Sports, especially activities like running and jumping, put a lot of strain on your body. This can have both good and bad effects. When you train, it helps your body get better and perform well. But if you push too hard, you can hurt yourself and end up with painful injuries. Some ways to manage the pain can be harmful in the long run. That’s why many athletes and fitness fans are trying natural dietary supplements like CBD (short for cannabidiol) to ease their pain. So, is CBD banned in sports?
CBD comes from hemp, and it has not been considered a cheating substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2018. Recently, you can find CBD in various products used before and after workouts. But if you’re an athlete who gets tested for drugs, you should be careful.
Some CBD products claim to have only CBD, but they might also have a little bit of THC, which is a prohibited substance not allowed in sports. Keep reading to understand how the sporting world reacts to vaping or CBD generally.
Is CBD Oil Banned In Sports?
CBD oil is not banned in sports, and it’s not on the list of prohibited substances by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). However, note that some CBD products may contain other substances that are banned in sports. To avoid any issues, athletes and sports enthusiasts are encouraged to use CBD in the form of medical products. Why?
Medical products are better because they undergo strict quality control measures. They are also better purified, and when administered, they come with the added advantage of medical exemption supervision, reducing the risk of liver toxicity.
For athletes who are regularly subjected to drug testing, it might be wise to opt for synthetic versions of CBD to stay on the safe side. Even so, using them cautiously is essential, as they may still contain other banned compounds.
Research indicates that cannabinoids can linger in the body for several days (typically 2-5 days) after consumption of the cannabis plant. Therefore, unless you are using CBD isolate, we recommend refraining from using cannabis products when preparing for a competition. The body needs time to eliminate these cannabinoids. Depending on your usage, a blood test may still detect their metabolites.
Benefits Of CBD For Athletes
Your body has a built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS), where it naturally produces cannabinoids. One of the essential jobs of the ECS is to keep your body in balance by controlling the activity of neurotransmitters.
When you take CBD, you’re essentially giving your ECS a boost. It’s like giving your body an extra dose of its natural cannabinoids, making your ECS work even better.
When you engage in intense physical activities, your body can experience stress, pain, and inflammation. In these situations, your ECS must be working at its best.
That’s why CBD is a great option for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. CBD enhances the effectiveness of your ECS, helping it do its job more efficiently, whether it’s managing pain, reducing inflammation, or maintaining balance in your body. These include:
Inflammation, in small amounts, can benefit athletes. It helps the body adapt quickly, which makes training feel more manageable. However, if inflammation becomes excessive, it can hinder athletes’ speedy recovery and, as a result, affect their performance.
Furthermore, CBD’s interaction with the body, alongside other cannabinoids and adenosine receptors, has demonstrated synthetic cannabinoids can lower cytokine levels and regulate hyperactive immune cells.
Settle Your Gut
Many athletes face a common obstacle that makes them quit races: gut inflammation. Gut inflammation means the small and large intestines become swollen and cause discomfort. But there’s hope! CBD oil might be a solution to ease these gut inflammation problems, whether during training or after.
CBD has strong anti-inflammatory abilities. It can lower the levels of substances that promote inflammation, halt the growth of certain immune cells, cause the natural death of harmful immune cells, and even prevent immune cells from moving around too much.
Improve Sleep Quality
Getting sufficient sleep is crucial for athletes to recover and perform better during training. However, getting quality sleep when you’re tired, sore, or in discomfort can be challenging.
Fortunately, CBD may offer a solution for improving the duration and quality of your sleep. One reason behind CBD’s effectiveness as a sleep aid is its ability to prevent the reabsorption of serotonin, a chemical that encourages sleep.
CBD oil is a popular choice for pain relief. This would come in handy for all athletes, especially those who engage in intense sports like rugby. Besides alleviating pain, it may also help reduce heightened sensitivity to pain and swelling after prolonged exercise. CBD affects the central nervous system, promoting relaxation.
THC is another option for pain relief, but it can bring about unwanted side effects such as impaired coordination, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and decreased physical performance, all of which can impact an athlete’s abilities. Additionally, having THC in an athlete’s system can lead to severe issues with WADA compliance.
Alternative To NSAIDs
Sports can lead to injuries, and athletes often turn to NSAIDs for relief. However, these medicines can bring about unwanted side effects if used too much.
When athletes use NSAIDs for a long time, their bodies get used to them. This means they might have to take higher doses to ease the pain. But, using NSAIDs too much can cause kidney problems, heart attacks, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even strokes.
Alternative To Opioids
Opioids are powerful pain relievers like Codeine, Morphine, and OxyContin, but they have a dark side. They’re very addictive because they can make you feel really good and relaxed. Some folks use opioids just to get that pleasurable feeling.
Now, there’s something else called CBD oil. It might not be as strong as opioids for easing pain, but it does the job without causing any harmful side effects. Plus, you can use CBD by itself or alongside other pain medicines, especially for long-term pain, and you won’t get hooked on it.
It can lower their cravings for drugs and even make some of the problems caused by drug use, like pain and anxiety, better.
The Challenges Of CBD In Sports Nutrition
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) made a significant change by removing CBD from its list of prohibited competition substances for athletes seeking to enhance their performance.
One such cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which shares similarities with THC in terms of its effects. However, it is essential to note that THCV does not induce psychoactive effects and holds promise for the development of therapeutic solutions for weight management and diabetes.
Considering the uncertain legal status of various cannabis compounds, it is advisable to exercise caution when considering the use of CBD products, particularly if their source is questionable.
How Can Athletes Minimize The Risk Of Doping Violations?
To excel at the highest level, you need to maintain your body in excellent shape, all while avoiding substances that can enhance performance or lead to anti-doping rule violations. It’s like walking a tightrope.
One way to have student-athletes navigate this tricky situation is to understand the rules about cannabinoids and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). To make it crystal clear, all prohibited cannabinoids (except CBD) and other compounds from marijuana are not allowed in competitions.
If you need to do cannabis use or CBD products, here’s how you can reduce the risk of getting into trouble:
- Choose CBD products that a third party has independently tested.
- Make sure you have the certification for the CBD product. This certification includes examining the manufacturing process, the product’s quality, and a check to ensure accurate labeling.
- Examine the product’s certificate of analysis (CoA).
Purchase your CBD products only from approved CBD brands. Leafreport is a highly regarded online reviewer of CBD products and can be a valuable resource for making safe choices.
While CBD legal has been removed from WADA’s prohibited list of performance-enhancing substances, it’s important to use it carefully. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before purchasing CBD oil or supplements. This is because pure CBD extract can interact with other medications, in addition to the usual concerns about doping.