CBD for athletes & sports recovery

If you are an athlete you know what it is like to push your body through a workout or competition. It is normal to feel a little sore or tired after an intense exercise. But if you want to achieve the best results for your body you also need to focus on how you recover. Regardless of whether you workout a few times a week or compete in a sport at the professional level, proper rest and recovery are important to reaching peak performance and avoiding injury.

Recently, athletes have found a new option to help improve their recovery for sports and exercise, CBD. CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical derived from the cannabis plant. It is safe, legal, doesn’t get you high, and is allowed by leading sports organizations. Plus, many people have found CBD to be a great alternative to Aleve and other over-the-counter drugs for pain and inflammation after a workout.

There is extensive scientific research and anecdotal accounts that highlight the benefits for athletes taking CBD. In this article, we will dive into how using CBD can help athletes with improved athletic performance and recovery.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of over 85 chemical compounds present within cannabis plants (hemp or marijuana). CBD is commonly consumed in an oil that you put under your tongue and then swallow, but it can also be found in edible products, lotions/creams, capsules and other products.

Another well-known chemical from cannabis is THC, which is the chemical responsible for the high in marijuana. But the difference between CBD and THC could not be starker. CBD is federally legal in the US and no matter how much CBD oil you consume you will not get high. In addition to athletes using CBD oil, research has begun to show promising results for many other health and wellness conditions including, epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety, pain, and weight loss.

The simplified science of CBD

Scientists have identified a system in humans called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which naturally produces and responds to chemicals similar to CBD. The ECS receptors are located throughout the body, brain, spinal cord and other tissues.

Consuming CBD can supplement or increase the activity of your body’s existing ECS activity. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors to regulate the body’s response to stimuli resulting in anti-inflammatory effects, reducing anxiety, improving sleep quality and more.

How can it help athletes?

The effects of CBD for athletes are wide-ranging with benefits during and after the workout. While the research is still in early stages, there is evidence to show that taking CBD can help in the following ways that translate to sports performance:

Inflammation reduction

Inflammation during or after a workout is very common, and is a symptom of a common condition called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This inflammation is a natural protective reaction by your body to help heal the microscopic muscle tears that occur during intense exercise and result in muscle growth. But when the body overreacts and causes excessive inflammation it can hinder recovery and performance. This is where CBD plays an important role. According to research, CBD helps moderate the body’s inflammatory response to allow for faster recovery and less exercise induced pain.


Getting more and better quality sleep is crucial to an athlete in training. Many athletes have found that taking CBD can ease the process of falling asleep and helps them get a more restful night’s sleep. This is supported by research, which shows CBD is effective for helping with insomnia and getting people onto a consistent sleep routine. Therefore, when the athlete is fully rested it allows their body to fully recuperate and helps them to be more focused.


When an athlete has a big event or game coming up they can get nerves, lose focus, and become anxious. Fortunately, CBD has been shown in scientific study to be an effective option for reducing anxiety in stressful situations by moderating the body’s chemical response to stress.

Is It a performance enhancer?

When it comes to sports, some competitors are continually searching for that edge over the competition. But, can CBD be that edge? Obviously CBD has its benefits for athletes, but it is completely legal. The use of CBD for athletes was given the green light when World Anti-Doping Agency and the US Anti-Doping Agency removed it from the list of prohibited substances. That means that athletes can use CBD for their training and also during official competitions. However, it’s important to note that other components, such as THC and synthetic cannabinoids, remain prohibited. Daddy Burt Hemp Co., a company located in Lexington, Kentucky offers a THC Free CBD oil which is excellent for athletes.

A safe alternative

Over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) have been used by athletes for many years. But these drugs may not be a safe long term solution. For example, a New York Times article warned against the regular use of NSAIDs such as Aleve which can increase the risk of life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, worsened kidney function, and other side effects. Athletes taking CBD should know that it has been shown to help with long-term pain management without the life-threatening side-effects. That is why many athletes are now switching to CBD products and reducing their use of NSAIDs for exercise-related pain and inflammation.

Athletes using CBD

The benefits of taking CBD sound excellent, but are real athletes taking CBD? Yes! One of the biggest names in golf, Bubba Watson, recently became a user and public endorser of CBD products. There are unconfirmed reports that elite golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are also using CBD. Several current and former NFL players have also spoken publicly about the benefits of CBD for athletes including: Eugene Monroe, Derrick Morgan, and Terrell Davis.

Concluding thoughts on CBD

As you can see, the use of CBD is on the rise and athletes can really benefit. The effects of CBD for athletes are widely documented, both scientifically and anecdotally with promising results. It’s helping athletes at all levels of competition with pain relief, inflammation, sleep, and anxiety. If it works for them, it could be an interesting new option that could help you recover faster and feel better after your workouts as well.

Sean Cope is focused on educating people about the benefits of CBD through writing articles that are supported by scientific evidence. He is the Director of Marketing for Daddy Burt Hemp Co., a leader in the CBD industry that sells CBD oil, CBD gummies, and more. Daddy Burt’s products are among only 20 companies that have been certified by the U.S Hemp Authority. Daddy Burt Hemp Co. is the rekindling of a family legacy in Kentucky hemp farming that dates back over 100 years. For more, visit https://daddyburt.com/shop-cbd/ or https://daddyburt.com


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