Professional athletes are finally enjoying greater access to CBD oil. As clinical research into this compound evolves, it’s becoming more and more clear that CBD’s applications extend far beyond everyday wellness. Players from a range of professional sports are swearing by CBD to combat pain and inflammation, speed up injury recovery time and get back in the game faster. And professional athletes get injured a lot.
Common sports injuries and pain management
Historically, players have relied on over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen for pain management, believing them to be relatively benign. But Ibuprofen can actually decrease blood flow to the kidneys, and has been linked to kidney damage in a recent study involving runners. Even more threatening to our athletes, though, is opioid prescription: current and former players are both at a high risk of misusing opioids prescribed for more serious injuries.
MLB- According to a 2018 study, the most common baseball injury is hamstring strain, followed by rotator cuff tears, lower back strains, and elbow dislocation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, pitchers are the most injured position in the sport, making up 39% of all injuries.
NBA- Ankle sprains are the most commonly reported injury in pro basketball, along with patellofemoral (knee) inflammation, knee sprains, and lumbar strains (3). Rapid changes in direction and grippy shoes makes for a lot of achey joints– and missed games.
NFL- Football is just about the highest impact sport there is, and NFL players suffer from the whole gamut of bodily injuries. The most common are injuries of the lower extremities (currently, 7 of 11 injured Falcons have foot or knee injuries). They’re also prone to dislocations of the upper extremities (shoulders, elbows and fingers), concussions and life-threatening spine injury.
A career in high-impact sport takes a tremendous toll on the body and brain. And while it’s important to get our injured players back in the game as fast as we can, using CBD is about more than just playtime: it’s about longevity and wellness for life. Studies have shown that former athletes with a history of concussions are more likely to suffer from depression later on in life, as well as from chronic pain, physical disability, neurodegenerative disease and reduced cognitive function. Retired NFL players are also several times more likely than the general population to misuse opioids later in life, as well as alcohol and other substances.
Why use CBD? Treatment and prevention
CBD can help current and former players in several ways. In short, it’s known to exhibit analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-anxiety effects. It’s also non-addictive, non-intoxicating, and an antioxidant.
When taken orally, CBD enters the bloodstream and acts on multiple signalling pathways and receptor sites in the body. One of the most important sites for CBD is the TRPV-1 (also called “vanilloid” receptor), which has been researched as a key target for pain relief and acute inflammation. Some preclinical research has even suggested that CBD may have some major brain health benefits, which could be a huge boon to both players and retirees with a history of concussions.
When applied topically, CBD can help to dull pain, reduce inflammation and ease swelling while imparting a gentle, cooling tingle. That’s because we have those same “vanilloid” receptors in our skin— which help us sense things like pain, but also things like hot, cold, spicy, and minty.
So if you’re an athlete and you’re in pain, drop some tincture under your tongue, rub it on where it hurts, and relax. When it comes to good health, we know that CBD is a game changer.