Is cannabis and CBD performance enhancing? Does its use improve an athlete's chances of winning or improves their results?

It’s not a new subject but the question of allowing CBD in professional sports has recently resurfaced and it seems attitudes are changing. Could the top sports governing bodies be about to relax their long-standing and strict rules banning players and coaches from benefiting from the effects of CBD use? Supporters believe we are heading that way and it won’t be long until sports laws modernise.

Followers of sports shown live on television may have noticed adverts promoting previously banned or discouraged areas have begun to sneak into the half-time interval. For example, CBD and alcohol.  A recent news announcement confirmed crypto commercials are being lined up for the upcoming Super Bowl LVI that will be played in Inglewood in February 2022. This is a first for the sport of American Football but it’s unlikely to be the last time we see the likes of Bitcoin target sports fans. Times are changing.

WADA Promise a Review

The World Anti Doping Agency released a statement near the end of summer 2021 explaining they were planning a full review of their cannabis ban with a view to possibly lifting or easing the prohibition. That statement followed the high profile banning of American female sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson who was forced to miss Tokyo 2020 after testing positive for cannabis. 

This was, of course, in direct violation of the doping rules regarding cannabis use in sports but, as is often the case. Richardson, who was one of the biggest names in Team America and a firm favourite to win gold in Tokyo. She admitted using cannabis during the build-up to the summer Olympics to help deal with the sudden death of her mother. Cannabis will remain prohibited throughout 2022 but WADA explained their long-awaited review comes following numerous requests from stakeholders.

Reasons why athletes should use CBD

An Old Debate

Is cannabis and CBD performance enhancing? Does its use improve an athlete’s chances of winning or improves their results? Will it make an NFL player get stronger, a boxer punch harder or a sprinter shave vital time off their finish? That’s a debate that splits opinion amongst followers of sports. 

Some say all athletes should be as clean as possible before competing on the main stage. Anything less than 100% clean living could give them an advantage over the competition or, in certain sports, cause injury to a competitor. That would be an argument for CBD use in boxing, MMA, judo, other combat sports and most full contact sports. Others call that view nonsense, countering with the argument any regular user of cannabis or CBD would understand, that no physical activity is enhanced in any way. It could even be the opposite.

Should CBD be permitted in more sports and what are the benefits it could bring to the lives of athletes who test their bodies to breaking point every day in training and in the top competitions watched by fans from around the world.

Below we pick out two benefits of CBD athletes can enjoy and, we’re sure you’ll agree, neither of the points listed could be described as performance enhancing in competition at any level.

Improves sleep

The need for a full and proper rest during a training camp is obvious, but it’s not something all athletes enjoy. They may be dangerously tired and in desperate need of rest but with a competition coming up and their minds working overtime, nodding off and letting their body recover is easier said than done. 

It could be argued that a longer, better quality sleep actually helps keep the athlete safe from the threat of serious injury or fatigue. CBD oil can be used to improve sleep without the risk of addition or any other negative side effects.

Reduces inflammation

This one is a little less known by the wider public, but, yes, CBD can help reduce inflammation. This could be the joint of an NFL player after a heavy match or the bruised hands of a boxer following a tough 12 rounds. 

It may surprise some, especially those who are anti-CBD for whatever reason, that it reduces the levels of certain cytokines, which releases proinflammatory agents into the bloodstream. There’s certainly more to CBD than meets the eye.

Further Reading:

CBD Products – 9 Key Considerations When Shopping For Them

Everything You Need to Know About CBD Gummies

How Effective is CBD and What is Mostly Used for?

5 Things You Should Know About Using Prescription-Free CBD Products

Will CBD Vaping be Affected by Bans on E-Cigarettes