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CBD for athletes… what? I never even treid cannabis until around 18 years old (I was keen on psychedelics though). I was just never interested in it. Smoking is bad, lungs are good. That’s how I saw things.
And still to this day I very seldom smoke. After all – it’s not good for your lungs. Turns out there are other ways than smoking to get a dose in.
When I was in the Netherlands and got a spine injury (T3-T4), I discovered how incredibly useful cannabis can be. I started with regular THC flower and then went into CBD. Eventually I found out that CBD for athletes is immensely useful – here’s how and why I use CBD.
While this can be particularly useful for learning a new instrument, skill, or resolving incorrect running technique, this is only one of the factors why CBD & THC can be good for athletes.
Table of Contents
CBD for training – broncho and vasodilation
Is cannabis a PED? I have mixed feelings because yes and no. In cognitive function, cannabis can be an impairment or improvement depending on the person. WADA and USADA classifies THC and the likes on the banned list for in-competition list, so that’s the official word on it.
Though something indisputable is cannabis’ (both THC and CBD) effect on the cardiovascular system. Cannabinoids lower blood pressure by way of vasodilation. This vasodilation also allows for improved oxygen & mineral reuptake for the muscles from blood. That’s a measurable and proven benefit – cannabis as a vasodilator.
This vasodilation is also why our eyes get bloodshot – those blood vessels expand!
Too, cannabis can act as a bronchodilator. Improving the flow and intake of oxygen by opening up your alveoli? Yes please!
Though, you’ll probably want to avoid smoking it since that’ll probably not do much good for your lungs. Check out my ‘How to take CBD as an athlete’ section at the bottom to find out the best ROA.
Mental benefits while training
When you’re in the zone it feels good – a flow state of smooth transition of motions. Be it running, swimming, climbing, or playing sports – cannabis can certainly help put you in the zone.
When I go for runs I love to take a small (~20mg dose) of CBD (or THC) and hit the trails. I get into that mental flow – that engaged and alert yet relaxed instinct kicks in and I feel thrilled. Paired with music and that’s a perfect Friday night.
It’s hard to say how it’ll affect a particular individual because everyone is different. Some love it and some don’t notice a thing. I personally become more aware of my movements, muscles, and mind-body connection. Everyone is different so it may hit you differently and maybe you’ll just feel distracted or lethargic.
CBD for relaxation
Lets not forget about the main reason CBD and cannabis as a whole is so great – it makes you feel nice! Proven as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and assisting with secretion of Ghrelin (hunger hormone) while producing relaxing mental effects, CBD is an amazing post-training recovery tool.
Personally, I struggle to eat after training, especially after hard cardio sessions. I may be hungry but I just can’t wolf down enough food. A few hits and I devour what’s in sight. Once I had a huge plate of potatoes and turkey which I just couldn’t even put a dent into. 5 minutes after a few hits and I put it away in no time at all.
Take a few hits, have some protein, hop in the shower, and enjoy your post-training satisfaction. The runners high mixes perfectly with cannabis and I highly (hah) recommend it.
CBD for neuroplasticity and learning
Lets start off with the funkiest buzzword in the article – neuroplasticity.
As we age our brains become less plastic as neural functions and the default mode network solidifies and lock in for life.
More brain learning ability = improved learning and training. When it comes to new skill acquirement this can be useful. I’ve personally used this technique quite a lot.
CBD for inflammation
Inflammation isn’t all bad. In fact – we need it for many functions and for recovery. However, if you’re dealing with inflammation be it from an injury or over-exertion, cannabis is an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Use this knowledge to your will – while inflammation is good in certain ways, it’s detrimental in others and you can use CBD as a tool to manage inflammation. This can also be great for neuroinflammation from acute trauma – It’s a very complex topic which I’ll just leave for another article
CBD for injuries
Pain relief, inflammation management, analgesic activity, and relaxation – CBD for injuries is a viable approach and alternative to typical solutions like Acetaminophen, Ibuprophen and even Diclofenac.
If you deal with injury anxiety like myself then you’ll also find some comfort and solace in using it to de-stress and exist in daily life without that background hum of nuisance.
I used it to curb symptoms of my T3-T4 spine issue and even in instances of DOMS after some tough training.
How to take CBD for athletes
How tf do you take THC or CBD as an athlete? Well, there are a few ways that don’t involve smoking.
This is my #1 pick. It’s the most bio-available, effective, and fast-acting route of administration. Even for those with the most sensitive lungs out there (like me) it’ll be rather mild unless you’re doing huge rips.
I prefer vaporizing pure CBD flower with something like a Crafty+ vaporizer or CBD concentrates (wax, live resin, rosin) with a wax pen vape. I avoid oils and e-juice type formulations and prefer full-spectrum CBD with terpenes and such still in it.
You can expect results from vaporizing cannabis within 5-15 minutes and last for ~3-4 hours. However the cheapest decent herb vaporizers cost at least $60. Once you’ve invested though it’s the absolute best bang for buck. My dose is ~20mg CBD/THC (100mg of 20% CBD cannabis flower).
Another huge benefit of vaping weed is you can target which terpenes & cannabinoids to release – low temperature for mental stimulation and high temperature for body & mental relaxation.
You can get sublingual CBD drops which are the next best and effective ROA. Unfortunately they’re pretty expensive and not so easy to come across.
You can expect results from sublingual CBD in around 15-45 minutes and to last ~6-8 hours Dose aprox. 20mg of CBD/THC for results.
Edibles are an easy and common way to get your CBD in but it’s not quite the most cost-effective, quick, or has the best efficacy. It takes a long time to digest and if you’re doing THC edibles then you’re probably going to have some very strong mental effects since cannabis metabolizes differently when eaten.
I recommend ~50mg of CBD for edibles (I don’t recommend THC edibles) and effects to hit in ~30-90 minutes and to last for 6-12 hours.
Edibles do come in many forms like gummies or cookies so that is one nice thing.
My last choice and likely not your favorite either – smoking still works but of course can be detrimental to your lungs. On the flip side it’s a fairly effective ROA and hits quite quickly. The cognitive effects are quite different than vaporized and often makes you feel more ‘sluggish’.
I recommend 2-3 puffs from a joint of CBD or THC before your activity. Effects should arise within 5-15 minutes and last 3-4 hours.
I love CBD and THC flower. This stuff really changed my life in a lot of ways and my athletics side is way happier too. I feel more engaged, tuned in, present, and in a flow state when running or swimming – though I get lethargic and sloppy with THC & team sports or technical skills.
The benefits for the recovery phase and post-training routine are my real favorite applications while I love to also use CBD for neuroplasticity and improved learning functions. Kick back, take a few hits, and gobble down some turkey thigh and baked sweet potatoes. The life.
Check out my favorite dry herb vapes to see which ones I love most!
Anyways, hope this little guide on using CBD for athletes helped you out. If you’ve got questions please drop them down below or my social media as I’m always glad to assist others in life. Peace!
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CBD for athletes – Why and how I use CBD (and THC)