Anyone involved in sports knows that the risks of injury can be quite high. Contact sports like hockey, football, boxing, or mixed martial arts and extreme sports, a category of sports that includes snowboarding, in-line skating, mountain biking, skateboarding, tend to see their athletes constantly dealing with injuries. All of these activities share in common that they are very demanding and require a special skill level to avoid getting hurt. But even the top athletes in the world are not immune to injury, not to mention fatigue that can interfere with performance.
Athletes must take exceptional care of their bodies to handle the constant strain and demands of these activities. More athletes are incorporating CBD into their daily routines as a natural means for proper support. The properties of the hemp plant, including its dominant compound CBD (cannabidiol), may offer an array of uses to those who engage in these demanding physical tasks.
We will break down the unique properties of CBD that researchers over the last several years have studied. Also, we will offer some tips for incorporating CBD into your extreme sports lifestyle.
What Does the Hemp Plant Have to do with Sports?
What makes CBD unique is that it’s a cannabinoid, a type of compound found in cannabis Sativa, to which hemp belongs. Cannabinoids behave in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors that belong to the endocannabinoid system, a unique body system in charge of maintaining homeostasis. Cannabinoid receptors are present in each body system, and they correlate to certain bodily tasks to regulate their functions. Therefore, cannabidiol works in a systematic way to promote overall balance throughout the body and mind.
Now, as mentioned earlier, CBD has been studied quite a bit over the last several years. Researchers are starting to understand better how this compound works, but research into specific uses is still very preliminary. Let’s take a closer look here at some of the common issues facing athletes.
Inflammation is an immune response that causes cytokines to flood areas of the body that are injured, resulting in swelling, tenderness, and pain. Inflammation can become severe to the point that certain body areas become immobilized, and the pain can become unbearable.
Inflammation is nothing new to many athletes, as the physical demands of these activities can injure joint and muscle tissue. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries are fairly common. A vast number of studies have shown a connection between CBD and anti-inflammatory activity, but more research is needed to confirm. Cannabidiol can be taken internally for a more widespread distribution or applied topically to target an area in a more concentrated way.
Many of the most experienced athletes overlook the importance of the recovery process following a training session or intense physical exertion. We all tend to underestimate just how brutal the demands we put on our bodies can be and how much the body requires a good deal of rest to heal itself following exertion. When we rest our bodies, our natural healing processes can kick in to repair damaged muscle tissue, regulate the nervous system and restore our energy levels.
Because of how the endocannabinoid system utilizes cannabinoids, some of the compounds in hemp may help support the body’s recovery process. CBD can support the endocannabinoid system in regulating all of the above functions in a more efficient manner. This is why many athletes take CBD following their training regimens, which allows the cannabidiol to work hard when the body is trying to repair itself.
One of the more concerning things that can happen in the world of sports is a head injury. Activities like skateboarding, BMX, and those of a similar nature can lead to falls that can injure the head and potentially cause a concussion.
Preliminary Research available at PubMed.gov shows that “CBD has been shown to influence the blood-brain barrier, brain-derived neurotrophic factors, cognitive capacity, the cerebrovasculature, cardiovascular physiology, and neurogenesis, all of which have been shown to be altered by concussion. Therefore, CBD can potentially provide treatment to enhance neuroprotection by reducing inflammation, regulating cerebral blood flow, enhancing neurogenesis, and protecting the brain against reactive oxygen species. Double-blind, randomized controlled trials are still required to validate the use of CBD as medication following mild TBIs, such as concussion.”
Sports go hand in hand with pressure, as the pressure to perform well to win is always looming. This can create a good deal of stress, as a constant high-pressure environment can cause cortisol levels to be elevated. Stress can also directly interfere with performance, as high cortisol levels take away important resources from the brain that maintain energy throughout the day.
There have been many findings over the years that support the notion that CBD can offer calming properties by regulating cortisol production in the brain. These calming effects do not typically manifest as grogginess or lethargy, but it’s important to monitor your individual response to supplementing with cannabinoids.
There is no doubt that extreme sports are very demanding on the body. If an athlete’s energy levels are lacking, performance can be seriously inhibited. The nature of these sports is that they take a lot of energy to perform due to how much the body exerts itself.
Multiple studies have shown that cannabidiol could potentially regulate energy levels by supporting energy homeostasis, which is the body’s natural energy regulator that allows energy levels to peak during the day and taper off in the evening.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Hemp as an Athlete
If you’re an athlete who wants to explore the properties of the hemp plant, we recommend doing the following:
- Talk to your doctor first about taking CBD since they have all your medical records and can make a valid determination if cannabidiol is safe for you to try.
- Choose a delivery method that is most suitable to your specific needs. For instance, topicals may be best for dealing with localized issues, while a vaping product could be good for fast-acting relief. Tinctures and edibles are great for recovery, as their long-lasting effects allow the cannabidiol to work for a good portion of the day or night.
- It is ideal to take CBD daily, as this lets the compound accumulate in the body’s endocannabinoid system to become more useful over time, helping your body be in a state of homeostasis.
- Know that CBD products come in various milligram strengths, reflecting the potency level of the product, so consider your unique circumstances when choosing how potent you’d like each dose to be.
- Find a local dispensary or retailer knowledgeable about cannabinoids, how they work, product types, and administration methods. They can help you decide what the best options are for your needs.
Get the Most Out of Playing Extreme Sports with CBD Today!
CBD can be especially useful for extreme sports athletes, given all of the researched properties that we have explored. It is also gentle and natural and great for taking daily to support the endocannabinoid system consistently. Regardless of the activity that you participate in, this compound offers all kinds of effects that can play a role in your performance and your ability to recover and repair following grueling physical exertion.