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Athletically skilled people are often thought of as being in peak physical condition. Regular workouts and increased cardiovascular activity play a crucial role in staying healthy. As with all things, however, it’s important to maintain a sensible balance. Anyone who’s been put out by a sports injury knows there’s a fine line between pushing yourself to the top of your game and being stuck on the bench or the couch. Maybe cannabidiol could help athletes better maintain that balance?

There are already a number of CBD products that are specially marketed to athletes and individuals with more active lifestyles. CBD has also gotten many endorsements from players, sports medicine care providers, and other professions. Apart from moving product and leveraging the CBD trend among so many other athletic supplements, is there anything unique about cannabidiol for use as a pre or post-game aid? What are the benefits of CBD oil when you’re an athlete?

CBD’s Sport Benefits

CBD’s athletic benefits are fairly consistent with its general potential properties of fighting inflammation, promoting more balanced sleep, relieving pain, and reducing anxiety. For athletes who might otherwise rely on large quantities of NSAIDs, opioids, and other drugs to control inflammation and pain on a regular basis, CBD oil might provide an alternative that’s effective and considered safer.

CBD may be useful for athletes who are dealing with a chronic injury or long-term pain issue, but it may not be as effective for an isolated or acute injury. Researchers are still working to understand how CBD affects acute pain and temporary injury, but so far there is little support for CBD working better than standard OTC medicines, ice, heat, elevation, and rest to recover from something like a sprained ankle or pulled muscle.

For the aspiring athlete, who hasn’t been able to get active because of a chronic pain condition, CBD may provide enough relief to enable increased activity. If you have a spinal injury, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or other condition that’s kept you from simply going for a walk or jog, the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits could provide a bridge to restoring more physical mobility. However, it’s very important to discuss your limitations and abilities with your doctor. As many athletes know, it can be very easy to over-extend yourself in the moment and seriously pay for it later.

The potential to reduce anxiety and fight insomnia can be relevant for athletes, particularly those who suffer from performance anxiety or find their workout regime or competition schedule has interfered with their ability to get proper rest. Additionally, other athletic supplements can carry side effects that disrupt sleep patterns and the ability to regulate anxiety, whereas CBD has been shown to better balance these functions.

What To Know Before You Buy And Try

There are a few things to naturally be concerned about if you’re thinking of using CBD for athletic benefits or any reason. Will CBD test positive when an organization checks for substances like drugs or steroids? Can it disqualify you from competitions or programs? Are CBD sports drinks, workout supplements, and other products safe?

With regard to CBD and drug testing, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of banned substances in early 2018. Most drug or doping tests will usually not look for CBD as a standout substance in the same way it may check for THC, anabolic agents, growth factors, and other drugs. This can vary by individual organization, but CBD is no longer classified as a dangerous substance in the U.S. per the 2018 Farm Bill.

Quality, safety, and effectiveness of CBD sports drinks, supplements, additives, and other products can be less defined. CBD products are not currently regulated beyond the standards of the individual manufacturer. As a result, mislabeling, varied contents, inconsistent quality and purity, and other issues do affect the cannabidiol industry. Products marketed to athletes are no exception.

This is why it’s beneficial to look beyond the labeling and the celebrity endorsements to check for CoAs (certificates of analysis), processing methods, plant sources, and other details before buying any single CBD product or brand. Avoid any seller that seems to put the flashy ahead of the factual. Avoid products that claim CBD will somehow enhance performance or provide miracle effects; that’s not how cannabidiol works. It may have notable benefits to provide individuals of all levels of physical ability, so if you’re an athlete it could be well worth a try, provided you’ve spoken with a medical professional first and have done your research.