CBD for Athletes: Here’s What You Need To Know

It seems like every athlete has an opinion of CBD. Athletes accept sponsorships from CBD brands all the time. Some entrepreneurial athletes have created their own wellness or lifestyle brands that offer CBD products. 

It seems like CBD has completely taken over the world of professional athletics — but why?

There are plenty of reasons why athletes might enjoy the benefits of CBD. If you’ve recently taken up training for a sport or increased the extent of your workout routine, here’s what you need to know about the use of CBD for athletes.

What Is Topical CBD?

Topical CBD products, like CBD creams and balms, are popular among athletes and people who frequently exercise. Topical CBD is a little different from other forms of CBD and can be used in conjunction with CBD oil or edibles. Topical CBD can be applied directly to help temporarily ease feelings of muscle soreness or tension.

What Does Topical CBD Do?

Topical CBD incorporates soothing ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, and arnica. When applied directly to sore muscles, the ingredients work together to provide a cooling sensation. This sensation can help distract your senses from minor discomfort, allowing you to relax.

It doesn’t work the same way that CBD oil, tinctures, or edibles work. For best results, most people pair topical CBD with an ingested form of CBD.

What Should I Know About CBD Oil and Edibles for Athletes?

Products like CBD oil and CBD edibles are absorbed by your body. They’re processed by your metabolism before they enter your bloodstream. When they reach your bloodstream, your body carries them throughout your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your endocannabinoid system is a giant network of receptors that exist almost everywhere — they don’t have a central location. You have cannabinoid receptors on the surface of your skin, inside of your brain, within your immune system, and in some of your internal organs.

What Does Ingested CBD Do?

Your endocannabinoid system supports many important processes throughout your body. CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system and provokes a response. CBD won’t change the way your body works — it’s more like a cheerleader for your endocannabinoid system. The system accepts the stimulation it receives from CBD and uses it as encouragement to carry out its natural functions. 

Does CBD Oil Help With Athletic Recovery?

CBD is always being studied. Studies focusing on its ability to support the body throughout the natural process of athletic recovery are conducted all the time. That said, early findings show that many athletes feel CBD provides them with the support their body needs during times of intense training, and the research suggests they might be right. 

CBD might play a valuable role in an athlete’s recovery strategy. When used in conjunction with other recovery-promoting practices, CBD can make a noticeable positive difference in the way athletes feel. 

Does CBD Oil Help With Athletic Performance?

Although CBD may be beneficial for supporting athletic recovery, it doesn’t seem to have any direct benefit to athletic performance. It wouldn’t be considered a performance-enhancing supplement, and it’s not a stimulant like caffeine.

CBD won’t make you a better athlete, but no quick solution will. People become excellent athletes by taking great care of their bodies and remaining consistent with athletic training routines. CBD’s benefits can make the post-training relaxation session feel a bit better. Relaxation and recovery are important to your overall athletic performance, but they don’t necessarily change the way you perform. 

Can Athletes Use CBD?

There’s a gray area surrounding athletes and CBD. Professional athletes have to follow guidelines put in place by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which creates and maintains a list of supplements and drugs that athletes might use. 

If WADA finds that a particular supplement or drug can significantly affect an athlete’s performance, they ban it. Athletes are regularly tested for compliance, and if a drug test shows that they have a banned substance in their system, they’re disqualified from competing. 

It took WADA a long time to come to a conclusion about CBD. They eventually decided it was perfectly fine for athletes to use CBD, but other cannabinoids like THC remain banned.

This creates a little bit of a roadblock. Hemp-derived CBD naturally contains a very small amount of THC. The amount of naturally occurring THC in CBD extract is insignificant, meaning it won’t make users feel high or otherwise impair their judgment. 

However, there’s still a compliance dilemma. 

Athletes are technically forbidden from using CBD oil in its whole form. If they do, there’s a chance that small amounts of THC may accumulate in their body and cause a false positive on a drug test. That’s why athletes must be discerning about the CBD products they use. 

How Are Full-Spectrum CBD and Broad-Spectrum CBD Different?

CBD oil products come in two varieties: full-spectrum and broad-spectrum. There’s only one difference between the two. Full-spectrum CBD oil is whole extract from the hemp plant. It includes that tiny amount of naturally occurring THC. Broad-spectrum CBD undergoes a process to remove detectable levels of THC, leaving everything else intact.

Broad-spectrum CBD is a better bet for athletes who need to adhere to WADA guidelines. If you don’t need to adhere to WADA guidelines, you have more options. If you’re simply uncomfortable with the idea of using THC, or if THC showing up on a drug test could complicate your life, broad-spectrum CBD is also a better fit for you.

How Much CBD Do I Need To Support Athletic Recovery?

There is no official recommended dosage of CBD. Research has shown that people can tolerate doses as high as 1,500 mg daily with minimal side effects. That’s an extreme amount of CBD, and there’s no reason to use that much. A small fraction of that amount is plenty: 1/60, to be precise. 

Most people find that 25 mg of CBD per day is enough to provide the benefits they want. It’s a great dose for normal daily wellness — you can take it before breakfast to promote feelings of relaxation all day, or you can take it as soon as you wrap up your workout to ease into your post-workout chill session.

If you’re very athletic, you might be seeking a little more relaxation. In that case, try using 25 mg CBD in the morning and 25 mg at night, for a total of 50 mg a day. 

What Else Can Athletes Do To Feel Good? 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take CBD and everything immediately became perfect forever? Unfortunately, there is no magic solution for everything. CBD can help, but it doesn’t replace proven practices for boosting athlete performance and assisting with post-workout recovery. Use your CBD, but set yourself up for success in every way possible. 

During periods of intense athletic training, your body will naturally increase its demands. You need to be drinking enough water to replace what you’ve lost through sweat and ensure your muscles and soft tissue have enough water to heal. Electrolyte minerals, like potassium and magnesium, can also help support proper hydration. 

You can’t heal or build muscle without protein. Protein is the most important building block of muscle. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids that it uses to restore and fortify your muscles. 

Most of this process occurs while you’re asleep, which is when your body focuses its energy on restorative processes like healing and recovering. This makes sleep one of the most important aspects of a post-training recovery plan.

CBD can support the process of your mind and body unwinding at the end of a long day of training. Just make sure you’re doing everything else you need to do to care for your body while you’re striving to reach your athletic goals.

Incorporating CBD Into Your Training Routine

Pure Relief makes it easy to incorporate CBD into your post-workout or athletic training recovery routine. You only need one 25 mg broad spectrum CBD gummy to experience the benefits. If you’re training heavily, try taking a daytime gummy in the morning and a nighttime gummy before bed. 

Use your CBD in conjunction with the best practices for self care to support your body. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. No one ever went pro in a single day — taking good care of yourself and setting achievable, sustainable goals will help you rise to your full potential. Get out there and play.


An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system | PMC

Potential Role of Cannabidiol on Sports Recovery: A Narrative Review | National Library of Medicine

Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research | National Institutes of Health

The Prohibited List | World Anti-Doping Agency

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