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    CBD For Sports Recovery: Everything You Need To Know

    5 min

    Too many athletes centre their focus on training sessions, forgetting about the period of rest and recovery that should follow.

    Underestimating the importance of recovery periods can make workouts less effective and affect overall performance.

    Resting after an intense workout gives your body the time it needs to repair and strengthen muscles, joints, tendons, and more.

    If you want to make your post-workout resting sessions more effective and less painful, you may want to consider CBD for sports recovery. 

    As CBD continues to grow in popularity, we’re sure there are plenty of athletes out there who are wondering how it could help improve their performance.

    Here, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about how CBD can help with sports recovery for athletes at every level.

    What is CBD?

    CBD is short for cannabidiol. It's a natural substance that's closely related to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the active ingredient in marijuana and is responsible for the "high" that users experience.

    Unlike THC, however, CBD doesn't produce any psychoactivity. Many people consider CBD a safer, milder alternative to THC, though the two can create fairly different effects.

    CBD, like THC, is a natural product derived from the Cannabis plant. While recreational cannabis comes from plants naturally higher in THC, CBD primarily comes from low-THC hemp strains. 

    In fact, for CBD products to be legal in the UK they must be produced from hemp plants containing less than 0.2% THC.

    Once this low-THC hemp gets harvested, processing yields highly concentrated CBD oil. Often, this oil also contains other hemp-derived compounds such as THC and CBN. It may have to undergo additional filtering and processing to ensure a purer end product.

    CBD works by interacting with our body’s built-in cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which makes us naturally susceptible to the effects of cannabinoid compounds.

    CB1 receptors are located around the body and concentrated in the brain, affecting things such as mood, memory, appetite, and more. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and help with pain regulation and inflammation.

    THC primarily binds to CB1 receptors to produce its psychoactive effects. While CBD influences these receptors to a lesser degree, it functions more as a stimulant. Ingesting CBD encourages the body to make its own cannabinoids, which primarily attach to CB2 receptors.

    In terms of safety, CBD oil is safe for just about anyone, including novice and pro athletes. 

    For most people it produces few to no side effects, however, on rare occasions, some individuals report minor issues such as dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite.

    CBD may also react with certain medications and supplements, but the easiest way to check for any potential issues is to check for mentions to avoid grapefruit juice.

    Is CBD Good For Sports Recovery?

    With the booming popularity of CBD amongst athletes, you may be wondering if it’s right for you. There are several potential health and performance benefits that CBD oil has to offer for active adults.

    CBD could help to improve athletic performance in a number of different ways, but we’re not able to make any specific claims relating to its impact on the body. 

    What we can say is that it’s a completely natural product and has been linked to a number of benefits, without producing any of the same psychoactive effects as its cousin, THC.

    Giving your muscles plenty of time to recover after a workout is an important part of sports performance, but recovery time can depend on a number of factors regarding your health and your workout habits. 

    People who are in poor shape, who exercise infrequently, or who are starting a new routine may take longer to recover than a healthy athlete after the same workout.

    The intensity and duration of exercise also play a role in muscle recovery. While a light routine might just require 24 hours for recovery, it can take days to recover fully with a long or intense workout.

    Other lifestyle factors can also affect how long muscles take to recover. Poor sleep or nutrition makes it more difficult for your body to repair itself, so the process will take longer, and high-stress levels can also slow down muscle recovery.

    Unlike protein or vitamins, CBD doesn’t naturally form part of our diet, so athletes can use CBD to support the body’s endocannabinoid system by supplementing in the same way they would with protein powder or a multivitamin.

    Drinking a CBD recovery drink before or after your workout helps to provide your body with everything it needs to make the recovery process run more smoothly, or you could apply CBD directly to problem areas topically by using a CBD cream.

    While CBD is perfectly safe for most people, a small percentage of users may experience side effects, and for athletes, this could have an impact on performance.

    However, any side effects from CBD oil can be counteracted by reducing the dose or stopping completely, so for many people, it’s worth trying CBD as the potential benefits outweigh the minuscule risk of experiencing any side effects.

    Does CBD Show Up on Drug Tests?

    Plenty of people have to pass a drug test at some point in their life, from office workers to pro athletes, but because most kits test for THC, many people wonder whether taking CBD might affect their results.

    Pure CBD, or “CBD isolate” as it’s also known, won’t show up on a standard drug test, even one that checks for the presence of THC. While the two compounds are close cousins, they don’t share the same chemical structure. Therefore, CBD in the blood or urine shouldn’t trigger a positive on any drug tests.

    In competitive sports, certain drugs such as steroids or even alcohol can give players an unfair edge over the competition. To level the playing field, most high-level sporting leagues enforce strict anti-doping policies.

    The list of prohibited substances is updated annually and differs between sports leagues. However, certain substances are banned across the board, including anabolic steroids, hormones and growth factors, metabolic modulators, and diuretics.

    Many associations also ban controlled substances such as narcotics, stimulants, and certain cannabinoids.

    While pure CBD doesn't trigger positives in a standard drug test, other hemp-derived compounds might. Many CBD products also contain cannabinol (or CBN). This THC derivative gives users a much different effect than CBD and often gets used as a sleep aid.

    Unfiltered or impure CBD oil that contains CBN may result in a false positive on drug tests looking for THC. Full-spectrum CBD products also include trace amounts of THC, which could also show up on a drug test.

    What Type Of CBD Should You Use For Sports Recovery?

    There are three main types of CBD oil, each of which offers different effects. 

    CBD isolate is a pure compound that contains only CBD and produces mild effects. Broad-spectrum oils contain CBD alongside other cannabis compounds such as CBN but with no THC. Full-spectrum oils contain slightly higher levels of THC, but if from a reputable source this should still only be trace level.

    If drug testing isn’t an issue, full-spectrum CBD oil is usually the best choice for sports recovery. They offer a full range of benefits when compared to broad-spectrum and isolates, and you’ll experience the full benefits of the entourage effect.

    However, if you’re concerned about testing, it’s better to opt for something with low THC levels. In this case, isolates and THC-free products, like our CBD patches, are a good choice for athletes.

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