How Can CBD Help Athletes?

Updated on July 11, 2020

The popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for relieving pain and stress has paved its way into the field of sports. Fortunately, in 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) cleared CBD from its list of regulated substances for competing athletes. 

However, there are cases where athletes tested positive for THC even when they consumed legal CBD products purchased from the market. Choose CBD for athletes to get the most out of your purchase. CBD products that are suitable for athletes are free from THC since the presence of this compound can make the athlete “high”.

With this background, here are some ways in which CBD can help athletes:

Relieves Pain and Inflammation

Intense practice and work-out can cause muscle and joint pain. The benefits of CBD in pain management attract athletes towards CBD products. Here are some of the ways to use CBD in pain relief:

  • Orally: CBD oils can be added to your favorite drinks and beverages. The effect can be felt anytime within two hours depending on the person’s body weight and metabolism. Also, CBD can be taken in the form of capsules, like your supplements or vitamins.
  • Sublingually: Taking CBD under the tongue is the fastest way to alleviate pain. CBD oil is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and takes effect within 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Topically: CBD infused lotions can be applied topically to the affected areas. Subsequently, you can feel a reduction in pain and inflammation. The most common application for athletes is the CBD roll-on for pain. Just roll the product on the swollen spot and you can get instant relief.

Alternative to NSAIDs

When athletes are in pain, the common resort is over the counter pain killers like Ibuprofen and Naproxen Sodium. Unfortunately, when these Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are taken excessively, they can damage kidney functions. 

However, CBD is non-toxic and organic. The use of CBD as a painkiller can reduce the risk of renal failure because CBD works directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When CBD is applied or consumed, the response of pain receptors is regulated via the nervous system and the ECS.

Moreover, a study on CBD showed that it’s a good substitute for opioid-based medications. CBD is non-addictive and has no adverse side effects after the treatment.

However, athletes must have a responsible mindset while managing pain. Excessive use of any pain killer can have side effects. 

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Young african runner running on racetrack at the athletics stadium

Promotes Muscle Relaxation

After an intense practice or workout, athletes can tear their muscles or get severe cramps. This condition is due to low levels of GABA-A in the body system.

Fortunately, CBD can relax muscles because cannabidiol improves the GABA-A levels. This provides the body with a feeling of calmness and relaxation.

To get the most out of it, you can use moderate amounts of about 10-20 mg of CBD per day. Also, CBD-infused salves can be applied directly to affected areas to reduce pain.

Reduce Blood Pressure

While athletes have good stamina because they stay active, they can still have high blood pressure or cardiac diseases. Athletes must maintain their blood pressure during practice or in competition. According to this study, CBD was found to reduce blood pressure and maintain cardiac output. 

Including CBD in your diet and having good athletic activity can improve general heart health. Make sure, blood flows to your veins without restriction to prevent stress and excess blood pressure.

Of course, don’t rely on CBD alone. Keep yourself healthy by avoiding stress.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

The pressure of winning and improving performance can contribute to stress. Stress and discomfort can have adverse impacts on the athletes’ potential. So, athletes find ways to counter the challenges faced in boosting their optimum performance. Studies have shown that CBD can alleviate tension and stress. 

Moreover, CBD is safe and effective in reducing anxiety. Athletes can have a clear focus and be less anxious during a competition if they take CBD products. 

Improves Sleep Quality

The most effective way to recover your body from oxidative stress is by getting sound sleep. Athletes who use CBD before bedtime are at ease and comfort while sleeping. That’s because CBD inhibits the reuptake of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Low concentrations of ATP can disturb your sleep.

However, a sufficient supply of ATP makes your brain activity slow down and leads to calming effects, urging you to sleep.

Another review of the literature suggests that CBD may have therapeutic effects for the treatment of insomnia. CBD has a promising effect on the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder. Thus, CBD helps in improving the sleep-wake cycle of a person.

Using CBD as a sleep aid will be beneficial if you consult your doctor beforehand and purchase the right CBD product.


Athletes can benefit from the tips mentioned above. However, CBD must be taken in the right dosage based on the intended benefits. It’s important to choose the right CBD product to maximize the benefits. Consult your doctor for expert advice so that you can increase your athletic performance significantly.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.