At the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed cannabidiol (CBD) from its list of banned substances. This change opened the door for athletes to use CBD as a natural alternative without fear of consequences, but did you know that the MLB has been lenient towards cannabis since 2002?
Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) came to a joint Drug Agreement in 2002, focusing the MLB’s drug policy on performance-enhancing drugs instead of cannabis. So why haven’t we heard about more MLB players using CBD?
Well, cannabis and cannabis-derived products such as CBD are still heavily stigmatized by society.
What is CBD?
With support from UFC fighters, NFL players and even Olympians, CBD is becoming a significant trend in the sports world – but what is it?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis that is believed to possess broad therapeutic potential. CBD and THC are the two most widely-known cannabinoids, but CBD does not cause the same mind-altering high as THC. Most CBD products are derived from hemp and contain little to no THC. Legally, CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC.
CBD works with the body. Every human has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vital molecular system for helping maintain homeostasis, or internal systemic balance.
Unfortunately, the ECS can change and become compromised over time and has trouble maintaining balance. Disease and injury can also play a role in throwing our bodies even further out of balance – this is where CBD comes into play. CBD is a natural reinforcement used to stimulate the ECS. CBD does not bind to receptors in the ECS; instead, it stops the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, allowing the body to use more of what it’s already naturally producing.
3 Benefits of CBD for Baseball Players
Baseball is an extremely demanding sport; there really is no off-season. Between workouts, practices, games, and recovery, players are constantly pushing their bodies to be ready to perform.
Whether you’re playing at the college, pro, or recreational level, CBD can help ease the physical and mental demands that come with being a baseball player.
Reduce Game-Day Jitters
Almost every athlete has experienced game-day jitters, especially before a playoff game or tournament. The anxiety for some begins days before the actual game and can be crippling to deal with – possibly evoking negative thoughts and decreasing confidence.
Research has found that CBD targets and boosts the signal of 5-HT1a serotonin receptors on brain cells. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps regulate mood and is associated with feelings of well-being. CBD, said to have potent anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties, also increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces a calming effect when amplified.
By taking CBD before the big game, it might be able to help you focus more on performing, rather than focusing on how nervous you are.
Pain and Inflammation Management
If you play or have played sports, you’re definitely familiar with the aches and pains that your body goes through.
When you love the sport you’re playing, or are super competitive in nature, taking time to allow your body to heal correctly isn’t always an option to you. So, you probably have gotten used to playing through the pain – and likely use NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen to help you manage it.
NSAIDs are known for masking the pain, and over time you may build up a tolerance to them, resulting in moving on to a higher dose or finding a stronger painkiller. When misused, these pain medicines can cause problems in the body, including harming the kidneys and increasing your risk of heart attack and strokes.
Using CBD as an alternative may be a better (and safer) choice for athletes. Researchers believe that when CBD enters the body, it attaches to CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors play a role in the immune system by managing pain and inflammation, naturally. When your CB2 receptors react with CBD, they form anti-inflammatory effects that reduce pain.
Taking CBD before a workout or game can allow you to push harder during, and using CBD afterward can help manage delayed onset muscle soreness.
Speed-up Recovery Time
Athletes are known for pushing their bodies to the breaking point and taking little time to recover properly. CBD not only helps make the recovery process less painful due to inhibiting anti-inflammatory properties, but it can actually help bring your body back into balance faster.
CBD can help relieve stress from the body by allowing the adrenals glands to take a well-deserved break from secreting cortisol, adrenaline, and other steroid hormones released while you were active.
Lastly, our body does most of its recovering while we sleep. If you’re not getting a sufficient amount of sleep, you may experience slower muscle growth and recovery. CBD helps regulate the hormones that signal time for rest and wakefulness; getting your sleep back on track.
More and more athletes are turning to natural supplements such as CBD oil to help them perform better and recover faster. CBD is proven to be safer and has less harmful side effects than other painkillers.