It’s been a few years since a succession of farm bills catapulted CBD into the spotlight, but this plant compound keeps getting more popular.
That’s a good thing for several reasons, including our collective insight. The more people take CBD, the more data points we have; the more data points we have, the more we can identify patterns that allow our understanding of CBD to grow.
The CBD Insider 2019 US CBD Consumer Report was among the first to dive deep into this data. What it found was pretty amazing: many CBD users are replacing their prescription medications with CBD oil.
Why is this concept so important to athletes?
Because many of the medications athletes are most prone to abusing—opioids, sleep meds, and the like—are among those that CBD can replace most effectively. Here’s what anyone who cares about their health and fitness needs to know.
- The Athlete’s Dilemma: Training Versus Overtraining
- The Athlete’s Best Friend: Sleep
- The Best Type of Supplement for Athletes
- CBD Versus Opioids
The Athlete’s Dilemma: Training Versus Overtraining
Any serious athlete walks a fine line.
On the one hand, they need to stress their system; on the other hand, their body isn’t some invincible machine that can go for miles and miles without any extra care.
You know that old phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Well, it’s only true to a certain point.
But there’s good news: athletes who go past that point may find an ally in CBD.
It’s reported to reduce stress, speed recovery, and switch on endurance-boosting enzymes. And while the athletes of yesterday might’ve taken a slew of different vitamins and supplements in hopes of getting these effects, today’s athletes have a more holistic approach. CBD operates “upstream” of most vitamins and minerals, which means it can affect multiple biological systems.
The Athlete’s Best Friend: Sleep
“If I don’t sleep 11 to 12 hours per day, it’s not right. If I don’t have that amount of sleep, I hurt myself.”
– Roger Federer
Admittedly, there’s something far better for preventing overtraining and helping your body’s innate recovery than CBD. This something is far cheaper, too.
Can you guess what it is? Sleep.
Sleep is one of the most effective types of active recovery because it’s during the sleep cycles that your body regenerates depleted muscle protein glycogen stores, calorie partitioning hormones, and much more. Sleep basically knocks out a bunch of the rate-limiting factors that would normally limit your athletic potential. Sleep is when we recharge our metaphorical batteries.
In the past, however, athletes who wanted better sleep had few side-effect-free options.
But times have changed.
The CBD Insider’s 2019 US CBD Consumer Report revealed that 11.5% of male CBD consumers supplement their sleep medications with CBD, while 7.4% have replaced their sleep medications entirely. Many consumers describe having more vivid dreams, sleeping deeply, and waking up more refreshed.
The implications of this data? Athletes who want to sleep better can now do so without feeling groggy the next morning—or messing up their circadian rhythm—or compromising their liver function.
The Best Type of Supplement for Athletes
The best type of supplement for athletes has long been a subject of debate, both within and outside of the athletic community.
If you distill down all the available research, though, a pretty simple concept begins to come to light: the very best supplements for athletes are those that work with the body’s innate, built-in energy production systems to improve performance from the inside out.
Athletes find such qualities in supplements like adaptogens, nootropics—and CBD.
“[CBD] regulates the [endo]cannabinoid system, and the [end]cannabinoid system is a master regulating system of all other systems,” expert botanist Chris Kilham tells Sensi Magazine.
This means CBD has the potential to empower the body, not just provide band-aid solutions like the drugs we’ll mention next.
CBD Versus Opioids
It’s 2020, which means most people have finally realized opioids aren’t good for you.
Knowledge doesn’t always equate to behavioral change, though, and athletes that have to choose between sitting on the couch or blunting their intra-workout pain with opioids sometimes make the wrong choice.
Hey, we get it. Working out is fun—it can be so rewarding that some neurochemists theorize the desire to exercise was built into our bodies.
Even then, using opioids to push farther is a poor approach. A single day of use can turn into a week of reliance, which turns into a month of dependence, and before you know it, you’ve got full-blown opioid addiction on your hands. Not good.
But data from The CBD Insider’s report implies that even those who find themselves in this type of situation have a way out. According to it, 25% of male CBD users and 16% of female CBD users either supplemented or outright replaced their opioids with CBD.
A 2015 study from The University of Montreal explains what makes this possible: CBD may reduce the neurochemical temptation to use opioids for several weeks post-ingestion. Athletes who start using CBD may find that the lure of opioids begins to slowly fade away, on both physical and mental levels.
Want to See More Findings?
The CBD Insider’s consumer report holds several valuable findings for not only athletes but fitness enthusiasts in general.
To learn more, please see the report here.