CBD oil for athletes is the latest cannabis product to expand the options that patients have in addressing their symptoms of pain and inflammation. From treatment of injuries to management of the general physical toll of sports and training, CBD oil for athletes can easily be integrated into therapeutic regimens as a complementary or even unique treatment of both short- and long-term conditions and symptoms that affect amateur athletes to Olympians. While enthusiasm over CBD oil for athletes is largely based on anecdotal evidence at this time, preliminary studies suggest wide-ranging benefits that warrant further research.
CBD Oil for Recovery as an Alternative to Other Treatments
For athletes who suffer from arthritis and other chronic symptoms of pain and inflammation following acute or repetitive injury, CBD oil can be an effective alternative treatment to opioid painkillers — and has none of the side effects that can diminish athletic performance, e.g. fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.
Further, treating these aches with CBD oil can allow patients to safely treat their symptoms without exposing them to a higher risk of prescription opioid addiction, which is a serious consideration for sports medicine and public health experts. One study determined that retired NFL athletes are at a four-fold risk of developing an opioid addiction as compared to the general population.
Athletes who regularly treat their aches and pains with over-the-counter medications following a training session or sporting event might want to consider replacing conventional NSAIDs with CBD oil for recovery. Chronic use or overuse of NSAIDs can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. In contrast, using even high doses of CBD oil on a regular, long-term basis won’t damage the gut. The only potentially negative effect that has been reported anecdotally is that taking too much CBD oil can make you sleepy, so it’s worth experimenting with dosage and times of day when using CBD oil as an athletic therapy.
Relief Without the High
CBD oil also has an edge over cannabis products that contain THC. Though the analgesic properties of cannabis are most effective when THC and CBD are combined, CBD oil for athletes may be more a universally compatible treatment option for people looking to get relief from pain and inflammation. That’s because, unlike products that contain THC, CBD oil is non-psychoactive and more legally accessible to athletes all over the country — and is appropriate for use by adolescent athletes as well.
CBD Oil for Recovery from Contact Sports
Researchers have begun to explore how cannabinoids can mitigate inflammation caused by concussive or even non-concussive impact upon the head, potentially preventing the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE, by preventing tau buildup. The protein has been linked to cell death that characterizes some neurodegenerative conditions (tau accumulation is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease). Taking CBD oil after participating in contact sports may be one way to prevent this protein from accumulating, staving off permanent consequences of brain damage.
Though high-profile cases of CTE usually involve retired NFL players, it’s not just professional football players who are at risk for the condition. College football players and athletes in other contact sports also sustain damage to the brain that can lead to CTE, even in the absence of a concussive event. Recent research has found that CTE can affect athletes who compete in sports like ice hockey, MMA, and even baseball and soccer, suggesting that CBD oil may have significant value for a broad group of athletes as a post-event therapy.
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