A Lot of Athletes Advocate for CBD as a Better Pain Relief
Pain relief is one of the supposed benefits of using CBD, and lots of athletes say it’s really a better option compared to other pain relief medications. Riley Cote, who played eight seasons in the National Hockey reckons he got into several fistfights during the time. Cote is a tough guy, and his main job is to keep the opponent’s team players in check when they get too physical on the ice.
By the time he retired in 2010, he was suffering from chronic pain, as a result of sustained repeated trauma to the body and brain. This worried him, as he wondered what would become of his mind as he gets older. However, in 2013 he tried CBD as an alternative solution to his chronic pain, and has not looked back since then. He now says he uses it at least twice every day.
During the opioid crisis, when there were repeated evidence showing the dangers of opioid to the brain, cannabidiol (CBD) came to the limelight as a wonder drug that can reduce opioid dependence. Consequently, the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2017 recognised CBD as a harmless substance that can be used for medicinal purposes. In that same year, David Stern, the former National Basketball Association commissioner recommended the league change its policies to allow players to make use of medicinal marijuana.
Now, of recent, the NFL partnered with the National Football League Players’ Association to study CBD and marijuana as alternatives to other pain relief therapies.
CBD is not addictive, and doesn’t affect the mental process of the consumers. This has led to many star athletes advocating for its use. For example, former Boston Celtic Paul Pierce, former New York Giants receiver Tiki Barber, and the just retired New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski all run their own CBD companies that advertises CBD as a powerful painkiller. Their support for the substance has somewhat raised its national awareness among many athletes.
Nevertheless, the question now is whether there is enough scientific evidence to back up their claims for CBD as a better painkiller. Even though, scientists believe that CBD can actually alleviate chronic pains and inflammation, it’s still a mystery as to what it actually does to achieve this, and the proper dosages and/or delivery methods for the substance. Jeffery Raber, the CEO of the Werc Shop, a CBD lab in California says that, “Large numbers of people are seeing anecdotal benefits, so there’s something there. I don’t think we’re very close to having figured it out yet.”
CBD is an extract from marijuana or hemp. It’s a non-psychoactive compound, unlike THC, which is the most psychoactive compound in weed. CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body that help regulate many functions in the body such as pain, sleep, appetite, the reproductive system and memory. Research has shown that CBD won’t get you intoxicated, but it possesses a significant amount of curative powers when tested on rodents.
For example, one study discovered that applying CBD cream on the joints of rats afflicted with arthritis helped to reduce a significant amount of inflammation on the rodents.
Admittedly, the metabolism of rats works different from that of humans, as they don’t suffer the same conditions. More still, when it comes to something as complex as pains, it’s better studied in humans and not rodents. Andrea Hohmann, a CBD researcher at the university of Indiana agrees, and says that more clinical trials and research are needed to fully ascertain the potency of CBD on humans.
Hohmann is quite fascinated on the potentials of using CBD – a compound that appears relatively safe when compared to other powerful painkillers like fentanyl or oxycontin. There have been reports of several retired NFL players using opioids, which is not that safe. So, a new medication like CBD will make a huge impact.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) believes as well that CBD may have a huge potential as a pain relief therapy, and have announced nine new research grants devoted to investigating the potentials of CBD as an alternative pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication.
Cote, who is also running his own CBD business, doesn’t go a day without taking the drug. He says he takes one pill of CBD in the morning to help with inflammation and pain management, and then a tincture at night to aid sleep. He also uses a topical cream during the day if he is sore from a workout.
However, unlike other pain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin with labelled boxes indicating dosages, there is no labelling telling Cote how much to take at each point in time. So, he adjusts the dosages according to how his body responds to the substance.
Another thing, one might ask whether it’s only pure CBD that’s helping Cote. This is not quite clear, as CBD products are yet to be properly standardized. Some of them could come with a mixture of other substance, especially in those states where weed is still prohibited, and no state-owned infrastructure to test the products. More still, every tincture, tonic and cream has its own unique formula. In addition, while some contain certain amount of marijuana chemicals, others don’t.
According to Hohmann, “CBD is probably what one might refer to as a dirty drug.” This means that the mechanisms of the drug are very sensitive to its mode of consumption and environment. There are other compounds in marijuana such as THC, terpenoids, etc., and this could affect how CBD is processed by many individuals. In addition, genetic variation will affect how people react to the drug.
In the meantime, there is yet to be a solid scientific backing on the use of CBD for athletes. Professional sports such as Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association are yet to recognise CBD as a safe drug for athletes.A positive drug test on any athlete could land them in a substance abuse program. If you’re a pro-CBD athlete, you’ve to take things easy and wait till it’s acceptable in the leagues. However, the leagues’ acceptance is not the only issue here, as CBD is still illegal in most states.