It’s clear cannabis has been making a comeback, and CBD is largely responsible for the renewed interest. Unlike its cousin THC, cannabidiol does not produce mind-altering effects, which leaves the door wide open for even the soberest to reap its benefits. And the latest CBD craze seems to be around bodyhacking – or CBD for athletes.
Much still remains to be discovered about CBD and its impact on the human body. But everyone from MMA fighter Gina Mazany to your grandma (probably) has been shouting CBD from the rooftops. Generally, the rave reviews focus on CBD’s ability to balance the body while maintaining total mental clarity.
Sounds great, right?
But, even though CBD won’t produce psychoactive effects, there is still a trace amount of THC (less than 0.3% by dry weight per federal law), leading to complications with regards to regulating CBD use at the professional athlete level.
Read on to discover not only how CBD is changing the way athletes look at wellness, but also starting to reshape regulations within the field.
Related Article: Does CBD Show Up on Drug Tests?
Let me CBD what you’ve got!
Establishing regulations around CBD is a bit more complicated, as most products contain trace amounts of THC. This is especially important to note for civil servants or professional athletes who are subjected to rigorous drug screenings on a regular basis. So, with all the potential risk, why are athletes turning to CBD?
Cannabidiol is one of more than 115 identified cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant. It’s difficult to extract CBD alone, so many hemp extract products are what we call “full-spectrum,” meaning they have the entire spectrum of chemicals present in the hemp plant, leaving out only inert plant matter like cellulose.
Because it works.
While much remains to be studied about the potential benefits of CBD oil, athletes across the board are already incorporating CBD into their health and wellness routine.
Thanks to how CBD interacts with the bodies of vertebrates and their endocannabinoid system, it has the potential to help balance several of the body’s systems, including reducing post-exercise inflammation. This is especially important for athletes, who consistently push their bodies to the limit.
Athletes put stress on their bodies to build muscle mass, improve their speed and endurance, or otherwise enhance their ability to excel in their respective sport. But always aiming for more means that sometimes athletes can sustain injuries from prolonged exercise-induced inflammation, making it even more important to maintain an effective health and wellness regimen.
That’s where CBD comes in.
But it’s been anything but a cakewalk for athletes seeking to incorporate CBD into their routine. While a 2017 announcement from the World Anti-Doping Agency updated its rules to explicitly state that, “Cannabidiol (CBD) is no longer prohibited,” certain sporting leagues are still strongly against all cannabis products. This includes CBD.
However, partially in thanks to athlete advocates like retired NFL linebacker David Ahrens, The needle is starting to shift on this. The NFL even announced in March 2019 that it may reevaluate its policy on CBD and other cannabis products.
Related Article: Progress to Cannabis Legality in All 50 States
Some athletes are such strong supporters of CBD that they’ve moved from personal use to focusing on expanding access to CBD for athletes. Athletes for Care is a nonprofit founded by former professional athletes, including NHL player Riley Cote, that advocates for research, education, and compassion when addressing important health issues for players. This advocacy has proved to be important in shifting the CBD conversation in the athletic realm, and the industry seems poised to undergo a major overhaul as more research is done on how CBD can impact homeostasis.
The Future is CBD
Cannabis industry analysts estimate the CBD market could hit $22 billion by 2022.
That’s a big chunk of change.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp federally legal for the first time in over 40 years, some of the regulation hangups facing the CBD industry have relaxed, allowing for this budding industry to experience explosive growth.
However, the newness of the CBD industry means that most companies are operating in largely unregulated spaces. This has led to some companies even boasting CBD as a cure for all kinds of diseases and ailments. Not that they’re allowed to: the FDA has issued numerous warning letters to companies for this sort of behavior because it is illegal to advertise that CBD treats diseases or illness.
These limitations from the FDA also mean that it is somewhat difficult for consumers – especially those like athletes who may be seeking CBD for a very specific use – to find and select an appropriate product.
But Bluebird Botanicals is continually working with organizations like the U.S. Hemp Authority to lobby for improved industry regulations and enhanced transparency. And that means, as research into CBD continues and the legal landscape continues to shift, we’ll be better able to guide customers to the perfect CBD product. And that’s a reason for everyone, not just elite athletes, to jump for joy.
Think CBD could be the move for you but not sure how to get started? Check out Bluebird Botanicals Beginner’s Guide to CBD and we’ll get you soaring on CBD.