In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed cannabidiol from its list of prohibited controlled substances. The move is one of many positive developments around CBD in recent years as more and more athletes and  fitness buffs turn to the compound for aid.

CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, it does not contain any psychoactive effects. That’s why the World Anti-Doping Agency decided to remove CBD from it’s list of banned substances. CBD is the only cannabinoid approved for use by the agency.

Studies around the health benefits of CBD indicate it has the potential to be an effective supplement in the fitness realm. The compound can help reduce chronic aches and pains, relieve tension, reduce soreness, and promote sleep.

In recent years, a number of professional athletes have talked about their CBD use publicly. These include NFL linebacker Derrick Morgan, retired NFL player Eugene Monroe, and mixed martial artist Gina Mazany. CBD can be taken at night to increase energy for your morning workout or competition. It can also aid recovery following a big game, marathon or workout.

Here are three ways CBD supplements can help athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Pain and Injury

Professional athletes and other fitness junkies like runners often suffer from pain or injuries from years of wear and tear on their joints. Often times, the strain can lead to painful and costly surgeries with lengthy recovery times. In other situations, these people deal with chronic pain. While CBD can’t heal a serious injury, it has been proven particularly effective at reducing joint pain and inflammation.

According to 2016 article in the European Journal of Pain topical CBD application has been found to have therapeutic potential in relieving arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation. The report indicates not evidence of side-effects. Another study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that CBD is effective in helping heal bone fractures.

Based on this research, it’s no wonder CBD retailers offer a variety of topical CBD treatments including lotions and balms. These can be massaged into the skin to alleviate aches and pains. Athletes looking to try out the substance can also add CBD concentrate to the topical treatments they already use.

Energy

For years, people have been taking CBD to reduce anxiety. Relaxation is one of the substance’s main health benefits. This can be especially beneficial for athletes. CBD can help people get to sleep easier and it can also help people achieve a more deep and restful sleep. Taking CBD before sleep can make people feel more energized in the morning and lead to a better workout.

Additionally, while CBD can promote sleep, it can also have a caffeinating effect when taken in smaller doses. The substance interacts with the same adenosine receptors as caffeine and can therefore make users feel like they have more energy. With this added boost, people can workout longer and stronger.

Other products usually consumed for endurance, like energy drinks, can be harmful. Energy drink users have reported health problems such as high blood pressure and even heart attacks. CBD has not been found to produce the same side effects and when taken before a workout, it can increase your stamina.

Recovery

Whether you’re a professional athlete coming off a season or a runner trying to recover after a marathon, CBD can help ease the process. CBD supplements are a great way to stimulate muscle recovery after a workout and can help people get back to training sooner.

When a person engages in any kind of intense physical fitness activity their muscles are broken down. After you work out, your body repairs these muscle tears to help your body grow back stronger. The process is necessary for building and toning muscles, which ultimately improves your athletic performance. However, recovery often leaves people feeling sore.

CBD can reduce inflammation and ease anxiety to speed up the recovery process and help you relax. In water or oil form, the substance can be added to a post workout drink or meal. Additionally, baths are a great way to unwind after a fitness class. Adding CBD to your bath water can enhance the experience.

Additionally, a report in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research indicates CBD can help athletes build more muscle by impacting cortisol secretion. The study found that subjects who took CBD experienced a significant decrease in cortisol levels in their blood. As a result, CBD has the potential to slow the breakdown of muscle mass.

How to Proceed

Athletes should proceed with caution when taking CBD. Some CBD products might contain trace elements of tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound in cannabis that gets users high and it remains on the list of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. When purchasing CBD, do your research and be aware of the ingredients in the product you buy.

It’s always advisable to consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen. CBD is no different. You should talk to your doctor about CBD to determine which dosage and treatment options might work for you.