Not so long ago, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of illegal substances athletes are prohibited to use. For an industry that used to treat CBD the same as stimulants and narcotics, this is a huge step that no only allows athletes to use CBD to treat various health conditions, but also talk freely about it and advocate for its benefits.
CBD can be beneficial not only from a physical health point of view, but also from a mental health one. Athletes can use it to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, accelerate the healing process, ease off anxiety and help with traumatic brain injuries or PTSD.
Ever since the WADA’s decision back in 2018, more and more fighters have started to openly talk about using CBD. Nate Diaz, Jon “Bones” Jones, and Michael Johnson are just a few names worth mentioning. But even they admit that, despite CBD being now legal to use, the practice is often frowned upon. That’s because there is still a lot of misinformation laying around, which prevents people from understanding that CBD has a real potential to help athletes.
The keys to normalizing CBD use are understanding exactly what this compound does and, most importantly, understanding how demanding combat sports can actually be.
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Even though CBD has become the buzz of the wellness industry, there is a lot of misinformation spreading around. Some believe CBD will get them high, others fear using it will show on a drug test, and some even believe it will get them addicted the same way opioids do.
The spread of misinformation can only be stopped by improving CBD education and presenting people with facts rather than suppositions.
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. This means it can be derived from both the cannabis and hemp plant. But what’s the difference?
To put it simply, the main difference between CBD that comes from the hemp plant and CBD that comes from the cannabis plant is the rest of the compounds it can contain. CBD derived from the hemp plant contains little to no traces of THC (under 0.3%), whereas CBD derived from the marijuana plant can contain higher traces of THC. One good example of isolate CBD that does not contain THC is CBD isolate from OCN.
While THC can actually boost the effects of CBD, it can also show in a drug test, and athletes can not afford to let this happen. This is why most of them use product that only contain CBD and other terpenes that are non-psychoactive.
In terms of health benefits, there is a long list of issues CBD can help with, including:
- Pain management
- Anxiety and depression
- Boosting immunity
- Aiding neurological diseases
- Addiction treatment
- Maintaining focus
- Sleeping and resting better
A look at the demands of combat sports
Having a clear idea of what CBD does is very important, but in order to understand how it can help fighters and boxers, we must take a look at this incredibly demanding sport.
Obviously, most demands of combat sports are physical. To keep in shape, fighters have extensive workout routines that start early in the morning, usually with a light run. After breakfast, they need to go in for their first hard training session of the day, which usually takes around 2 hours. A few hours after their first session, they will come back to the gym for the second workout of the day. These sessions include strength and stamina exercises, as well as sparring and discipline training.
While these training sessions are meant to help the athlete push to achieve their best form, recovery is also very important. The athlete’s diet and resting schedule play an important part in the recovery process, as they help the body adapt to the physical challenges fighters always have to go through.
Besides physical demands, there is also a big psychological aspect to combat sports. When you step into the ring, victory is the only thing you want to achieve, and that can put a lot of stress on a fighter. Many fighters have clearly stated their mind often helped them pull out a victory when, physically, they seemed to have no chance of winning.
Being able to maintain focus and manage the pressure of a fight is what can separate winners from losers.
How can CBD help fighters?
By putting together what we learned above, it gets easy to see how CBD can help fighters achieve their best shape and pull out win after win. However, it is worth taking a closer look at what CBD can do for boxers and fighters:
Getting better sleep
As we mentioned before, sleep is an important part of the body’s recovery process, especially when it has to undergo constant physical challenges. The body’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a number of bodily functions, including sleep. Using CBD can help fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
CBD is known for being effective in alleviating both inflammation and pain. And when you have to get in the ring and fight someone that is just as strong as you, there is going to be a lot of pain and inflammation going around. Stimulating the endocannabinoid system boosts the anti-inflammatory process and relieves pain.
CBD has tremendous abilities to help us fight pain, muscle soreness, and inflammation. When you have to train for several hours a day, nearly every day, CBD topical creams can turn out to become your best friend. And not only for professional athletes, but for anyone after a tough day at the gym.
Protecting the brain
CBD is known for having neuroprotective effects, helping the brain cells recover from trauma. In the world of combat sports, blunt trauma is bound to happen, and the central nervous system needs al the aid it can get to overcome it.
Avoiding harmful medication
Prescription painkillers are known to have some nasty side effects, including liver problems, stomach ulcers and addiction. For many years, however, this type of medication was athletes’ only option. Now, CBD can help with pain relief and other medical issues without having to deal with harming adverse effects.