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CBD and Inflammation: Why Athletes Are Turning To CBD

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In varying degrees, almost all forms of physical activity are prone to inducing inflammation, pain, and/or swelling. The extent of inflammation obviously depends on the type and duration of physical activity. For example, contact sports such as boxing, football, and/or hockey are more conducive to injuries than golf or bowling. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for athletes of all sports to experience inflammation or pain in some capacity. Traditionally, athletes have used over the counter medications such as ibuprofen as an antidote to inflammation, and ice to reduce swelling. However, many athletes are now turning to CBD as a viable alternative, as CBD is known to possess a wide range of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen possess roughly as many health risks as they do health benefits. In fact, the FDA demanded in 2015 that manufacturers of NSAIDs strengthen the warnings of potential risks and side effects on their drug labels.

The risks associated with taking ibuprofen are numerous. One of the biggest risks is that of a heart attack and/or stroke. According to the FDA, taking NSAIDs increase one’s chances of having a heart attack or stroke even with short-term use, and the chances increase more over longer periods of use. Similarly, NSAIDs are also known to increase blood pressure and increase the likelihood of heart failure. People with heart disease are especially vulnerable to the cardiovascular side effects of NSAIDs, and should employ great caution when using them.

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Considering the negative side effects and risks associated with ibuprofen, it is no wonder that those seeking pain relief and help with inflammation are turning to CBD. Athletes in particular are in constant need of anti-inflammatory products, and the continual use of ibuprofen only increases their chances of heart-related problems. CBD offers a viable alternative as it provides all of the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs without the negative health risks.The body are equipped with what is known as the endocannabinoid system, which is a biological network of receptors that help maintain homeostasis. Cannabinoids such as CBD activate endocannabinoid receptors, which then combat inflammation in an entirely natural and organic way. Endurance athletes such as long distance runners, triathletes, and cyclists are especially prone to inflammation, in which CBD can help expedite the recovery process.

Furthermore, the accessibility and credibility of CBD as an alternative to NSAIDs is expanding greatly. With the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalizing hemp products as well as the World Doping Agency removing CBD from its list of banned substances, CBD use among athletes is continuing to grow and become less taboo. CBD is also a burgeoning area of research, which means that it might possess other uses for athletes in addition to pain relief. For example, one study revealed that CBD taken in smaller doses actually activates the same receptors as caffeine, which in turn induces a boost in energy. Another study suggests that CBD can act as a neuroprotectant. That is, CBD might help the brain recover from head trauma and/or concussions. Thus, not only is CBD is a great option for athletes seeking inflammation and pain relief with no negative side effects, it also has immense potential for helping athletes with other issues as well.

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