The stress high-performance athletes put their bodies under is one of the hardest any regular person might encounter during their lives. Because of this stress, athletes are always looking for ways to improve their recovery and overall performance.
So it's not strange to find that many competitors and sports experts are gravitating towards CBD. The cannabinoid has proved itself to be useful in alleviating anxiety and inflammation. The World Anti-Doping Agency permits the use of pure CBD isolate, so it makes it legal in competition.
Still, there's a lot to be learned from CBD, but the fact is cannabidiol is already being consumed with excellent results.
What does the research say?
Although research on CBD for athletes is limited, the studies that do exist are positive in assessing the compound. A 2020 review published in Sports Medicine analyzed preclinical animal studies and clinical CBD trials in non-athlete populations. They discovered that CBD helped reduce inflammation and improve bone health.
It also helped deal with lesser-known athletes' issues, such as reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery to their gastrointestinal tract caused by stress and sports performance anxiety.
Other studies point to CBD as capable of protecting athletes against brain injury and helping with their sleep cycle.
"There is much to learn about translating dosing from animals to humans," said Dr. Elaine Burns, medical director of Southwest Medical Marijuana Physicians Group to Leafly. Nonetheless, she points out that "CBD can help athletes with recovery by reducing inflammation and aiding in muscle relaxation."
What do athletes say?
Stu Kam, a jiu-jitsu athlete, asserts to Leafly that CBD gummies are a non-negotiable part of his supplemental regime.
"As a Brazilian jiu-jitsu athlete and competitor, CBD has been a staple in my training regimen to help with my recovery and specifically my rest," said Kam.
NFL player Rob Gronkowski, golfer Lucas Glover, and UFC fighter Nate Diaz, and many other athletes have reportedly sworn by CBD and its benefits. The athletes are often quoted praising the cannabinoid for its anti-inflammatory properties in the recovery regime and reducing anxiety.
More research needed
Of course, not everything has been said about CBD. Since strict regulation has loosened up recently, there aren't many specific studies on athletes and their performance. This is bound to change as more competitors jump on the CBD bandwagon, and scientists continue studying the compound.
Fortunately, new research is undergoing right now. Aurora Cannabis teamed up with the UFC in 2019 to develop clinical research on CBD, athlete wellness, and recovery. It's expected to see more studies like this emerge.