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Last updated: December-29,2021

CBD for Athletes and Sports

CBD is gaining prominence in the sports industry with many top athletes opening up about its various health benefits. What was once a relatively nascent concept, "CBD for athletes" is now on a strong growth path, thanks in large part to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The market for CBD products, whether supplements or topical products such as oils, is expected to skyrocket in the not-too-distant future.

First Things First - Is CBD Legalized for Athletes?

Bubba Watson CBD Quote

Yes, CBD is legalized for athletes. It was excluded from the list of prohibited substances in 2018 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA).

Now, what about the black sheep of the cannabidiol family, THC? As of this writing, it still remains on the list of prohibited substances – same as the synthetic cannabinoids.

The affirmation that CBD can “legally” come to the rescue leads to questions like - How do CBD products like balms, supplements, and oils help athletes? What are its effects on athletic performance? What kind of growth can it achieve in the near future? Are there any athletes who have already reaped the benefits of it?

Please sit back – We've got answers!

How Can CBD Aid Athletic Performance?

  1. CBD has been shown to be an effective cannabinoid for relieving pain as well as inflammation – something that athletes wish to keep at bay.
  2. Anxiety and stress could be factors that affect an athlete's performance – CBD has been shown to have both stress and anxiety-reducing benefits.
  3. Athletes see CBD as a less toxic, natural, and a much safer option to recover from sports injuries.

And Now, The Main Question - How Does CBD Benefit Athletes?

Based on the research we conducted here at NutraScience Labs, here are 5 ways in which CBD supplementation can benefit athletes and their performance.

5 Ways that CBD Can Help Athletes - Infographic

CBD for Muscle-related Ailments and Inflammation

There are two endocannabinoids (2-AG and EAE) produced by our body, and they bind with their respective receptors (CB1 and CB2) to reduce inflammation. CBD stimulates the ECS (Endocannabinoid System) to produce more endocannabinoid and helps ease persistent muscle pain and further reduce inflammation.

Athletes are required to continually perform at their peak, which puts a lot of strain on their muscles and can lead to soreness and cramps.

CBD has shown a natural ability to reduce inflammation and can help in these conditions. CBD oil can be a go-to for athletes to help deal with recurring muscle spasms and muscle pain.

CBD as a Replacement for NSAIDs

Athletes often use opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs for pain relief, but few of them are aware that these “every day” drugs come with a lot of serious side effects. This is where CBD can help – it reduces the dependence on opioids and aids muscle recovery.

CBD for Managing Energy Levels and Fatigue

While working out, we encourage the body to grow.  This means that the body experiences physical stress, which in turn increases the oxidative damage. An increase in oxidative damage can hamper an athlete's performance and slow down their ability to recover. Research conducted has shown that CBD reduces the oxidative damage in athletes and helps them recover faster and perform better – indirectly paving the way for athletes to work out more and enhance their output.

CBD's Role in Weight Management

There are two types of fats: Good fat – the brown one, Bad fat – the white one. If the white fat content in our body increases, we gain weight, on the contrary, the more the brown fat, the less the BMI. So, is there a way we can convert the white fat into brown fat? A study has shown that CBD can help increase the browning of the adipose tissues (white fat).

This might stand as good news for athletes working on maintaining their body weight.

CBD for Stress Relief - Can It Help Athletes?

Vulnerable to injuries, athletes feel the need to stay in the limelight and the pressure to perform, which can tremendously affect their mental health. It is very common for them to face a slump in their performance, and the stress that comes along with it is natural. Depressed mood, anxiety, and pre-game jitters can affect athletic prowess – CBD may be able to help keep these at bay. CBD has been shown to reduce stress hormones and positively affect the body's natural response to stress.

CBD may also be able to help athletes sleep better as poor sleep can hinder athletic performance and recovery.

Are There Any Athletes That Have Reaped the Benefits of CBD?

There is a long string of athletes that have come out to support CBD, for example;

  • Ryan Vanden Bussche – one of the biggest names in the NHL, had a career spanning over 14 years. He suffered from broken bones, surgeries, and more than 20 concussions. He chose CBD over opiates as he was aware of the severe side effects caused by them. Since then, he has openly shared his CBD experience.
  • Riley Cote – The retired NHL winger, after reading the book Hemp for Health turned to CBD, back in 2012. After being in more than 250 hockey fights, he switched to CBD supplements to minimize the health damage caused. It helped him with anxiety, brain health, and get a good night's rest.
  • Bubba Watson – Well-known pro golfer and two-time Masters Champion said that CBD helped him deal with inflammation and sleep better. CBD was a natural fit for him as it eased the rigors of playing professional golf and reduced the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Christian Griffith – He ran for 3,140 miles over a span of three months from New York to San Francisco to support the fight against child abuse – In his YouTube video, he has explained how CBD helped his recovery.

CBD Market Opportunities

Hemp-derived CBD alone is expected to be worth $646 million by 2022. With an increasing number of athletes advocating the use of CBD products, the market is expected to surge as time goes on.

Athletes consume a large number of health and wellness products over their careers. Brand owners that create high-quality supplements that address the physical and cognitive needs of this audience stand to make a name for themselves in the long run.

With over 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience, NutraScience Labs helped thousands of brand owners create their own line of customized and high-quality dietary supplement products - and now we want to do the same for you! For more information on how to get started, call (855) 492-7388 to speak to one of our knowledgeable representatives or send us your request to receive a free supplement manufacturing price quote.

July 10th, 2019

About the Author:

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman is the Vice President of Marketing for NutraScience Labs. In this role, he leverages his 15+ years of B2B inbound marketing experience to develop cutting edge strategies for our firm. A health and fitness enthusiast, Andrew and his team won the 2012 Stevie Award for Marketing Team of the Year. He is also a two-time Best In Biz Silver Award winner for Marketing Executive of the Year and has received other honors and accolades for his website design work.