Scientific studies found that CBD boosts athletic performance by reducing recovery time and post-workout muscle pain, eliminating pre-competition anxiety, and alleviating menstrual cramps.
CBD has become a wellness buzzword in recent years. Unlike its counterpart THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant can’t get you high but can deliver a whole host of benefits if used correctly.
What we know about CBD and exercise stems from a combination of academic research and anecdotal evidence.
From its anti-inflammatory benefits to improved endurance, CBD is a useful tool to have in your fitness arsenal alongside proper nutrition, sleep, and stress management techniques.
Is CBD Legal For Athletes?
A resounding yes. CBD was removed from the World-Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances in 2018.
So if you’re a competitive athlete, you are safe to use CBD both in training and competitions.
However, be aware that not all CBD products are well-regulated. So take care to select those which have been properly certified.
Lab tests undertaken by the UK’s Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) found that more than half of the most popular CBD oils available on the high street do not contain the amount of CBD stated on their packaging.
Make sure to do your research and pick a reputable brand to minimize the risk of wasting your money.
For those concerned about THC levels, CBD products cannot legally contain more than 0.3% THC, so you shouldn’t need to worry.
So it’s legal. How can it help me as an athlete?
How CBD Boosts Athletic Performance
If you’re an athlete, CBD can help you boost your recovery, get rid of anxiety, and reduce menstrual cramps in women.
But let’s take a closer look over how CBD boosts athletic performance:
CBD has been found to reduce inflammation and improve mobility. If you’re often left feeling sore for days after a workout, CBD may help to ease the pain and get you back to training faster.
A 2008 review found that the topical application of CBD contributed to effective pain management for those with chronic pain.
And another study in 2018 concluded that CBD has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing abilities.
More frequent training means better performance, so why not try some CBD oil or an oral spray?
2. Pre-Competition Nerves
If you suffer from anxiety and nerves before a race, match or meet, you’re in luck.
In 2019 researchers studied the effect of CBD doses of between 25 mg and 175 mg per day on anxiety in participants and found that it was noticeably reduced and remained so whilst CBD was taken.
Anxiety can affect sleep, and an added benefit of CBD is the potential for improved sleep in those suffering from anxiety or stress.
Taking CBD in the build-up to your competition could give you that edge you need to land a spot on the podium!
As most women will know, menstrual cramps can knock you for six: at best they might slightly decrease your performance, at worst they leave you unable to train at all.
As CBD has increased in popularity, so has the number of women extolling its virtues.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that ingesting CBD or applying it to your abdomen can reduce the severity of cramps. This makes sense, given what is known about the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
It could be just what you need to support your training during your period.
However, the CBD industry is still young, and there are not yet any studies to support this, so use it as an opportunity to experiment and find what works for you.
Should I Use CBD Before Or After My Workout?
It’s down to you to determine what works best, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it could be better to use CBD products after your sweat session.
Whether you opt for topical or oral CBD products, using them after a workout has been found to be more effective. It helps reduce stiffness and discomfort the following day and decreases overall recovery time.
How Much Can I Safely Use?
Reports suggest that it is safe to use up to 1,500 mg per day, but if you’re new to CBD then start with 5-10 mg per day and build up slowly from there.
Mostly, it’s a case of experimenting until you find what works for you, but exercise caution until you’re used to the effects on your body.
So, whether you’re training for a marathon, smashing sets in the gym, or simply having a daily kick-about after work, give CBD a try if you want to boost your athletic performance.