CBD has broken into the sports nutrition industry in a big way, and it looks set to stay. Athletes in North America, such as Nick and Nate Diaz, are launching their own CBD sports products, and we’re seeing CBD infused hemp protein, heat balm and energy bars. With many major benefits for athletes, backed up by medical research, more and more CBD products are entering the market every day, and could quickly become part of your workout and healthcare routine.
Unfortunately, CBD’s origins mean that negative associations with cannabis (marijuana) often raise questions about whether or not it is legal, or even safe. These misconceptions can pose barriers to people feeling the proven benefits of using CBD, whether for sports performance, recovery, or as an alternative to pain relief medication such as Ibuprofen.
CBD or Cannabidiol is a natural substance found in hemp and cannabis plants, with proven medicinal benefits for sufferers of epilepsy, anxiety, ASL, arthritis and more. It is distinct from THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis which causes the feeling of being “high”, and rarely has negative side effects.
The good news is that in the UK, pure CBD is completely legal. This means that CBD can be bought and sold only as long as it does not contain THC. Pure CBD is defined as CBD derived from EU approved industrial hemp which contains less than 0.2%THC.
What about sports doping?
In January 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released its updated list of prohibited substances, and did not include CBD. This means that CBD is safe to use during professional sports events and will not be deemed an artificial improvement of your abilities. However, it is worth bearing in mind that while CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, cannabis use is still illegal in the UK and THC is a prohibited substance, so only certified CBD only products should be used.
Is CBD Addictive?
A 2019 study in the UK found that some people who would never try using CBD worry that the treatment will lead to cannabis addiction. The truth is that no, CBD is not addictive. This is a misconception which is damaging to the efforts of medical professionals arguing for CBD as a credible treatment, and to the health of people in need of an effective medication for debilitating conditions such as epilepsy and an alternative to addictive opioid medications. As CBD is a pure oil derived from hemp, containing none of the psychoactive compounds which produce a feeling of being “high” when using cannabis, it is not an addictive substance.
In fact, there is compelling scientific evidence suggesting that CBD may be effective in treating the symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. Its calming properties can reduce the cravings, stress and anxiety brought on by withdrawal in those suffering from addiction.
Who is using CBD?
In 2019, a study by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis showed there are 1.3 million regular users of CBD in the UK, and that between 8-11% of UK adults, approximately 6 million people, have used CBD products in the year since July 2018. People use CBD to treat a range of medical conditions such as arthritis, kidney failure and epilepsy. It is also used for pain relief, as a treatment for depression and anxiety, and for its nutritional benefits.
Among sports players and athletes, CBD has broken free of its previous association with cannabis and become known as a natural product with multiple benefits, particularly for pain relief. In North America, CBD is becoming a popular alternative to opiate painkillers such as codeine, fentanyl, or oxycodone, which are highly addictive. These drugs are still regularly prescribed by US doctors, despite increased awareness of the prevalence of opiate addiction and its associated social consequences. In the UK, ibuprofen is a more common go-to painkiller, but it is not without problems. Regular use of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) over a long time can lead to kidney problems and increased risk of heart failure.
CBD is a natural alternative pain reliever which has been used in some form for thousands of years, and has not been linked to any serious health conditions. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to impact two types of cell receptors, CB1 in the brain and CB2 in the immune system. The response generated by these cells when CBD is taken creates anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects straight away, making CBD a beneficial treatment for those with post-workout aches and pains.
Former NFL player, Terrell Davis, said in an interview with TMZ sports that if he had been able to take CBD oil when playing, his career would not have been cut short by injury.
“Any time you can help your body heal – you can take out the swelling, the inflammation and you can do it in a way that’s natural – I feel like absolutely it would have assisted in that.’
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties have proven to be particularly useful for those who specialise in contact sports such as rugby, hockey, american football, boxing and martial arts. It also has clear benefits for non-contact athletes, professional or not, whose workouts and regimes are often intense and can lead to stiffness and pain. Using CBD after workouts can help your body recover quickly while your metabolism is still naturally raised, firing up the ECS to reduce the impact of your exercise while you cool down. CBD’s nutritional components even assist the body in absorbing salts and electrolytes lost during exercise, aiding in effective rehydration, and can help you sleep better if your workouts are often late at night.
Does CBD have any side effects?
CBD doesn’t pose any significant risk for users, and has been confirmed as safe to use. Some minor side effects have been reported in a few cases. These are:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Changes in appetite/weight
These side effects most often occur with quick increases in dosage and stop when the dose is stable again. If you are experiencing any of these side effects, try lowering the amount of CBD you are taking or waiting it out a week for your body to adjust.
CBD may interact with other medications, and should be avoided if you are taking anything labelled with a “grapefruit warning”, as like grapefruit, CBD occupies certain enzymes required for processing these medicines and stop them from working properly. There is very little research on use during pregnancy, but as yet it is biologically and historically plausible that there are no adverse effects.
Endo Sport CBD Sports drink is a no-fuss, easy way to integrate CBD use into your healthcare and fitness routine. The CBD is infused in the drink, so you don’t need any special equipment or oil droppers, and you don’t need to worry about dosage. As the CBD is directly ingested without the barrier of a capsule, it is absorbed more quickly by the body, giving you the benefits straight away.
With the growing trend of CBD sports products, unscrupulous traders might try to reduce costs using alternative sources, which may use pesticides or contain high levels of THC. As such only trusted sports brands like Endo Sport should be used for safe and legal CBD use. Endosport only uses CBD oil derived from an EU-approved strain of industrial hemp. It is fully legal, and can be used by professional athletes without putting themselves at risk during doping tests.
So yes, CBD products are definitely legal, safe and beneficial for athletes. To discover how CBD can improve your workout you can browse our website, or try Endo Sport for yourself.