While physical fitness is obviously key to sporting success, the psychological element plays a huge part too.
Many athletes and sportspeople suffer from performance anxiety, no matter how hard and well they have trained, which will then in turn impact on how they perform.
According to America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association, almost 85 percent of trainers believe anxiety disorders are currently an issue with student-athletes on their campus.
While amateur athletes may be slightly more likely to suffer from performance anxiety, they are far from the only ones.
Triggers can include playing in an unfamiliar location (an away game, for example), taking part in an individual sport without the support and camaraderie of teammates or simply feeling that the opponent is better.
Anxiety before a competition can cause sleep loss, increase energy expenditure, and impair nutritional intake.
There are a number of ways athletes can ease symptoms of performance anxiety, including making sure they are well prepared and learning methods to deal with negative thoughts.
In fact, some sportspeople are able to channel the nervous energy and anxiety in such a way as to boost their performance, thriving on the challenge of a competition and experiencing a feeling of being “pumped up”.
Fostering a sense of support, either through asking friends and family to attend away matches and competitions or making friends with fellow competitors, is also a good way to relax and bring back the focus to the activity.
However, if the above methods aren’t enough, more and more athletes are turning to CBD to help manage the worst of the symptoms.
How CBD can help
According to Sports Medicine Review, CBD can be used to help athletes manage sports performance anxiety.
According to the authors of the review, studies in non-athlete human populations indicated that CBD may relieve anxiety in stressful situations, and could even be more effective when teamed with psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
After assessing clinical trials investigating the impact of CBD on cognitive and psychomotor function, researchers also concluded that CBD was unlikely to have any negative impact on either physical or psychological function.
CBD is also thought to help athletes recover, both from activity and injury.
The remedy is famed for its anti-inflammatory properties; according to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can clearly be seen reduce inflammation in the body.
The effect is produced when cannabinoids bind to CB2 receptors in the body, which can create an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing cytokine (cell messengers) production.
Additionally, CBD has also been linked to increased endurance. A study found that the substance could help to boost endorphins while working out by balancing the endocannabinoid system and offering what is known as the ‘runner’s high’. This provides a major athletic advantage for those training, but struggling with motivation.
It is worth noting that, at the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances, whether in or out of competition. However, all other cannabinoids, such as cannabis, marijuana and THC, are banned in competitive situations.
In Britain, UK Anti-Doping advises that CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements and used at the athlete’s own risk.
CBD not linked to any UK sport anti-doping sanctions
CBD has not been a banned substance since 2017 but UK Anti-Doping still urge athletes to be cautious
CBD has not been linked to a single failed drugs test in UK sport, despite fears about the undeclared levels of THC in some products.
The World Anti-Doping Agency removed the cannabinoid from its banned substances list in 2017 and since then several high profile athletes have publicly endorsed CBD products.
Even though CBD – which has no psychoactive properties – is not banned, the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) still warns athletes to be cautious with treatments.
The watchdog is responsible for testing athletes across all sports in the UK and cautions athletes that unscrupulously marketed CBD products may contain THC above legal limits.
But despite these concerns a Freedom of Information request submitted by our sister title Cannabis Wealth, shows CBD has not been linked to a single sanction.
Since 1 January, 2017 four athletes have failed drug tests after providing samples which contained THC – the controlled compound in cannabis which produces a high – and received bans ranging from 15 months to two years.
However, none of the reports linked to those bans referenced CBD, meaning the increasingly popular products have played no role in a UK doping rules violation.
Scotland rugby union captain Finn Russell is a notable CBD user and investor and companies in the competitive market are using athlete endorsements to boost sales.
UK-based Dragonfly CBD recently unveiled former Team GB skier Chemmy Alcott as a brand ambassador and golfer Bubba Watson has partnered with cbdMD.
UKAD sets out its official position on CBD on its website: “The use of any CBD product is at your own risk as an athlete, all athletes must adhere to the principle of strict liability and are solely responsible for any substances found in their system.
“As a result, CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements – that strict liability will still apply, and the appropriate sanctions will be imposed on any athlete returning an adverse analytical finding from any supplement product, as with all other cases of doping.”
The Jiu Jitsu enthusiast tackling CBD stigma in black and Asian communities
Through his company, CBD Britanicare, Syed Dyas is tackling the taboo of CBD amongst black and Asian communities.
Syed Dyas, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enthusiast, found CBD helped him recover from an arduous training regime and introduced his parents to it after they were involved in a serious car accident. Now through his company, CBD Britanicare, he’s tackling the taboo of CBD amongst black and Asian communities.
Nine years ago, Syed’s parents were involved in a major car accident. Amongst a number of serious injuries, his mother suffered from an open fracture in her forearm and underwent surgery on her wrist.
Syed recalls she was prescribed heavy medications, including gabapentin and Tramadol, which came with a range of crippling side effects, including severe anxiety which later led to suicidal thoughts.
“She wasn’t herself, she was in a daze most of the time and was really short tempered,” Syed tells Cannabis Health.
At this point, CBD was still relatively unknown. Syed first heard about the cannabidiol compound while studying for his Master’s degree in pharmaceutical science at University College London and later started using creams and oils after intense sessions of MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
The 33-year-old has been practicing the martial art for six years, training as often as three or four times a week. He recently earned his purple belt, regarded as one of the toughest ranks to reach in the sport.
With such a physically demanding hobby, Syed has had his fair share of injuries over the years, but says CBD has helped him stay on top form and maintain his health and wellbeing. He uses oil to improve his sleep and aid his recovery, while CBD-infused creams offer more targeted relief when recovering from injuries, he says.
Several years after the accident, as his mother continued to suffer from the side effects of her medication, Syed suggested she try CBD.
“She had all these injuries and nothing was working for her,” he says.
“She suffered from a lot of anxiety just from travelling in a car and had nightmares and insomnia as well.”
He adds: “It was quite extreme at that point, so I was exploring alternatives to your typical over the counter and prescription medicines.”
It was an incredibly difficult time for his family, but Syed’s mother eventually did find relief with CBD, which allowed her to come off the opioid medications that were having such a detrimental impact on her life and wellbeing.
Seeing how much his mother had benefited from the supplement, Syed was “spurred on”, to start his own company, CBD Britanicare, and “share CBD with the nation”.
“It has really helped her and now I want to share that with as many people as possible,” he adds.
With a professional background in pharmaceutical regulation, Syed was well-equipped to start his own premium CBD company which he launched in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
He began his career working for the pharmaceutical giant, Nurofen in Hull, before moving on to work for niche pharmaceutical firms in London. He primarily dealt with patient safety, medical writing and substantiating patient information for a range of different medications and food supplements.
Having been embedded in pharmaceutical regulation for just under a decade, he says his background has helped him build CBD Britanicare on solid foundations.
“With my background, I think I was able to register all the information quicker and in greater depth,” Syed says.
“I’ve seen some people in the industry make mistakes, so I’m very careful with the advertising and marketing of the products.
“We want to reassure the public that we’re following regulations and guidelines from the government and the Food Standards Agency, while ensuring that all our products are lab tested and manufactured to the highest standard.”
CBD Britanicare produces a range of oils, from isolates to full spectrum using an olive oil base sourced from Greece and hemp from the UK. The family-run business also produces capsules, cosmetics, e-liquids and hemp-infused teas.
But although Syed’s mother was willing to give CBD a try, his father was sceptical.
Coming from an Asian background, Syed says CBD and medicinal cannabis is “looked down upon” in the British Asian community and his dad was against the idea of using a product associated with the illegal drug.
However, after being diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer last year, he eventually came around to the idea and started taking his son’s own products to help him during treatment.
His father’s distrust of CBD is common amongst black and Asian communities, Syed says. With the launch of CBD Britanicare, one of his primary aims is to eradicate the taboo so more people like his parents can discover the benefits of CBD.
“Cannabis is obviously illegal in this country and it’s not really part of the culture,” he says.
“With CBD Britanicare, I really wanted to do away with that stigma and introduce CBD into these communities.”
CBD Britanicare is teaming up with influencers from black and Asian communities to help promote CBD, including Solomon Lefleur, Queensbury Boxing Champion & ISKA World Champion Kickboxer, and Ajmal Khurram, a social media influencer, personal trainer and wellness coach.
Alongside its new partners, CBD Britanicare aims to tackle the stigma and get more people using the supplement who may have otherwise dismissed it.
Syed adds: “We’ve already partnered with influencers across the country who have built up a big following; mainly people in the communities who are into sports, bodybuilding and MMA. They’ve used and reviewed our products, and many were surprised themselves at how much they benefitted.”
With the passion and determination to tackle misconceptions, CBD Britanicare is one to watch!
For more information about the company and products visit www.cbdbritanicare.co.uk and keep up to date
by following them on all social media platforms.
Team GB skier Chemmy Alcott reveals why she’s a CBD ‘believer’
Alcott is the latest famous face from the sporting world to report the benefits of CBD.
Team GB skier Chemmy Alcott has revealed she is a CBD “believer” and is backing a leading UK brand.
Alcott is generally considered the UK’s most successful ever female skier and represented Team GB at four Winter Olympics.
The athlete and broadcaster has also appeared on the TV series Dancing On Ice and now works as a presenter on the BBC’s Ski Sunday.
Alcott becomes the latest famous face from the world of sport to become involved with a CBD brand, a list which includes golfer Bubba Watson and Scotland rugby union captain Finn Russell.
Alcott said: “When we were filming Ski Sunday earlier this year, I had two months of alone time, which was very unusual for me.
“Two months without my husband, my children and my day-to-day responsibilities, so I decided to really focus on me and put my physical needs first.
Dragonfly Biosciences UK chief executive, Regan Saveall said: “We are partnering with Chemmy Alcott to drive education and awareness, together with quality and safety of CBD as a sector generally.
“We hope that consumers will feel confident that if a world-class Athlete, like Chemmy, trusts the products to be safe with a self-care health and wellness role, they can too.”
Dragonfly produce a range of CBD products and are stocked in UK high street retailers such as Tesco and Boots.
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