The Supplement that May Make You a Better Athlete

Hemp extract is a trending health topic. This derivative of cannabis has a range of health benefits - and many athletes are using these supplements to support their health and improve their performance. Whether you’re a marathon runner, a weightlifter, or an enthusiastic gym-goer, hemp extract, or CBD, can benefit you.

Here’s what you need to know about using it as an athlete.

How does CBD improve athletic performance?

CBD is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances for 2019, although THC - the cannabinoid in cannabis that gets you high - is still on the list. In other words, CBD not considered a performance-enhancing drug.

When it comes to the benefits of CBD for athletes, a lot of what we know comes from anecdotal evidence from what athletes have personally shared how CBD has helped them in their own lives.

For example, a 2019 survey of athletes looked at those who use CBD. The respondents reported a few different benefits, including:
● reducing anxiety and promoting calm
● improving sleep
● reducing pain and muscle spasms
● treating nausea
● improving overall athletic performance

Of course, these benefits are self-reported and may not have the same effects for everyone. There is some substantial scientific evidence to suggest that there are multiple health benefits of CBD for athletes.

​Here are a few ways CBD can improve your athletic performance.

1) Soothes pain

CBD is well-known for reducing pain. One 2018 review looked at studies conducted between 1975 and 2018 that assessed whether CBD relieved chronic pain. It found that CBD improves multiple kinds of pain, including cancer-related pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia. Many people believe it is a better alternative to over-the-counter or prescription pain pills, as it is considered safe, and has few side-effects when compared to other medications. 

Athletes have also said that they use CBD to soothe delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or to reduce pain following an injury.

2) Reduces inflammation

CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory drug according to multiple scientific reviews. It seems to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body, including the muscles, brain, joints, and even the skin.

While a little inflammation helps your body adapt to new exercises, too much inflammation is not suitable for your health or your athletic performance. CBD can help with that.

3) Supports heart health

As an athlete, your heart health and blood pressure are probably under control. After all, exercise is an excellent way to support heart health. 

But if you happen to have a heart problem, or if you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, it’s a good idea to use a supplement that supports cardiovascular health. Your heart needs to be healthy enough for you to challenge yourself and improve your performance. 

According to research, CBD might be able to lower blood pressure and improve the functioning of your heart. A 2017 study involved giving volunteers CBD after subjecting them to stress. Those who received CBD had a lower blood pressure than those who received a placebo.

4) Reduces anxiety

Even the most experienced athletes struggle with performance anxiety from time to time. Some research shows that CBD has anti-anxiety effects. 

A 2011 study looked at the effects of CBD on people with social anxiety disorder. Participants were given either 400 milligrams of CBD or a placebo. Those who were given CBD were notably less anxious than those who had the placebo. Further research found that CBD might also be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is another form of anxiety.

While CBD hasn’t explicitly been studied concerning sports-related anxiety, many athletes have shared that it has helped them soothe their pre-marathon and sports competition jitters. 

5) Improves sleep

Every athlete knows that you need a good night’s rest to perform at your best. To run that marathon or give the weight room your all your body needs to be well-rested and alert.

Because CBD seems to reduce pain and anxiety, it makes sense that it will help you fall asleep if soreness or racing thoughts are keeping you up at night. A 2019 study suggested that CBD can reduce anxiety-related insomnia, with multiple participants reporting that CBD calmed them down and helped them have better quality sleep. 

On that note, CBD can also reduce grogginess. CBD seems to promote wakefulness. In other words, CBD appears to help us sleep without making us feel groggy the next day - it’s a win-win. 

So, if you struggle to get some shut-eye the night before a competition or a marathon, it’s a good idea to take a little CBD. 

Is CBD safe to use?

CBD is generally considered safe, and humans can tolerate large amounts - even around 1,500 milligrams. Most people should probably start with about 20 to 30 milligrams per day and increase the dosage gradually until they’re happy with their results.

Side effects, while uncommon, can include: 
● nausea 
● appetite changes
● tiredness 

Make sure the CBD you use is high quality with no unnecessary fillers, pesticides, or heavy metals. Unfortunately, there are some dodgy companies out there that produce sub-par CBD. For best results, go for a brand, such as Thryv Organics, that uses third-party testing, meaning an independent lab confirmed how much CBD it contains. Feel free to look at online reviews and visit a CBD store to ask for advice.

It should also be THC-free. Remember that WADA still prohibits THC, and it will show up on most drug tests. THC also gets you high, which is not always ideal if you’re trying to focus on a workout. Like, Thryv Organics, the company you buy from should readily give you the lab report containing the ingredients in the batch of the product you are purchasing. Thryv even goes as far as to put a QR code on each product label, so you know exactly what is in the bottle.

CBD can interact with some medications, so talk to your doctor before using it. A doctor that is familiar with CBD could also help you figure out the best possible dosage. They could also recommend a good brand of CBD to start.

How to Use CBD to improve athletic performance

CBD comes in several different forms, including:
● tinctures and oils
● pills, capsules, and gummy vitamins
● CBD-infused food and candy
● topical treatments like creams and balms

The way you use it is up to you. Many athletes add CBD oil to their morning smoothies or protein shakes, while others add a few drops of CBD under their tongue. Capsules, pills, and edibles are great if you dislike the taste of the tinctures and oils. Topical CBD-infused treatments can be massaged into your skin to treat pain and inflammation in a specific area. 

If you’re consuming CBD orally, the dosage is essential. A doctor or CBD professional can help you figure out how much CBD to take. Most people start by taking between 20 milligrams and 30 milligrams a day, increasing it gradually until they feel that it’s effectively treating whatever issue they have.

A few ways you can use CBD to improve your athletic performance and support your health:

● take 20 milligrams in the form of a gummy every night before bed
● put 30 milligrams under your tongue on a rest day to soothe DOMS
● rub a CBD-infused topical treatment into aching muscles or a sore joint while you’re recovering from an injury
● take a 20-milligram capsule every morning to promote general well-being
● indulge in a CBD-infused snack now and again to support your overall health

If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your doctor or ask a reputable CBD store.

There are many health benefits of CBD for athletes, and considering how safe and well-tolerated it is, it’s worth trying. Many athletes swear by using CBD as a supplement to support their health and help them perform at their very best.

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