The Tokyo 2020 Olympic games were filled with historic moments, but one of the biggest new developments has flown under the radar. For the elite athletes competing, this marked the first Olympic games that they were allowed to supplement CBD into their training regimens. In January of 2018, the International Olympic Committee put into effect a rule change that would let Olympians use cannabidiol as they competed on the world stage. This change was crucial for athletes, many of whom have openly shared the success they’ve had with these supplements. CBD products have countless health benefits, but for these athletes there are three major categories that help boost their performance.
Pain / Recovery
To compete at such a high level, these athletes push their bodies to the breaking point day after day. They need to be in peak shape as they fight to represent their county, and with the games being condensed into only a 2-week period, they often compete in multiple matches back-to-back. Having a routine that maximizes recovery can make the difference between standing on the podium and returning home empty handed. Performing at this intensity also comes with the potential for injury, so relieving pain and restoring the body is a top priority.
CBD fills this need perfectly and is proving to be a successful tool for recovery. It most well known for being an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory. This is a major factor in injury prevention and is especially helpful for things like sprains, bruising, swelling, or aching muscles. Speaking of aching muscles, it also fights off delayed onset muscle soreness and helps athletes get back to work as quickly as possible. Many athletes prefer using CBD for fighting inflammation over NSAID’s which can be rough on the body. Another way it’s helpful is in promoting good gut health and metabolic recovery. Any athlete who has studied nutrition knows how important macros are for proper fueling. CBD helps the body get those macro nutrients where they are needed for the body to energize most effectively. Lastly, topical CBD usage can dampen pain and tenderness in the affected areas, allow athletes to work more comfortably while their bodies heal and strengthen.
Now knowing how important recovery is to these athletes, we can’t ignore what is possibly the biggest proponent of good recovery: Sleep! CBD has a calming effect on the body’s nervous system and has been incredibly successful in treating neurological conditions like epilepsy. This same research shows promising results in soothing the body and preparing for effective rest. It’s commonly used to treat sleep disorders as well as generally promoting good sleep.
For active bodies, sleep is a major part of recovering faster and building strength. All the aspects of recovery we discussed require rejuvenation in the body. Good sleep also provides mental clarity, allowing athletes to be alert and make quick decisions as they perform. The brain provides these crucial instructions, so it’s important that it has the energy to send those signals effectively. For Olympic athletes specifically, sleep is a big challenge. Not only are they required to undergoing the intense training schedules and recovering for competition, but they’re also dealing with international travel and severe jet lag. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule as they travel and compete is a tall order. Many athletes choose CBD over prescription sleep aids and melatonin, which is known to cause drowsiness.
While Olympians are recognized for their incredible physical accomplishments, competing at such a high level also requires psychological strength. The focus and clarity they cultivated through careful recovery is in jeopardy if stress seeps in. This stress can come in many forms; whether it’s pressure to perform, fear of injury, or burnout/fatigue from intense training regimens. Years of intense work and preparation can quickly become irrelevant if an athlete’s mental game is suffering.
So how can CBD help in this area of performance?
In previous blogposts we investigated endocannabinoids, specifically: Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylgylycerol (2-AG). CBD calms the nervous system while maintaining natural levels of these endocannabinoids. By protecting these levels, we keep the natural balance and maintain a calm mental headspace. This specifically helps reduce anxiety and promote healthy mood regulation. By giving their psychological health the same attention they show physical health, these athletes can be sure that nothing will hold them back as the enter the world stage.
Until Next Time,
Stay healthy, my friends!