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CBD for Athletes

Dino Sher provides an overview of the benefits of CBD oil for athletes.

CBD, or cannabidiol, has found its way into the mainstream and it has not gone unnoticed in the world of professional sports. A growing body of research and reports of satisfied users suggest that CBD is on its way to replacing over-the-counter medicines. There are numerous health benefits associated with CBD consumption, from reducing pain to treating mental health disorders.

Its medicinal properties make it an ideal supplement for athletes, as it helps to enhance sports recovery and performance. It does so at no cost to the body and the mind. CBD is 100% natural, safe for use, and does not cause dependency. This article provides an overview of the relevant information to those who are professional athletes and are considering taking CBD as a supplement.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the 100+ naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the hemp or cannabis plant. It is closely related to another cannabinoid, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Both compounds have medicinal properties, however, unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive substance, and it does not cause the high that THC does. CBD is a safe, 100% organic, non-addictive substance with potent therapeutic properties, which makes it an appealing alternative to traditional medication.

What are the health benefits of CBD?

CBD is potent medicine, used to treat a variety of chronic and acute medical conditions and to improve and preserve overall well-being. These qualities make it an excellent choice for athletes.

CBD is used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, which might be particularly useful for athletes. It helps speed up the workout recovery by suppressing the main contributors to inflammation, swelling, and soreness. Unlike other anti-inflammatory medicines, CBD does not harm the stomach lining.

CBD has shown to be effective in reducing pain resulting from intense exercise. The evidence suggests that CBD does not cause dependency, making it a great alternative to over-the-counter medication used to treat pain. Additionally, CBD influences a system that calms the body down, making it a powerful muscle relaxant.

CBD helps enhance sports performance by alleviating anxiety, which is a common issue many athletes face given the intense pressure to perform in training and competition. It helps reduce both chronic and acute stress, and it does so without any mental downsides.

It is well-known that quality sleep is critical for athletes as it allows for muscle recovery. Athletes using CBD report not only ease in falling asleep but also an improved quality of sleep. As is the case with the over-the-counter medication used to treat pain, unlike sleep medications out on the market, CBD does not cause dependency.

Is CBD legal for athletes?

At the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances. This marked an important step, given the many benefits athletes can enjoy from using CBD as a supplement. While CBD is no longer banned, other natural and synthetic cannabinoids are.

Will CBD show up on a drug test?

There are three necessary tests used by anti-doping organizations: urine tests, blood tests, and hair follicle tests. All of those look for traces of THC-COOH in the body, which is a by-product when THC is metabolized. If the test reads positive for THC-COOH, a secondary Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) test is carried out. GC/MS is more accurate and accounts for the margin of error in the preliminary test.

Most CBD products derived from hemp contain minute traces of THC. If large doses of CBD are taken, the preliminary test will likely read positive for THC. The secondary GC/MS test would still, however, read negative. Taking CBD-based products with a higher concentration of THC increases the probability that tests will read positive. To minimize the chances of positive reading, CBD products made with pure CBD isolate should be used.

When should athletes use CBD?

Some users might experience the positive effects of CBD the very first time they take it, while for others, it might take some time. CBD builds up in the body over time, just like other cannabinoids. To maintain its positive effects, CBD should be used consistently and be made a part of everyday routine. Developing a habit of taking CBD will help keep an endless amount of it in the system, which brings overall balance to the body and the mind.

How is CBD consumed?

A variety of CBD products are available on the market and choosing which product depends not only on what it is used for in the first place but also on the personal preferences of the consumer.

CBD oil is the most popular CBD-based product on the market. It is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and diluting it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil.

The reason why CBD oil is more popular than other CBD products is that it can be consumed in multiple ways:

  • sublingually, by placing a few drops of it under the tongue
  • topically, by applying it directly on the skin
  • ingestion, by adding it to food as a cooking ingredient

CBD capsules are made in a similar way to CBD oils whereby CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and suspended in a gel capsule. They are orally ingested like any other pill or capsule. They allow for discrete intake and come with precise dosage.

CBD edibles are CBD-infused foods and drinks. They are the most discreet way of CBD consumption. CBD edibles are easy to make, which is why there is a wide variety of products available on the market.

CBD topicals are CBD-infused ointments that are applied directly to the skin of the target area. Much like other CBD-based products, CBD cosmetics enjoy growing popularity. Products like body balms, lip balms, massage oils, and bath salts are sustainable and chemical-free alternatives to traditional cosmetics.

Vaping or smoking allows users to experience the effects of CBD faster than is the case with other methods. CBD vape oil or CBD terpenes are the go-to products for this method of intake. CBD terpenes are natural compounds found in plants responsible for their colour, flavour, and smell. They often have medicinal benefits, and when coupled with CBD, they either intensify or lessen its effects.

How does CBD work with the body?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex biological system in the human body. It is responsible for several major processes such as appetite, mood, memory, and sleep. The ECS has three components: endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. There are two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are in the peripheral system.

After CBD enters the body, enzymes break it down, and the endocannabinoids look to bind with receptors. It is believed that CBD does not directly attach itself to the receptors but influences them in some way. The activation of the receptors is what allows users to experience the many health benefits of CBD.


As with any other product, it is essential that before starting CBD treatment the user consults with their health care medical professional and does research to ensure that the product they buy comes from a reputable brand such as CanaBD.

There is still a lot to be learned about CBD and its effect on the body and the mind. However, the data up to date suggests that its benefits far outweigh the risks. Removing it from the list of the prohibited substances marked an essential step for many professional athletes, as it opened the way for them to experience many of its benefits without fearing the risk of a doping violation.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • SHER, D. (2020) CBD for athletes [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Dino Sher is the owner of a marketing firm based in California.