• Ayush Thej, MSc
  • Knowledge Base
This article was medically reviewed by certified health experts

CBD For Athletes: Can CBD Enhance Athletic Performance?

Evidence Based 
Athletes put their bodies through a lot. Every time the body is put through some kind of strenuous physical activity, muscles tear and break down. The body does this naturally so fat dissolves and muscles can grow back bigger and better than before. Unfortunately, this process can lead to inflammation, pain, sleeplessness and sometimes injury. Some athletes use pharmaceutical medications to ease their pain, but many are turning to a more natural alternative – CBD.

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Before we get into the details of why athletes are turning to CBD, we wanted to let you know about a company called CBDPure. Here at HerbMighty, we’re constantly testing CBD products every week. Although there are some great companies out there, we have been really impressed with CBDPure and the quality of their products.

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Also, CBDPure is the only CBD company that provides a 90 day money back guarantee. If you don’t see any positive results, you can request a full refund. No other CBD brand offers this sort of quality assurance on their products.

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CBD For Athletes

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by cannabis plants. It doesn’t have any psychoactive effects like marijuana-produced THC does. Instead of interacting with the brain in a way that causes a “high”, CBD works with several important systems to keep the body working smoothly. Here at HerbMighty, we’ve covered the topic of CBD and the best cbd oils several times in the past so we’ll try not to repeat the same information again.

As you know, CBD has been shown to help:

  • Decrease inflammation
  • Heal muscles and reduce spasms
  • Sooth chronic pain
  • Reduce sleeplessness
  • Relax the mix
  • Cut down on nausea and vomiting

More and more athletes are using CBD before and after hard workouts to help their bodies relax, recover and rejuvenate.

athletes using cbd

Can CBD Enhance Athletic Performance?

CBD is becoming popular among those in high-impact, high-risk sports such as mixed martial arts, football, and triathlons.

Previously CBD was closely associated with THC, and its effects on the body were somewhat mysterious to the general public. Because of this, CBD was listed as a “banned” substance for many years by USADA.

Athletes speaking out against the ban and researchers bringing light to CBD’s health benefits led to the substance being removed from the USADA ban list at the beginning of 2018 (1).

Here are some popular athletes who believe in CBD and its natural therapeutic properties.

  • Nate Diaz – UFC Fighter

UFC fighter Nate Diaz was one of the first athletes to publicly use CBD and fight against USADA requirements. He later received a public warning from USADA (2).

“It helps with the healing process, inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place,” Diaz said after vaping CBD at a 2016 post-fight press conference.

  • Leonard Marshall – Retired NFL Player

Retired NFL player Leonard Marshall is also an outspoken advocate of CBD use among athletes. After years of concussions led to post-retirement brain damage, Marshall said using CBD improved his memory and helped him control his behavior. He told the press during an interview that he sees CBD as a great alternative to prescription pain and depression medications (3).

Leonard Marshall CBD

  • Ross Rebagilati  – Canadian Olympian

Canadian Olympian Ross Rebagilati nearly lost his gold medal from the 1996 winter Olympics when he tested positive for having a small amount of marijuana in his system (4). He has advocated for the use of both marijuana and CBD products since.

“CBD is one of the most effective substances for treating inflammatory issues, aches and pains caused by the physical punishment world-class athletes must readily endure to train and compete at a high level,” Rebagilati said during an interview (5).

Other high-profile athletes who use CBD include mountain biker Teal Stetson-Lee, ultrarunner Avery Collins, triathlon athlete Andrew Talansky, UFC fighter Gina Mazany, CrossFit athlete Brooke Ence and NFL player Derrick Morgan, among others.

The Best CBD Brands

CBD is absorbed in different rates and at higher or lower concentrations depending on how it is taken.

Vaping CBD is typically considered the fastest way to take in the substance. When CBD is vaped, it is absorbed directly into the lungs and bloodstream. This means it can take effect in minutes or even seconds depending on the person. When CBD is vaped, between 30 and 40% is absorbed into the body – making it the most effective way to take CBD.

The 3 most popular CBD brands athletes seem to be using are CBD Pure, cbdMD, and Green Roads World. The HerbMighty team have reviewed all of these brands already, and you can read our thoughts and findings inside our best CBD oils guide.

How To Use CBD Products

CBD can also be taken through tinctures, capsules, creams or even edibles such as CBD gummies and brownies. There are even CBD shots on the market made to boost energy before a workout or relax the muscles afterward.

Tinctures are taken by placing a small amount of oil beneath the tongue where it is held for several seconds before swallowing. Tinctures are absorbed through the mucus membrane in the mouth allowing CBD to hit the bloodstream directly. Tinctures can take effect within 15 minutes and up to 35% of CBD is absorbed.

how to take cbd oil

Edibles and capsules are easy and quick to take. They pass through the digestive system before being absorbed. It takes a little longer for edibles and capsules to be absorbed, but once they are, they can last up to eight hours. Between 6 and 15% of CBD is absorbed by edibles.

When vaping, eating or using a tincture for CBD, the compound is absorbed internally and has several positive effects on both the mind and body. However, CBD can also be taken via a salve, lotion or cream for targeted, topical relief.

Applied topically, CBD can reduce inflammation, alleviate muscle soreness, sooth irritated, itchy skin, alleviate joint pain and act as an antioxidant.

To shop our full range of CBD products, including edibles, creams, and capsules, visit the HerbMighty Shop by clicking here.

vaping CBD

Cannabinoids & Recovery Time

The healing effects cannabinoids such as CBD have on the body have been studied time and again (6).

Researchers have found that cannabinoids interact with a system within the body called the endocannabinoid system, which is necessary for the body to maintain homeostasis. Cannabinoids interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system to improve the body’s recovery process. CB1 receptors are associated with the central nervous system while CB2 receptors work within lateral systems such as the immune system (7).

When CBD and other cannabinoids are absorbed into the body, they interact with these receptors to reduce inflammation, inhibit cell proliferation, reduce nausea and vomiting, relax muscles to promote healing, reduce the rate of muscle spasms, change the way pain receptors respond to injuries and chronic pain, and help relax the mind for a full night’s sleep.

cbd oil for sleep

CBD even travels into other systems to interact with vanilloid pain receptors and serotonin receptors to reduce pain and help those with anxiety and depression (8).

Final Thoughts & Summary

In summary, CBD can have significant healing effects when taken before, during or after exercising or doing strenuous activities. Major athletes across the United States and the rest of the world have discovered CBD as a healthy, effective, natural alternative to pain killers and prescription drugs.

With so many CBD products on the market, it can be quite tricky and confusing finding the right one for your requirements. For best results, we recommend starting with CBD oil.

HerbMighty’s #1 Recommended CBD Product:

Best CBD Product For Athletic Performance: CBD Pure

If you're an athlete looking for a legal, natural and organic supplement to aid with your athletic performance, we recommend CBD Pure. They offer effective CBD products, great customer support and a 90-day money back guarantee.

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