CBD and Professional Sports

No pain and all the gains, heres how athletes can use CBD products as treatments.

We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.

After years of being a banned substance, there was a groundbreaking change in the sports industry in 2017, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) finally removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances.

However, all of other cannabinoids are still banned. This means that athletes are free to use selected CBD products as they wish, as long as they remain within the guidelines provided by the WADA.

Athletes will have to follow strict rules determined by the World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as following protocol on regular urine and blood testing. The products that can be used depend on the amount of THC—the psychoactive compound in cannabis—present, as this molecule is still prohibited.

The news sent shockwaves through the sporting community, as athletes are constantly pushing their bodies which can lead to extreme muscle fatigue and pain.

Luckily, CBD just might be the answer to that.

Why use CBD?

Whether you're training for the big leagues or just sore following a work out, CBD can help with a number of things.

The first thing you can use CBD products for is pain relief. CBD can be effective in treating musculoskeletal pain from exercise, as well as stiff joints. The way it works is that the receptors the body receive a series of signals which the causes your body to react with the CBD, creating an anti-inflammatory effect that reduce the pain.

CBD can also be used by athletes to improve their sleep, as its relaxing effects are a great antidote for restless nights caused by muscle pains,

How to use CBD

There are many ways to use CBD, and it can be incorporated into everyday life in almost any way you can think of. Based on personal preference, CBD can be taken through capsules, edibles and even infused sports drinks. There are also creams and ointments that are used by massaging into the body, either on the hurt area or all over the body for relaxation.

The method used to consume CBD will determine how long it takes for the compound to begin effecting your body. As capsules, edibles and drinks all have to be digested, these options take a longer amount of time to work. Other methods, such as creams and oils, are said to have a more immediate effect. 

One thing to remain aware of is that there are a lot of CBD products on the mainstream market, which could lead to inconsistencies in quality and strength. That's why it's always a good idea to do research before purchasing any product. It's also important that consumers are aware of how much THC is in the product they are using, as a lot of training facilities and work places follow a strict zero tolerance policy.  

Cannabis is not classed as a banned substance for athletes when they're out of competition, however it can cause some problems if high levels are shown in testing during competition time, as athletes can be at risk of a doping violation.This is why it's important to ensure CBD products are purchased from a trustworthy source.

Athletes who use CBD

CBD oils have proven to be a popular product in the health and wellness industry. While there still remains a lot more to learn about the plant and its potential for pain relief, athletes are already seeing the benefits of using CBD as part of sports recovery treatments.

Jay Williams NBA

Former NBA star Jay Williams is an advocate of CBD oils.

He has been using oils for years and said it aids with the inflammation caused by playing sports, while also helping to better manage his anxiety. 


You might know Liz Carmouche as the "Girl-illa", one of the first females to incorporate mixed martial arts (MMA) into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), when she fought for the UFC inaugural women's title fight.

Carmouche admits to using CBD so she can heal from her long hours of training and train harder. During an Interview with Cannabis Aficionado, Carmouche  opened up about how she uses CBD as part of her day-to-day routine, applying oil immediately after workouts to relieve pain and inflammation.

"Combat athletes take so much impact and destruction to our bodies," she said,

"We need to find something to take care." 

mike tyson boxing

Another celebrity publicly advocating for CBD is former boxing champion, Mike Tyson, who is known for his support of cannabis in the media. Mike has created his own "cannabis resort" aimed at people who want to grow or smoke their own cannabis, which is located on a 40-acre estate in California. 

Can CBD improve athletic performance?

According to the World Anti-Doping Association, "there is no direct evidence of [CBD's] performance-enhancing benefits." As there is no hard proof that CBD will directly improve performance in sports it's difficult to determine the role CBD plays in enhancing performance.

However, there is research that shows CBD can help with inflammation, muscle pain and anxiety. The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine states that CBD is a "promising for chronic pain management."

The same article also claimed that, "medical and non-medical cannabis use among athletes reflects changing societal and cultural norms and experiences."

"The potential beneficial effects of cannabis as part of a pain management protocol, including reducing concussion-related symptoms, deserve further attention."

CBD is doing amazing things for those in the sporting world. But, this is just the beginning. The market is constantly seeing new innovative ways to consume CBD, as well as improved versions of older products.

Hopefully it won't be long before there is a full range of CBD products tailored and tested for athletes.

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Niki Mohazeb
Niki Mohazeb

Niki is a Sydney based writer, with a passion for promoting the health benefits of medicinal cannabis. Niki also enjoys researching and writing about the future of cannabis along with the many other benefits that the plant provides, such as the diverse utilities of hemp.

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