Does CBD Affect Athletes Differently?

July 23, 2018

Recognizing that the natural balancing effects of daily CBD can vary from person-to-person, athletes often tailor how they use the compound in their training to what works best for them.

If you have already made CBD a part of your training routine, then you are already familiar with how the natural compound influences your physical performance and makes you feel. If you are new to CBD, perhaps you are curious as to what to expect when taking the product.

In short, it depends. While CBD has revealed itself in studies as being safe for everyone, how you and your body respond to taking a CBD product can be different from someone else.

CBD elicits its natural balancing effects by interacting with the body’s native systems and their receptors. How these effects reveal themselves can vary by person. If we were to ask all of our athletic customers to name the primary benefit they get from Dixie Botanicals® CBD products, we would receive a wide variety of answers.

CBD and Its Effects on the Body

CBD is an all-natural non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants like hemp. Like all cannabinoids, CBD has a chemical structure that allows it to interact with specialized receptors in the body, called cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoid receptors are part of your body’s endocannabinoid system, the major regulatory network that keeps important functions — such as metabolism, sleep, and immune response — in balance and running optimally. These cannabinoid receptors are found on cells in the peripheral nervous system, immune system, and the central nervous system.

There are two major types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. CBD does not bind directly with either of these receptors, but it indirectly affects their signaling by acting as an “indirect antagonist” of cannabinoid agonists. In layman’s terms, CBD helps prevent other chemicals to activate the two receptors.

CBD has also shown to interact with other non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain, such as 5-HT1A receptors to influence the regulation of serotonin, and the vanilloid receptor TRPV-1.

How Does CBD Affect an Athlete?

All of the interactions between CBD and receptors help keep your body running at its best. CBD’s stimulation of the endocannabinoid system through its receptors in the brain and elsewhere encourages the system and its efforts to efficiently regulate functions. This is how CBD supports balance, boosts athletic performance, and facilitates recovery.

CBD’s influence on cannabinoid receptors does not, however, cause any euphoric effects. In other words, CBD products will not get you “high.”

The euphoric effects you think of when you think of marijuana come from another cannabinoid, THC. THC binds directly with CB1 receptors, which causes a high.

For athletes who want to perform at their best, this is key. It is also the reason why many prefer CBD over THC products.

Because CBD doesn’t directly bind with CB1 receptors like THC does, using CBD products will NOT cause any temporary euphoric effects that adversely impact your:  

  • Sensory awareness
  • Perception
  • Behavior
  • Consciousness
  • Reaction time

How using CBD products makes an athlete feel varies. We’ve heard some describe the sensation as “being in the flow” or “having a calm mind.” Others have said they feel “more awake” or “energized” after taking a serving.

There are also some who come to find CBD doesn’t make them feel any particular sensation immediately after taking their product. Instead, they notice that adding CBD to their daily routine makes them generally “feel better” day-to-day and “sleep more soundly” at night.

 soccer cbd effects

Why Do Athletes Respond Differently to CBD?

CBD’s influence on the endocannabinoid system and other receptor systems tends to affect some athletes differently. Everyone metabolizes all substances — including CBD products — in different ways.

How you will respond to taking CBD can be influenced by:  

  • Your genetics: Some naturally have more endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors, which is partly determined by your genetic makeup.
  • Your biological sex: Generally, females are more sensitive to cannabinoids, which may be related to naturally higher estrogen levels.    
  • Your lifestyle: How you train, eat, and manage stress can influence your endocannabinoid system and how it responds to CBD.
  • Your physical health: Health conditions can alter biochemistry, potentially influencing how the body responds to cannabinoids like CBD.
  • Your body fat: Athletes with a higher body mass index typically need higher servings of CBD to experience the same natural effects.
  • Your personal tolerance: Athletes who consume cannabinoids on a more regular basis often respond differently than those who do not.

There are other factors that can influence how CBD oil affects you, including:

swimming cbd effects

How to Figure Out How to Best Use CBD In Your Training Regimen

It is pretty simple to figure out how best to add CBD to your training routine based on how it personally affects. It requires just a little trial and error.

As with any new health routine, it is a good idea to begin with a smaller serving size and gradually work your way up. While monitoring how you feel, every week or two bump up your CBD serving as needed as you discover how the natural benefits of CBD will affect you.

Once you’ve dialed in on a good serving size and have a grasp on how taking CBD products makes you feel, you can adjust the timing of your daily servings.

Many athletes prefer to take their daily CBD in the morning or just before a workout or competition, because they believe it helps them find their flow and naturally boost performance. Others opt to take their CBD afterward, feeling like it’s best for encouraging more efficient recovery. If CBD makes you feel “relaxed,” you may find that taking your CBD in the evening as you’re winding down for the day is best.

When first experimenting with CBD prior to a practice or competition, it is suggested that you choose one that is routine or in the off-season, rather than before an important game or competition.

Best Place to Buy CBD Products

You can learn even more about CBD to decide whether it’s right for you by visiting our blog, or get started adding CBD to your training today through the HempMeds® online CBD shop.