There has always been a lot of debate over what people in the sports world can take to help them perform better and recover faster. This includes the American football field, or NFL, too. The NFL is one of the most popular sports in the US, and its players are some of the most highly competitive athletes in the world.
Their performance is extremely important, as it directly impacts the success of the teams and the overall game experience. Recently, the NFL has started to accept the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) as a way of helping players manage inflammation and symptoms of injury.
Now, CBD has become even more popular in sports due to its natural healing properties and ability to reduce inflammation. Here, we'll take a look at the many benefits of CBD products for elite athletes and how the future looks for these supplements.
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Football Players Injuries: Dangers & Consequences
Research shows head and brain injuries are particularly common among NFL players. A study released in July 2017 revealed that more than 99% of football players displayed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Repeated brain damage leads to progressive brain tissue deterioration and an aberrant protein called tau. Some of the more common head injuries suffered by NFL players include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussions (TBI)
- Cerebral Contusions
- Intracranial Hematomas
But sports injuries don't stop there. According to a recent New York Times survey, present and retired NFL players misuse opiate painkillers at a higher rate than the overall population.
There's no denying that football players get hurt a lot and taking prescription painkillers is the fastest way to get back into the game, isn't it?
In fact, narcotic medicines are generally distributed like candy in the NFL. And, given that NFL players have grown in size in recent years, their prescribed medicines are getting far stronger. In time, this could cause serious health problems for active and retired players alike. That's why finding a natural way to relieve inflammation and tension is essential.
What Is Cannabinol & Where Does It Come Into Play?
CBD is a natural substance capable of providing a range of wonderful potential benefits, which may include reduced anxiety, better sleep, and improved mental health are just a few of the benefits. As research into the effects of CBD continues, we are discovering more and more about its potential benefits and how its uses to help athletes manage inflammation and symptoms of injury.
You might be surprised to know that CBD also exhibits anti-inflammatory, discomfort management, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, and analgesic effects. These effects may make it a potential remedy for many conditions, including anxiety, and depression (these are not claims as more research is necessary). If you are curious to find out more about how CBD works to provide these benefits, here's a brief explanation.
CBD immediately interacts with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, in the human body. This organ regulates and influences appetite, mood, discomfort, and inflammation. The ECS is also responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body. By interacting with the ECS, CBD helps restore balance to the body, improving overall health and well-being.
Is CBD Safe?
From what has been found about this substance so far, yes! You only need to understand a couple of things first. For one, CBD is considered safe and non-addictive since it is not psychoactive. Furthermore, CBD is very different from THC and has medicinal characteristics that can help athletes without concerns about drug testing or the altered attitude that THC can cause.
CBD and THC are both chemically comparable to the body's natural endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters acting in the brain). However, how CBD or THC behave determines their different effects.
The THC component is most famous for its high, which is a psychoactive response. It's worth noting that this high is the reason why THC is banned in many states. And although CBD may contain tiny (and legal) THC levels of up to 0.3%, it is not enough to cause a psychoactive effect.
CBD Oil Benefits for NFL Players
Many confuse CBD oil with hemp oil, which leads to many misunderstandings. Hemp oil does not contain CBD or THC, but it is high in fatty acids like omega 3, 6, and 9. Like olive oil, hemp oil is excellent when it comes to cooking.
On the other hand, CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant resin and then diluted with coconut or hemp seed carrier oils. Every oil bottle is infused with active CBD, a non-toxic chemical derived from industrial hemp. But there's much more to CBD's popularity besides its obvious benefits:
- Well-tolerated: According to the World Health Organization, CBD is well-tolerated (WHO). Although there are some possible side effects, they are minor and disappear fast.
- Easy To Use: You can add CBD oil to your daily routine and diet without concern. This is because of CBD's versatile nature as a health supplement. For instance, you can easily swallow a few CBD drops directly on the tongue or with food and drink, regardless of your schedule.
- Variety Of CBD Concentrations: While some people prefer the gentle effects of a low-concentration formula, others may benefit from high-concentration oils. Everyone's body reacts differently to CBD, so it's important to experiment with different concentrations to find what works best for you.
Not addictive: A 2018 World Health Organization report shows that, unlike other pain-relieving cannabinoids such as THC and opiates, CBD does not appear to have the potential for misuse or dependence.
Benefits Of CBD For Professional Athletes
Professional athletes deal with intense physical and mental stress. CBD may help reduce these issues and help athletes compete more effectively. The following is a detailed explanation of what CBD can do for professional athletes:
Improving Athletic Performance And Recovery
The risk of unpleasant injuries and inflammation is particularly high for those who participate in sports regularly. Even if there are no physical injuries, discomfort and inflammation are unavoidable in sports like the NFL.
Over the last few years, ongoing research into CBD benefits has highlighted the numerous advantages it provides. CBD has potent anti-inflammatory qualities, making it suitable for people suffering from inflammation due to injuries or other related conditions. For a more in-depth look, check out How Does CBD Improve Athletic Performance and Recovery?
CBD is well-known for its potential to combat discomfort, and many people hail it as the next generation of inflammation relief medications.
According to research, CBD can alleviate inflammation and help athletes engage in strenuous activity more prepared. CBD can serve as a highly specialized tool in an athlete's toolkit. Much like a wrench or screwdriver, it can help them complete a task that would otherwise be impossible.
CBD has the potential to help athletes improve their sleep in several ways. As a natural inflammation reliever, it can reduce soreness and discomfort from exercise and injury, allowing athletes to relax and fall asleep more easily.
Additionally, CBD's calming properties can enable athletes to wind down after a stressful day or event, allowing them to enter deeper, more restful sleep. CBD may also help regulate the body's natural circadian rhythms, making it easier for athletes to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day.
Many argue that the most significant advantage of CBD for athletes is stress relief. Work and rest are meticulously balanced in the best training plans, keeping your nervous system on the narrow line between freshness and overtraining.
That's why many professional football players have most likely faced the challenge of dealing with stress and anxiety. By incorporating CBD into a training plan, athletes may better manage the stress and anxiety associated with high-performance sports.
Reishi mushrooms and echinacea are the two most famous traditional adaptogens, but CBD has now joined this roster of stress-relieving, performance-enhancing plants. This is because CBD benefits meet the requirements.
Adaptogens prevent the neurological and neuroendocrine systems from overworking. Moreover, according to studies, adaptogens must be stimulatory – without adverse effects. That is precisely what CBD does! CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate the body's physiological and cognitive functions, including the stress response.
While research in this area is sparse, we know that most plant adaptogens regulate energy balance and upregulate fat burning through activating enzymes like AMPK. It's possible that combining CBD and other adaptogens has synergistic benefits too! In other words, the two types of drugs may complement each other.
Resuming Normal Activities
CBD may help active users avoid muscle and joint issues. For elite athletes, using CBD means that they can resume their normal activities without further challenges. CBD may also help athletes to maintain their peak performance, allowing them to focus on achieving their highest potential.
Enhance Energy Levels
CBD may enhance energy levels when taken in moderate amounts throughout the day. Many people who participate in sports and fitness activities consume it before a workout. CBD also appears to reduce fatigue and improve focus and concentration for athletes.
CBD Side Effects
Even when used in extremely large dosages, CBD rarely causes severe adverse effects. "CBD was tolerated in all individuals, with no symptoms of toxicity or major side effects," according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
If there were any adverse effects, it was mainly due to CBD interacting with another drug that the person was taking at the same time. Always seek medical advice before using CBD, primarily if you use other medications.
Drug Test Results
Many football players are concerned about their medical supplements showing up on drug tests, and understandably so. Standard drug tests seek molecules related to THC so that THC will show up on the screen.
THC can also be found in trace levels in CBD products, but only up to 0.3 percent. Even though such a small amount would never be enough to cause any psychoactive side effects, it will almost certainly show up on a drug test.
The Future of Medical Cannabis
Despite the authorities' disapproval, there is optimism that one day, the NFL and other professional athletes will be permitted to medicate as they like. After all, there are now many people who share the common goal of using CBD oil however they want!
Pro athletes have teamed together to help shift the narrative by learning more about the science behind cannabis. Many are even researching funding different CBD programs to help the legalization process. There were only solitary voices of individual athlete advocates before. However, the industry has now grown into a powerful force for good.
Things are changing. They are evolving, albeit not as quickly as some would want. Who knows, we may even see cannabis interwoven into all major sports, and not just the NFL, in a few years.
A number of studies indicate that CBD produces physiological, behavioral, and biochemical effects that benefit athletes. CBD's potential to reduce inflammation associated with tissue damage is a key factor in this. In addition, CBD reduces neuropathic discomfort caused by nerve stimulation or injury.
Overall, CBD could be game-changing in the world of endurance and action sports, particularly those exposed to intense and high-impact exercises. CBD products could also help elite athletes who spend long hours training to reach the top of their sports.
Don't forget to check out the athletes we work with for inspiration!
Benefits of CBD for NFL Players FAQ
Are NFL players allowed to consume CBD?
NFL players cannot consume CBD products that contain more than 0.3% THC. This is because THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and is therefore prohibited by the NFL. However, CBD products that have been tested and certified to have 0.3% or less THC can be consumed by NFL players. These products usually come from hemp, which is a type of cannabis that contains virtually no THC. CBD products derived from hemp are legal under federal law and can provide athletes with numerous health benefits without the risk of failing a drug test.
What are the benefits of CBD for NFL players?
CBD has a number of potential benefits for NFL players:
- CBD reduces inflammation associated with tissue damage, which can help to alleviate discomfort caused by intense physical training and competition.
- CBD can alleviate neuropathic discomfort caused by nerve stimulation or injury. CBD can also improve sleep quality, which is essential for athletes who need to be well-rested in order to perform at their peak.
- CBD can also help manage stress and anxiety, benefiting athletes with competitive pressures.
Is it safe to consume CBD products?
Yes, it is generally safe to consume CBD products tested and certified to contain 0.3% or less THC. CBD products derived from hemp are legal in the United States and safe to consume. CBD is usually well tolerated by most people, and there have been no reports of serious side effects. However, speaking with a doctor or healthcare provider before using CBD products is important, as some individuals may be more sensitive to CBD than others.