It isn’t just professional athletes that experience negative effects as a result of their workload. While the side effects of regular exercise are overwhelmingly positive, there can be a myriad of issues arising from repeated stress on the body. CBD-infused pain relief is on the precipice of changing how these issues are dealt with.
Clearly, athletes that play contact, gladiatorial sports such as rugby are going to endure repeated body-on-body contact and physical strains destined to have drastic effects on their bodies both in the long and short terms. But the weekend jogger who is training for a half marathon and the recreational indoor football player can also develop injury concerns with the potential to become obstacles in day-to-day life.
Professional athletes have the benefit of spending the time preceding and following a contest to work on their bodies to give themselves the best possible chance of remaining injury free. Most casual sports participants do not have this luxury, instead having to fit their preparation in between school-runs, employment and the endless list of tasks modern life regularly produces.
What this can mean is that effective and safe methods of recovery and pain-relief take a back seat. The local baseball player doesn’t want to let down their teammates on the weekend and so chooses to play with that sore shoulder in the hope it won’t get too much worse. A few over-the-counter pain relievers will deal with the throbbing ache both before and after the game.
Despite seeming harmless on the surface, this attitude can lead to a wide-range of extremely serious concerns. Addiction and the subsequent chronic use of these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is a very real problem within the ranks of professional sport, amateur level contests and even those just looking to engage in some social fitness building.
It is dangerously easy to be prescribed a strong, opioid-laced painkiller that provides the desired effects for a time before a tolerance is built up alongside a physical and mental dependence. Worldwide numbers of painkiller addiction are truly staggering and seem to only be rising.
The more this is understood and studied, the more calls are made for the dropping of restrictions and difficulties around obtaining CBD-infused pain relief options. Many prominent athletes have called for a relaxing of the rules around the growth industry and it is becoming more and more apparent that this new method of recovery and self-care will help people of all ages, fitness levels and lifestyles.
Many athletes that have trialed CBD pain-relief are strong in their claims that their new regime has reduced or eliminated their use of NSAIDs with minimal to zero side effects. The Essentials of Pain Medicine, Fourth Edition states: “There are no documented deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based products.”
Compare this with statistics released by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show the number of deaths in the United States due to prescription painkiller overdose has more than tripled over the past ten years. 15,000 people a year, or 40 people a day, die as a result of a dangerous dependence to this form of pain management. CDC Director, Dr Thomas Frieden, is on record as saying the situation constitutes an epidemic.
Deaths from opioid painkillers with household names such as OxyContin and Vicodin now outnumber deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. As a global society, it is important that a path to addressing these issues is found in an attempt to curb the senseless loss of life caused by previously championed pain-relief methods. This is where CBD comes in.
For an incredibly long time, research in the area of CBD was made hard due to its legal status. Thankfully more and more is being learnt as a result of changing attitudes and dedicated work by experienced professionals. Cannabinoids actually already exist within the human body, with researchers identifying the endocannibinoid system (ECS) which is involved in the way neurons behave within the body. Leading scientists are gaining greater understanding of how the ECS works and what effects it has and how these effects can be enhanced or altered.
The purpose of the ECS appears to be maintaining homeostasis within the body. Homeostasis is essentially the ability to maintain a stable internal system despite environmental changes. A simple example of this is the body’s ability to maintain an average temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Consuming CBD is being looked upon as something that may supplement or increase the body’s existing ECS, providing many benefits.
Athletes of all levels place stress on their systems, both internally and externally. Pain and inflammation can rise to such a level that the ECS may not be able to apply the necessary counterbalances aimed at restoring harmony in the body. This leads to the search for pain relief that historically has ended in the pharmacy with opioid painkillers. Increasingly, it is appearing that the addition of CBD in place of the traditional pain management methods can help an overloaded system regain control and assist in the recovery process.
Chris Carmichael, founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems, former professional cyclist and United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year in 1999, is on the record discussing the introduction of CBD-related products into the regime of athletes both professional and social.
“With what we know at this point, CBD offers good potential benefits and few risks. If it improves recovery as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and sleep aid, then it has great potential to improve athletic performance. And if it gets athletes to reduce consumption of NSAIDS, opioids, and prescription sleep aids, those are even bigger victories.”
What should not be lost in the pursuit of improved sporting performance is that CBD could offer a much larger portion of society relief from all sorts of different ailments that will in turn grant them the ability to return to the casual and amateur sporting arenas. While innovations and changing attitudes surrounding the CBD space is bound to feed a desire to improve already elite athletes, it may well be in the everyday lives of everyday people that CBD shows its huge potential.
If social athletes and those simply wanting to improve their fitness are able to recover more quickly and as a result exercise more, the stepping stones to a healthier life, both mentally and physically, suddenly appear much less intimidating. CBD pain-relief and anti-inflammatories products have the potential to change the way we move and spark change that could aid in how we live our lives.