CBD is a natural alternative to painkillers and a substance used by many athletes for post-workout recovery

By Nicole Ganglani | Art by Tricia Guevara 

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural compound that has gained popularity in sports over the past few years. CBD is said to benefit muscles and regulates homeostasis in the human body. It’s also been dubbed as one of the most promising chemicals found by recent medical research. It’s a natural medical treatment for athletes in the past two years and is considered a great muscle recovery supplement. Wondering what makes CBD a better medical alternative for athletes? Here’s more about CBD and how it impacts performance:


What is CBD? 

CBD is one of the many active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). It’s derived directly from hemp plant and is an essential component of medical marijuana. In the past few years, there has been evidence that CBD actually works for athletes when it comes to recovery, adapting to their training, and enhancing their performance. CBD products are also known to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate the internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by the living organs of the body. 


How does one take CBD? 

There are many types of CBD products but the most common ones used in sports are oil, creams and lotions, capsules and pills, gel caps, and edibles and vapes. A sports brand called Floyd’s of Leadville even sells fitness supplements (protein recovery powder and carb drink) containing CBD. 


Is CBD considered marijuana? 

Both CBD and marijuana come from cannabis but both have distinct effects on the body and mind. Marijuana consists of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which create a mind-altering “high”. On the other hand, CBD does not change one’s state of mind because it does not have THC in it. 


What are the advantages of CBD for athletes? 

CBD benefits athletes in a number of ways. It provides relief for musculoskeletal pain and stiff joints from exercise, has anti-inflammatory properties and alleviates chronic pain. It’s used to relax tight muscles, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. According to Scoutt Douglas of Runner’sWorld, CBD is a natural alternative to painkillers like ibuprofen and is a great post-workout booster. 


What are the disadvantages of CBD for athletes?

Organic CBD may cause drowsiness since it promotes relaxation and sleep. It also affects people differently which means different people will need different amounts of cannabidiol to get their desired results. CBD is also a chemical in the cannabis sativa plant which means that taking it would result to a positive stative drug test. 


How popular is CBD?

CBD has been popular in the United States for the past few years. In 2017, U.S. hemp-derived product sales reached $820 million on THC food and beverage products. In the Philippines however, the use of medical cannabis isn’t legal yet. The availability of CBD products in the Philippines will depend on the status of the law permitting medical marijuana.


How does CBD work?

The human body has two receptors for cannabinoids called CB1 and CB2. CB1 deals with the brain’s coordination (movement, pain, emotions, thoughts, mood, appetite, memories, and other brain-related functions). Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are found in the cells of the immune system (inflammation, body pain, and pathogens). Research suggests that CBD does not bind directly with either CB1 or CB2—instead it stimulates both types of receptors. CBD also modifies the receptors’ ability to bind to cannabinoids—the chemicals the body makes that are involved in pain, movement, memory, and appetite.

The advantage of using CBD in sports is that it has a ton of benefits to the body that can significantly impact one’s performance, recovery, and training.  Although it’s a natural medical supplement that could be considered a better alternative to painkillers or even processed chemicals, CBD may still take time to be utilized in the Philippines. Furthermore, it’s also important to remember that consulting a doctor or medical expert is must before seriously considering using CBD products for sports purposes.

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