Sports recovery and CBD
One of the areas that CBD is increasingly being used for is sports recovery - both at an amateur level and since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed hemp-derived CBD from its list of prohibited substances in 2018, at a professional level too. Whilst no medicinal claims can be made about the reported anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties of hemp CBD oil products, it would appear that this is the reason fitness professionals are using it.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Nate Diaz was one of the first sports stars to publicly admit to using CBD when he told journalists at a press conference in 2016 that he was vaping CBD oil because “it helps with the healing process, inflammation and stuff like that”. Being one of the earliest advocates for CBD paid off for him as he now has a lucrative sponsorship contract with Canadian medical marijuana company Aurora Cannabis and runs his own CBD business Game Up Nutrition.
But sports star still have to be careful because although in the UK legal CBD Hemp products contain less than 0.2% of THC (the cannabinoid that makes you high) there is still the risk that over time the THC levels could build up in the body. In fact, the UK Anti Doping Agency has already said that using CBD is “at the athlete’s own risk”.
It’s a problem that UK CBD brand fourfivecbd are aiming to help resolve. Started by two ex Rugby players Dom Day and George Kruis who incorporated CBD into their fitness regimes whilst playing, they have developed the World’s first certified CBD hemp oil product range that has 0% THC. The products were specifically developed for athletes - both professional and amateur - and are designed to help maintain an active lifestyle. The range includes high grade CO2 extracted CBD oils, balms and capsules.
The reason CBD is thought to be an effective tool in post sports activity is that every time we do a physical activity, our body breaks itself down in order to build itself back up. This causes our body’s immune system to heal itself which results in the muscle soreness we often feel. CBD is reported to help reduce inflammation in muscles and tissue as well as reduce pain.
Studies show that there is a close relationship between the EndoCannabinoid System and intense cardiovascular activity. The ‘runner’s high’ sensation experienced after strenuous exercise has always been attributed to an increase in endorphins. However, studies on animals and humans after extended cardiovascular exercise have shown that there is actually a spike in the Endocannabinoid Anandamide, which appears to correlate with feelings of increased wellbeing. CBD is known to inhibit the production of the enzyme that is responsible for breaking down Anandamide within the body and as Anandamide has a pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory effect we can see how it could help in aiding the recovery process after exercise.
As for taking CBD pre-workout there aren’t as many studies out there as for post workout but two 2017 studies by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCIB) found that CBD lowers blood pressure and acts as a vasorelaxant meaning it reduces the tension in blood vessel walls.
Body builders take vasorelaxants before working out to increase blood flow and Dr Andrew Kerklaan, a doctor who has developed his own Dr Kerklaan Theapeutics range of CBD creams says that CBD can be used pre-workout stating that it can help reduce the likelihood of injuries and “improves performance as a result of improved muscle tension and pain”. Studies have also shown that CBD can help combat feelings of nausea and sickness during intense physical training and muscle spasms.
CBD for sports recovery is a sector of the overall CBD market that is already growing in the UK with more brands developing products specifically targeted at the post sport recovery market.
One of the first UK retailers to stock CBD products, Holland & Barrett has its own range of oils, capsules and CBD-infused muscle balms as well as selected products from US brand Iso-Sport.
Inspired by the experiences of NFL players and MMA fighters who spoke of the amazing results they had experienced by taking CBD, Pure Sport CBD is another range developed by former professional athletes who have created a range of 0%, CBD oils which come in bundles of 3 x 1000mg or 3 x 2000mg.