How Does CBD Oil Benefit Athletes?

CBD Oil - feature image

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the major compounds of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike THC, it is non-psychoactive but still produces similar therapeutic benefits and has shown to help with anxiety, depression, seizures, nausea, and migraines.  

It can particularly help athletes because it also reduces pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness. However, an even greater benefit of CBD oil is its non-addictive nature, unlike opioids that are usually prescribed for pain management but are commonly misused and abused among athletes. 

According to the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) report, over 70% of UK consumers prefer to purchase CBD products in the form of CBD oil and capsules since they have higher therapeutic doses. 

Is CBD Legal For Athletes?

The simple answer is “yes.” The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances in 2018. However, some sports leagues and athletic organizations still prohibit CBD use. 

Athletes may still be able to use CBD if they apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), which allows them to use a prohibited substance. WADA prohibits THC, so athletes should also be aware of THC’s trace amounts if they are consuming full-spectrum CBD products. 

THC is not present in CBD isolate, so it may be a better option for athletes. It is always important to purchase CBD from a reliable source to make sure you are getting the exact product that is free from any contaminants. 

CBD Benefits For Athletes

Pain Relief

The prolonged wear and tear of an athlete’s muscle can cause pain and injury.

Even though some studies show that the use of CBD alone without the combination of THC is not as effective for pain relief, other studies still demonstrate the effectiveness of CBD. A 2018 study showed that chronic pain relief and joint pain are the top two medical conditions for CBD use.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural process of the human body that occurs due to injury and strenuous workouts. But too much inflammation can slow down recovery and affects athletic performance. 

CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body. One way CBD can reduce inflammation is by inhibiting an eicosanoid enzyme called COX2 that is responsible for inflammation. CBD can also target cytokines and reduce their pro-inflammatory effects.  

Alternative To NSAIDs

Over the counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are commonly used by athletes for pain relief and muscle soreness. 

However, chronic use of NSAIDs can have adverse side effects such as acute kidney injury, gastrointestinal ulcers, and cardiovascular problems. CBD is a reliable alternative to NSAIDs since these potential risks are not associated with its use. 

Alternative To Opioids

Opioids prescribed for pain management are commonly misused among athletes and can result in addiction or even lead to death from overdose. Even though CBD is not as effective as opioids for pain management, it does offer some benefit for pain relief without the dangers of addiction and overdose.


Last Updated on September 24, 2020

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