CBD in Sports Nutrition: Risks and Benefits

CBD in Sports Nutrition: Risks and Benefits

CBD has been gaining a lot of attention in the sports world lately, and a lot has been written about it in major publications. More and more athletes are curious about CBD oil power to help them recuperate after hard workouts, ease muscle pain, or relieve the stress associated with constant hard training. Want to know more about the benefits of adding CBD to your nutrition plan? This article shows you how CBD oil and athletic performance can be the perfect match. Stay tuned for more detailed information. 

CBD and sport


CBD and Sports: Properties of Cannabidiol

CBD can be extracted directly from the hemp plant, or it can be synthesized in a laboratory. On the market, CBD can be found in a variety of products such as oils, aerosols, pills, tinctures, vaporizers, or balms.

The effect of “full” or “broad spectrum” CBD (i.e., not in isolated form, but together with other phytocannabinoids and terpene phenolic compounds) is dose-dependent. CBD has a low affinity for our body’s natural cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 and may enhance endogenous cannabinoids.

Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD

In many sports and health area, pain and inflammation are always on the agenda. Many remedies can be used in these cases. Still, the athlete should be especially aware of the side effects and the possible restrictions associated with the use of doping substances.

The pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have been known since the 1980s.

CBD can reduce the activity of various inflammation markers such as cytokines, prostaglandins E2 (PGE2), cyclooxygenase activity, nitric oxide, and the production of oxygen-derived free radicals, and can reduce the formation of edema.


CBD also has promising analgesic effects, as demonstrated in several models of inflammatory and chronic pain. It regulates the production of pro-inflammatory agents and interacts with targets involved in pain perception.

From this data, it is clear that athletes can benefit from CBD for the treatment of pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with injuries. CBD could be an alternative to NSAIDs, opioids, or corticosteroids in nutrition and exercise combination.

Despite the lack of research on the use of CBD in sports injury management, sports nutritionists claim there is evidence of potential use for osteoarthritis, neuropathy, pain, and concussion.

Besides, CBD syrup can reduce allodynia (painful impulse anticipated after a harmless stimulus) and hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain) and has proven particularly effective in reducing chronic pain.

CBD products


Anxiolytic action of CBD

Like all people, athletes also face situations that cause unnecessary anxiety or fear. Managing anxiety before, during, and after athletic performance is essential for athletes to avoid developing anxiety disorders that can lead to decreased performance and affect recovery.

In these cases, adding CBD in sports nutrition can prove extremely beneficial due to its anxiolytic properties, supported by numerous preclinical studies in various animal models of innate fear and behavioral anxiety.

In humans, CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in a variety of contexts. These effects are associated with the activation of 5-HT1A receptors and/or an indirect increase in endocannabinoid transmission in areas of the brain involved in anxiety, such as the limbic system and the brain structure. Besides, some studies show that CBD can facilitate the process of ending fear, both in animal models and in humans.

This means that it helps to forget adverse events. This property can help athletes recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can occur after musculoskeletal injuries or concussions.

CBD and sleep disorders

Back in 1970, some authors noted that CBD could affect sleep in humans.

These findings are not surprising, given that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Various studies show that CBD may have opposite effects based on the dose used and act primarily when changing the sleep-wake cycle.

These studies indicate a biphasic effect: at low doses of CBD in nutrition for athletes, it has an increase in wakefulness, and high doses, it has a calming effect that makes sleep easier.

While the mechanisms behind these properties of CBD remain elucidated, preliminary observations highlight CBD’s role as a potential tool for managing sleep and sleepiness in athletes.

In some sports, such as endurance racing or marathons, staying awake can be a determining factor. In contrast, sleep loss due to anxiety is common in athletes and harms cognitive and physiological function with a consequent decline in athletic performance.


Based on the above, it can be concluded that CBD has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anxiolytic properties and may interfere with the sleep-wake cycle. Thus, CBD is considered a promising compound in sports to help athletes cope with injury, anxiety, stress, or sleep disturbances.

CBD oil is a safe, natural supplement with many medicinal uses, so it is ultimately ideal for professional athletes and sports enthusiasts, bringing a lot of benefits for fitness and nutrition.

Have you ever tried to add any CBD products to your sports nutrition? What kind of CBD intake is your favorite? Do not hesitate to share your experience with us in the comment section below. 

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