result of an injury . Such injuries in sports are caused by pressure, stretching or bone fracture.
According to a review conducted by JA Prenderville et al (2015) , “Indeed, cannabinoids have clear modulatory roles in adult neurogenesis, probably through activation of both CB1 and CB2 receptors”.
Up until the 1960s it was widely presumed that the adult brain is incapable of self-regeneration. This was disproven in 1965 by Altman and Das , but while much progress has been made in the understanding the mechanisms of neurogenesis in adults, the process is not yet fully understood.
It is hypothesised that endocannabinoids might play an important role in some phases of neurogenesis . The cannabinoid system has been identified as having a central role in adult neurogenesis of the hippocampus.
CBD for the Muscles
Exercise can also cause ultrastructural damage to skeletal muscles. The body would naturally pump this area with blood (inflammatory response) to promote repair, regeneration and adaptation of the sore muscle.
CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. While inflammation is integral for muscle regeneration, it may also contribute to prolonged muscle soreness and delayed functional recovery.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are well received by a growing number of athletes who swear by CBD balms, lotions and oils and their positive benefits for things like recovery, pain-relief and mitigation of inflammation.
CBD for the Gastrointestinal System
One of the most tangible and immediate effects of CBD based on the author’s experience is its action against nausea and stomach irritations. Thirty to 50 percent of endurance athletes have experienced some gastrointestinal symptoms in their career.
Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal angina, and bloody diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and results of nutritional habits, mechanical causes, water consumption, and blood flow towards the working muscles and away from the splanchnic area.
These symptoms don’t always affect the performance of athletes but for beginners in sports or for those starting their gym-going or sports journey, this feeling of nausea could certainly impact motivation and potentially reaching a goal.
There are two identified phases of the effects of CBD. High doses (more than 1500mg per day) can attenuate vomiting. However, following the FSA’s advice of no more than 70mg of CBD per day is reported to help reduce these feelings of nausea and vomiting. CBD patches provide a steady continuous release of CBD over a period.
This method of delivery alongside CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may protect the stomach in cases of intense exercise induced gastrointestinal symptoms.
CBD for Pain
One of CBD’s most beneficial effects shown in pre-clinical studies is an observed significant analgesic effect. It is important to recognise that the analgesic effect of CBD likely depends on several factors, including the treatment dose and the nature of the pain, along with the application method.
CBD at the advised maximum usage instructions (70mg, according to the FSA) do not consistently attenuate pain.
Data also demonstrates the selectivity of the response, indicating that CBD is only effective in attenuating the development of neuropathic pain induced by certain chemotherapeutic agents. All in all, animal models have shown that topical dermal application of CBD can indeed have an analgesic effect.
CBD for Sleep and Mental Health
Competitive sports usually operate in a high-pressure environment. No matter how talented the athlete, the stress can take a toll and affect performance as well as all other aspects of their life. Including sleep!
Bad sleep, can raise one’s performance anxiety which can create a vicious circle. CBD has been shown to improve both anxiety and sleep. Always Pure Organics have established in a previous article how CBD can positively impact acute stress or anxiety disorders.
Exercising regularly is widely believed to aide good night’s sleep, yet athletes are reported to sleep on average 1.2-1.5 hours less than non athletes and experience poorer overall sleep quality.
Good quality sleep has been proven to optimise athletic performance and recovery time. A study in insomniac  patients using CBD showed an increase in both the quantity and quality of sleep.
Adding doses of CBD oil in a bedtime warm drink before sleeping, could therefore potentially possibly help to improve sleep quality. Or, for athletes suffering from performance anxiety, a dose of CBD an hour before their game/race/performance/etc could support in managing these symptoms .
CBD for Your Needs
A growing number of high-profile athletes are now ambassadors for CBD companies. Some of the most well-known athletes using CBD are Rickie Fowler, Eddie Hall (The Beast), Mike Tyson, Megan Rapinoe, George Kruis, and Nate Diaz. Runners, martial art athletes, para-athletes and sports enthusiasts are increasingly making use of CBD.
Always Pure Organics advise all users to research first and ensure that the CBD products are from regulated, reliable and trusted retailers, brands and manufacturers.
If taking medication, It is always advisable to consult with a doctor before taking CBD. Do not take CBD if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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