CBD In Sports – Why Officials Allow It

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CBD Use In Sports

An interesting trend recently has been a considerable increase in athletes using CBD to aid their recovery.

To try and clear up any confusion, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed cannabidiol from its list of banned substances in January 2018.

So while cannabis is of course still prohibited, CBD supplements that measure no greater than 0.2% THC (the legal limit) are approved for use in the UK.

Both the WADA and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) agree in this judgement that the substance is not performance-enhancing.

Why Is Cannabidiol Permitted But Cannabis Remains Banned?

CBD supplements are only permitted to contain a very small amount of psychoactive THC. For this reason, high-quality manufacturers of these supplements tend to focus on removing as much THC as possible from their compounds.

While there are numerous ways to perform this task, most of the finest producers will opt for CO2-based extraction methods. These are the same techniques as those used for decaffeinating tea leaves or coffee beans.

Many companies claim to offer products that are entirely free of THC, however there’s almost always going to be a trace left over.

For our purposes, as long as the extract contains less than the legal threshold it’s fine to be present in an athlete’s bloodstream. To the best of our knowledge, no athlete (or anyone else for that matter) has failed a drugs test due to taking CBD dietary supplements.

So while these supplements are derived from the cannabis family, because they don’t deliver any psychoactive properties they’re perfectly acceptable for use in the world of sport.

Eddie Hall with the Nano Shot

So Why Do Athletes Take CBD?

On paper, it may at first glance seem a little peculiar for why athletes bother to take this supplement in the first place.

Whilst we are legally restricted in what we can claim the potential benefits may be, plenty of sportspeople believe that it can be a useful tool in aiding recovery. For this reason, there have been a number of products brought to market specifically aimed towards post-workout recovery. Typically these are drops/oils that are added to water, isotonic drinks or even snacks.

As for effective CBD can be when taken in such contexts, there’s not really any clear-cut ‘proof’ that it’s necessarily effective. All we can go on is anecdotal testimonials – which clearly demonstrates that a good proportion of people who try to integrate CBD into their recovery schedule have enjoyed considerable success.

There are no guarantees! In a nutshell, from the WADA and VADA standpoint, there are no problems with taking supplements providing they do not cause artificial sporting enhancement.

Sports Professionals Who Use & Endorse CBD

Here’s just a couple of professional athletes who use and endorse this supplement:

Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall“The Beast” won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2017.

He recently published this video on his Instagram page, endorsing the use of CBD. He said:

“CBD is something that’s been brought into the industry quite recently. I’ve been using it for over a year now, and I just want to say how much I recommend it to anybody. It’s helped me with my crazy year…

There are three products I would mainly recommend… We’ve got the CBD Pro Shot that’s a liquid form that you add to your drinks. We have the oil which you put just under your tongue, and we have the vape… I keep them in my gym bag, and I’m always just topping my levels up.

There’s only one company I would use and that’s CBD Asylum. There’s loads of companies sprouting up all over the place, but this is the one I originally used and it’s the one I trust.”

Alex Montagnani

Alex Montagnani - TestimonialAlex “The Mean Albatross” Montagnani is a professional MMA fighter.

In this YouTube video he says:

“The way that CBD has affected my training has been amazing…

The reasons I use CBD is for my recovery between training as the session can be crazy and intense so I need something that helps boost that recovery, and get me back into the gym.

What I like about CBD is that it’s natural, and I’m a vegetarian, so it goes hand in hand with each other…”

CBD & The Endocannabinoid System

One of the frustrating aspects of these supplements is that nobody can pinpoint with absolute certainty why, and to what extent, CBD may be useful.

The most accepted theory is that our endocannabinoid system needs to be reinforced and revitalised much like any other part of the body.

Final Thoughts

Plenty of athletes are still wary of taking CBD despite the clear potential it may have to offer.

Of course, not all gym-goers engage in competition and under those circumstances, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t try out CBD to aid recovery.

As mentioned at the top of this article, there has yet to be a single case of an athlete failing a drugs test due to using these supplements. Given the potential assistance that it may anecdotally be able to offer, we can certainly expect an ever-growing number of people trying them out.

The way the UK CBD market is heading, it may not be too long at all until CBD workout aids are as commonplace as isotonic energy drinks.

The Future Of Sports Recovery – Is CBD The Answer?

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CBD & Sports Recovery

Image: Right: Eddie Hall (World’s Strongest Man 2017), Left: Paul Manterfield, Owner of House of Gain Gym, Barnsley.

It seems barely a major sports tournament goes by without some athletes failing their drugs test.

Sometimes they are rightly busted, other times they were unlucky enough to consume a medication or supplement that contained even a mere trace of a banned substance.

Just to confuse the already hazy rules set by the World Anti-Doping Agency, CBD has been restored to the permitted list since early 2018.

The problem is that even the finest, purest product will inevitably retain a minuscule trace of THC (the still banned psychoactive component).

So what is a professional athlete to do? For most of us who do not regularly compete at the Olympics, it isn’t an issue, which is great news because there’s plenty of signs that suggest CBD may help athletes recover with even greater efficiency.

Plenty of professional athletes and bodybuilders are now advocating CBD as the future of sports recovery and athletic performance.

Athletes (including amateurs) are subjecting their bodies to constant wear and tear, high impact exercise that leads to fatigue and ever slower recovery times.

Can CBD really make the difference in speeding up recovery?

CBD May Help To Reduce Inflammation & Effectively Lessen Pain

We’ve all had those aches and pains after undertaking an especially thorough workout.

It’s one of the key factors that people give up undertaking a fitness program, believing that the pain is not worth the gain.

Truth be told, there are hundreds of chemically formulated products on the market that claim to reduce both inflammation and pain.

CBD is not just useful for supplementing these, but may also be good enough as a stand-alone alternative. It contains natural agents that may act as anti-inflammatories, helping not only to soothe aching joints but also speeding up their recovery back to a strong and stable platform.

Skin creams or balms are often used in this context although there’s no reason why oil drops or vape oils cannot be just as effective. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest vaping is actually more effective since it allows for a speedier entry in to the bloodstream.

When it comes to pain management, athletes need to be very careful as plenty of over the counter products contain ingredients that are not approved by the WADA.

Although CBD is not as emphatic for pain relief, it may help the body function in homeostasis which plays a considerable part in managing pain receptors. Again – it is an alternative or a useful additional supplement.

Faster Recovery Times

While potentially reducing inflammation and to help manage pain appropriately, we have so far only scraped the surface on the potential benefits people may find by using CBD to aid recovery times.

There is still plenty of research to be carried out, but there’s no doubt that the cannabinoids contained within these oils and lotions are extremely beneficial in supporting those naturally produced by our own bodies.

The strain inflicted by regular hard exercise does eventually lower the ability of our own endocannabinoid system to ‘keep up’ with the strain we are putting it under. By supplementing with an appropriate strength and high quality dosage extract, it stands to reason that recovery may be swifter.

Video: Alex Montagnani, a professional MMA Fighter, speaks about CBD for fitness recovery and endurance.

A Healthy Body Recovers Faster

The more stress we place our body under, the greater the recovery time needs to be. However, the problem of this is that by pushing ourselves physically we can become more exposed to infections and illness as our immune system is pushed beyond its limits.

CBD oil may boost the immune system considerably and may help with lessening the risk of falling foul to such debilitating illnesses. Anyone who has ever tried to push themselves at the gym while bogged down with the flu will know how awful it can be! Combine this with illness also comprising effective recovery times, and it’s a no-brainer why CBD may well play a very useful role here.

So Is CBD The Future Of Sports Recovery?

The important thing to remember is that everyone reacts differently to CBD.

Our bodies are all different and finding a suitable dosage of a quality product is not an exact science.

It certainly has never been easy to incorporate these products into part of a recovery method, and as mentioned above many professionals are starting to swear by it.

But in our case, perhaps it’s best to listen to the budding amateurs and their own personal testimonials such as these.

A growing number of workout enthusiasts are claiming that CBD makes a real and observable difference in aiding their recovery, so many that it would be churlish to ignore.

As further research is published there’s a very strong chance that CBD may indeed become a far more routinely used recovery aid than at present.