For high-level athletes and for those of us who strive to achieve such heights, the search for substances that improve athletic performance is timeless and difficult. Supplements must comply with anti-doping laws, be safe and preferably natural.
CBD may support athletes in many ways, according to a recent study published in 2020.
Reducing inflammation and pain
A 2020 review published in Sports Medicine analyzed preclinical animal studies and clinical trials of CBD in non-sports populations. The authors found that CBD may contribute to physiological, biochemical, and psychological effects, potentially beneficial for athletes.
One of the key findings of the review is that CBD may help relieve inflammatory pain associated with tissue damage and neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage or irritation. This could mean an important benefit for endurance athletes: repetitive long-distance training can cause inflammation and irritation of the peripheral nerves.
Protection against damage to the gastrointestinal tract
The aforementioned sports medicine study also showed that CBD may protect against gastrointestinal damage. Athletes who exercise regularly can reduce the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Gastrointestinal stress can negatively affect exercise performance and recovery due to nausea, vomiting, and poor food intake. Preclinical studies have shown that CBD can reduce tissue damage and restore intestinal permeability.
The aforementioned authors additionally provided evidence that CBD can support healthy bone deposition and promote fracture healing. Healthy bones are essential for athletes, and bone health is sometimes compromised by injury or lack of energy availability.
Managing anxiety about athletic performance
According to a Sports Medicine review, CBD may also help athletes manage anxiety about athletic performance. Anxiety before a competition can cause sleep loss, increase energy expenditure, and impair nutrient intake.
According to the review authors, studies in non-athletic people have shown that CBD can relieve anxiety in stressful situations. CBD may be even more effective when combined with psychological interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy.