Our new 600mg CBD isolate drops consist of pure CBD extract, containing absolutely 0% THC and any other chemicals or cannabis compounds. But why does this make them the preferred choice for athletes and sportspeople?
Well, even though in 2018 WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) removed cannabidiol from its prohibited list of substances - finally allowing athletes across the world access to CBD and the benefits it has for the mind and body - THC is still banned.
THC is the compound associated with the "high" of cannabis, and as we all know, athletes are regularly tested for the presence of illegal substances in their systems. If THC is detected, even in negligible amounts as it is found in Broad Spectrum oils, athletes risk being banned or disqualified.
That’s why a dose of pure CBD isolate is ideal, as it has had all of the THC completely removed in the extraction process, ensuring that it would not show up in a doping test - and making it the preferred choice for anyone who is professional sportsperson (or indeed anyone who gets regularly drug tested at their place of work).
So why are athletes turning to CBD in the first place?
Our favourite cannabis compound has quite a few benefits to offer those who are exerting their bodies to the extreme every day. Here are some of the main contenders:
RELIEF OF INFLAMMATION
This is arguably the most significant effect that CBD can offer those who are pushing their bodies to the limit for a living.
Physical exercise causes microscopic damage to a person’s muscle fibres, which results in inflammation in the affected areas. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it alerts the brain to where there is need for repair, and can help to strengthen the body for the future. But too much inflammation can result in strain and injuries, causing long term problems for athletes down the line.
CBD’s power as an anti-inflammatory is possibly its best known benefit, an effect that is thought to be a result of its interaction with cytokines - molecules that work to signal the cells in our body and our brain to respond effectively to inflammation. CBD helps to elevate anti-inflammatory cytokines while inhibiting the pro-inflammatory cytokines, resulting in an appropriately moderated inflammatory response.
Earlier this year, as part of research into CBD for treating coronavirus, the compound was even found to be 3 x more powerful than the traditional prescribed corticosteroid at treating the "cytokine storms" (an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds, cytokines) that are a signature of the virus.
For more on CBD and inflammation, read our blog here.
RELIEF OF PAIN
Naturally CBD’s ability to relieve pain is an important one for athletes who are suffering from tired muscles and strained limbs from their intense training and competing regimes.
Athletes can use CBD both orally (through drops, edibles, beverages and inhalation) and topically (in the form of rubs and lotions, such as the Dr Kerklaan Pain Cream) to relieve the daily discomfort and inflammation they sustain.
Part of this effect is due to the aforementioned anti-inflammatory effect reducing swelling and soreness, but part of it is also thought to be related to CBD’s ability to decrease sensitivity and perception to pain.
A study from way back in 2012 found CBD to have the effect of suppressing neuropathic and inflammatory pain through its targeting of a3 glycine receptors, while another study from 2017 showed that CBD helps to moderate the body’s pain response by interacting with receptors in the brain that stop sensory neurons from detecting pain.
ALTERNATIVE TO NSAIDS & OPIOIDS
In this way, CBD presents itself as an excellent natural alternative to the pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medications (such as NSAIDS) and painkillers (such as opioids) that are traditionally taken for the same purpose.
The side effects of these medications are cause for serious concern, as they include things like increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and renal failure (NSAIDs) as well as the potential formation of a chronic dependency or addiction (opioids).
Athletes are straining their bodies on a day-to-day basis and so are continuously trying to relieve their pain and inflammation - therefore standing a far greater risk of suffering from these side effects than a regular person.
That’s why CBD is a great choice instead - it is completely non-addictive, it is not possible to suffer an overdose from it, and it has no commonly reported negative side effects.
It is often said that an athlete’s recovery time is equally important to their success as their actual performance - which is why CBD’s ability to improve the quantity and quality for a person’s sleep is an attractive benefit to sportspeople.
CBD reduces anxiety, stress and pain, which are thought to be some of the root causes of disrupted sleep, and all three are understandably factors that come into play for those competing in big sporting events.
A 2019 study set out to explore the effect of administering CBD to a group of 72 patients with primary concerns of anxiety or poor sleep. Their sleep and anxiety was tracked every month with results that speak for themselves. 78% of the patients indicated significantly decreased anxiety scores and 67% experiencing vastly improved sleep.
The balancing “homeostasis” effect of CBD on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is also thought to give it the capacity to regulate a person’s circadian rhythm (their sleep/wake cycle).
Yet another reason why CBD is powerful ammunition in the arsenal of athletes everywhere, advocated by many past and present sportspeople including Mike Tyson, Gabby Douglas, Bubba Watson, Nate Diaz, Rob Gronkowski, Elias Theodorou and many more.