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The legendary University of Oregon track and field coach, and Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” Everyone is capable of performing to his or her highest athletic capability.
But what happens when the athlete’s most valuable asset, his or her own body, is worn down? How can an athlete recover from pushing the limits? The answer may come to some as a surprise. Cannabidiol (CBD) is taking the sports recovery world by storm and looks to be the next big thing for athletes’ recovery.
CBD is one of 104 compounds found in cannabis. The main psychoactive chemical is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the sensation of getting “high” that most associate with marijuana. However, CBD is not a psychoactive chemical, making it an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana. Once extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD oil is diluted with a carrier like coconut or hemp seed oil, making it safe and effective for recovery use. CBD carries many health benefits just as prescription drugs do, but without the highly addictive opioid drugs that can cause serious injury or death if taken in excess.
CBD oils boast the benefit of pain relief, reducing anxiety and depression, reduce acne, aid neurological disorders and benefit heart health. According to a study conducted by Hemp Journal, 34% of CBD users reported improvements in their mental or behavioral health. Thirteen percent said CBD improved their quality of sleep. In most cases, there are four ways to use CBD oil as a recovery method: tinctures, concentrates, topicals, sprays, and vapes. Tinctures are the most common, taken orally by placing a few drops under your tongue and letting the oil absorb into capillaries or tiny blood vessels. Concentrates are similar to Tinctures, but typically contain stronger dosages that are taken orally. CBD topicals, such as lotions and lip balms, are meant to help directly with muscle or joint-related issues. Just apply generously to the skin of the sore area. Oral CBD sprays typically contain lower concentration levels and are sprayed directly into your mouth. Lastly, inhaling vaporized CBD just requires a vape pen.
While still a relatively new wellness supplement, CBD is gaining popularity in the sports market among athletes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which maintains a list of approved and banned substances for the International Olympic Committee, makes a clear exception for the use of CBD by its Olympic athletes. Other leagues such as the NFL are still in talks over allowing the supplement to be used by its players, but all signs point toward mass approval in the near future, and for good measure. Former Super Bowl Champion Marvin Washington says there’s an issue with players being forced to take prescription drugs over CBD supplements. “From anti-inflammatories and painkillers to Ambien… whatever it is. The leagues are poisoning their players,” Washington states. “The future of professional sports lies in non-toxic, non-addictive substances like CBD.”