Eight Ways That CBD Can Aid Sports Performance


It is no secret that Europe’s CBD market rocketed between 2015 to 2020, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is predicted to grow around 23% between 2021 and 2026. CBD continues to grow in popularity following the increasing legalization of the natural compound across European countries.

Nowadays, CBD is also becoming a hot topic in the sports industry. In early 2018, this compound was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned substance list. As a result, we are seeing more endorsements from famous athletes, as well as an increase in CBD infused products in the sports market these days. Let’s take a look at what CBD is and some ways that it may be able to aid sports performance. 

What Is CBD?

CBD (stands for cannabidiol) is one of 113 identified phytocannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is believed to be an effective natural supplement that can help support a healthy lifestyle and bring a sense of equilibrium to its user. It is used for its wide range of potential wellbeing benefits and is widely used in a variety of products.

However, it is essential not to confuse CBD with THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. THC is the compound that people use to get ‘high’. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychotropic at all. Therefore, it is often seen as a desirable way for individuals looking for a relatively safe and natural supplement. 

How Can CBD Aid Sports Performance?

When it comes to sports performance, 10% CBD oil and sports drinks are a popular choice before a training session and after a challenging workout. Otherwise, using CBD massage oils topically and taking CBD infused capsules orally are also common choices. The choice is entirely yours, so be sure to consider what best fits your lifestyle and preferences.

But how exactly can CBD help our athletic performances? Let’s consider some primary reasons that athletes choose to use CBD.

  • Sleep: CBD is thought to help in supporting a healthy sleep cycle without the undesirable feeling of drowsiness. Sleep quality is vital when it comes to recovery after a workout because when we sleep, our body repairs and recharges itself, drops fat, and balances hormones.
  • Inflammation: Recent studies indicate that CBD may be able to reduce both pre-and post-exercise inflammation. This argued anti-inflammatory property could help your body to recover quicker and avoid delayed muscle soreness.
  • Anti-catabolic: CBD has been shown in research to have anti-catabolic properties, meaning that it can assist in the reduction of the breakdown of lean muscle tissue. It may even be able to help in building more muscle mass. CBD is thought to decrease the number of catabolic hormones in the body and regulate cortisol (the stress hormone), which breaks muscle tissue down to supply the body with blood sugar.
  • Nausea: Intense workouts can cause blood flow to be diverted from the stomach, and this can cause nausea. However, CBD is believed to assist in preventing feelings of nausea and helps with this both during and after exercise.
  • Muscle spasms: There are several factors that can cause muscle spasms, including dehydration, muscle sprains, and nerve damage. However, CBD is known to have antispasmodic properties, so using CBD as a supplement may help to reduce unwanted spasms. 
  • Cardiovascular: Not only does CBD have the ability to reduce inflammation, but it can also lower blood pressure. Therefore it is believed to offer cardiovascular support, a crucial benefit for overall fitness and wellbeing. 
  • CBD for appetite control: CBD has also been associated with weight management. Some people claim that they have a reduced appetite when using the supplement, helping those sticking to a strict diet. This can also allow athletes to focus on foods that help them rather than getting tempted by snacking or unhealthy foods.  
  • Post-workout recovery: Finally, CBD can be used as a post-workout supplement. Whilst athletes already use many different supplements with post-workout recoveries, such as protein, CBD oil is becoming more popular. This is because CBD is associated with anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is common after a workout as your body has been pushed physically. CBD can suppress this inflammation so athletes can recover faster, meaning less pain and fewer rest days needed.

Athletes That Endorse Use Of CBD In Sports

Since CBD is no longer on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), several well-known athletes have publicly endorsed the use of CBD in sports. Here are a few people who argue the benefits of CBD:

  • Dominic Day, rugby player: ‘During my rugby career, I used CBD as part of my daily routine…it helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the highs and lows of professional sport. Now a retired athlete, I use CBD religiously to help me stay healthy and fit.’
  • Nick and Nate Diaz, MMA fighters: ‘It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that…you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.’ 
  • Terrell Davies, former NFL player: ‘When I left the game, physically, I was struggling… I was taking quite a few pain pills, I was taking daily anti-inflammatories, so I was just kind of looking for something better… It worked on me almost immediately… I started to notice the effects… I was really impressed.’
  • Riley Cote, retired NHL player: ‘I’d quietly use it as an ally of mine. CBD helped me manage pain and anxiety. There was no physical addiction. It just made me feel better.’

Final Thoughts

Since CBD is no longer a banned substance, according to the WADA, momentum has begun to pick up concerning the potential benefits of CBD, including in the sports industry. As time progresses, more information will be available and no doubt more products will appear. What is for sure is that CBD has an almost innumerable amount of potential benefits, especially pertaining to sports. CBD may well be the future in aiding mainstream sports performance as more is understood and its benefits are considered.