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  • by Nicola Boulton August 30, 2022 5 min read

    Is CBD Beneficial for Athletes?

    Athletes should consider broad-spectrum or isolate CBD because full spectrum CBD has traces of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has intoxicating effects that can make you fail a drug test.

    As an athlete, the last thing you wish for is to be kicked out of the race because you are intoxicated. Although there is limited research on the impact of CBD on athletes, the available ones show promising outcomes in dealing with various health conditions such as inflammation, joint pain, and muscle soreness.

    Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) has shown promising results in addressing various health conditions. THC has intoxicating effects, which should be a big concern to athletes. CBD is offered in isolate (pure), broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum (whole plant). It is important to understand the types of CBD to determine which one won't mess up your sport. Learn more about can you overdose on cbd?

    Is CBD Legal?

    Various factors determine the legality of CBD products within the US and worldwide. CBD is one of the various cannabinoids found in hemp, and it improves human health and wellness. In the US, hemp-based CBD was legalized by Congress through the 2018 Farm Bill after multiple clinical trials showed promising results, and others were successful on its health benefits.

    However, THC is a dominant compound in marijuana and hemp. According to Crippa et al. (2016), THC has intoxicating side effects that result in anxiety, dizziness, red eyes, and dry lips. As a result, the farm bill restricted THC levels to below 0.3%, the levels exhibited in the hemp plant. Marijuana-based CBD is neither legal in most states nor safe for athletes due to its psychoactive properties.

    Although CBD is legal if the THC levels are below 0.3%, the Farm Bill mandates states to develop laws regulating its usage and production. As a result, states like Idaho, among other states, restricted the use of CBD products, including medicinal value. Fortunately, CBD is legal in 38 states in the US.

    Benefits of CBD

    CBD has various therapeutic properties. Furthermore, you don't have to worry about any intoxicating or side effects since it lacks THC. As an athlete, you can use CBD for;

    Reducing Pain

    Muscle pain and inflammation are common for athletes due to intensive exercises. Therefore, you need to find a permanent or durable solution to address either. CBD products are fully organic with active ingredients such as terpenes, flavonoids, and even traces of THC, which are suitable for pain and inflammation.

    According to Gallily, Yekhtin & Lumir (2018), THC has anti-inflammatory properties suitable for reducing inflammation. However, it might not be a good option for athletes. Consider either broad-spectrum or full spectrum CBD.

    According to de Assis et al. (2021), CBD delivers an entourage effect suitable for addressing neuropathic pain if taken at considerable potency. Besides, pure or isolate CBD is also good for athletes due to the absence of THC. According to Atalay et al. (2020), CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that might suit athletes.

    Side Effects of CBD

    Although CBD oil has various potential health benefits for athletes, it can cause various negative effects. According to Chesney Edward et al. (2020), CBD has multiple negative implications, especially in high potencies. The effects are fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in weight and appetite. Therefore, seek medical advice before prioritizing CBD for health benefits to avoid these side effects.

    Types of CBD

    As an athlete interested in the health benefits of CBD, knowing the types of CBD is important to avoid any negative side effects. Each type (full spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD) has independent implications you should know to determine which one suits you. Learn more about cbd delivery methods

    Full Spectrum CBD

    Although full-spectrum CBD oil is the most dominant and associated with various health benefits, it is not friendly for athletes. Due to traces of THC, you can be banned from competitions. Although THC levels in hemp-based CBD products are below 0.3%, serious drug tests such as blood tests can detect it, landing you in trouble of intoxication. Therefore, it is wise to avoid full spectrum CBD before competitions completely. If you have been using it, clear it out by increasing your water intake, which speeds up metabolism.

    Broad Spectrum

    Broad-spectrum CBD is the most recommended type of CBD for athletes. It exhibits the entourage effect and lowers potential intoxication effects because it lacks THC. Furthermore, it has other cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG and other essential compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids.

    The entourage effect is the ability of various chemical elements to work harmoniously to provide more health benefits than intended. For example, if broad-spectrum CBD is meant for joint pain for athletes, it can also help them lower stress and anxiety levels before the competitions. However, the dosage consumed also determines the intensity of the therapeutic effects.

    Isolate CBD

    Isolate CBD is also a suitable solution for athletes. It has only one element from the organic hemp plant; cannabidiol (CBD). Pure CBD can also help athletes gain therapeutic benefits from the hemp plant without interacting with THC. However, it is only effective at higher dosages.

    According to Liu Tina (2019), overdosing on CBD can cause anxiety and dizziness, interfering with your performance.

    What to Consider

    An athlete using CBD for health benefits should consider various factors before using hemp-based products.

    First, confirm it is hemp-based and not marijuana-based. Marijuana-based CBD can mess you up due to high THC levels that will automatically show in a drug test.

    Also, consider the potency levels to avoid overdosing unknowingly. The FDA has sent warnings to various brands for mislabeling their products. The warnings should act as a red flag against a brand. Such brands exploit users and lie about their ingredients, using marijuana instead of hemp.

    Lastly, confirming the purity levels is equally important to avoid any chemical solvents that will interfere with the purity of your products. Notably, avoid brands without lab results from a certified lab. The brand should be willing to offer customers purity and potency verification results by providing their Certificate of Analysis.


    CBD products can benefit athletes by lowering pain and inflammation. Besides, broad-spectrum CBD is effective since it delivers an entourage effect promoting other health and wellness benefits, for example, lowering stress and anxiety levels ahead of the competition.

    Also, avoid full spectrum CBD because it has traces of THC which can make you fail a drug test, thus making you in trouble. Also, avoid marijuana-based CBD since its intoxication levels are over 10%. If you have been using full spectrum CBD for a long time and feel you might fail the drug test, consider increasing your dosage and water intake. This will speed up metabolism, clearing the substances in your systems.

    Furthermore, avoid CBD products without lab results since they might make you overdose unknowingly. Lastly, seek medical advice from your doctor before using CBD for any health benefits associated with athletes.


    Crippa, J. A., Crippa, A. C., Hallak, J. E., Martín-Santos, R., & Zuardi, A. W. (2016). Δ9-THC intoxication by cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extract in two children with refractory epilepsy: full remission after switching to purified cannabidiol. Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, 359.

    Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants, 9(1), 21.

    Chesney, E., Oliver, D., Green, A., Sovi, S., Wilson, J., Englund, A., ... & McGuire, P. (2020). Adverse effects of cannabidiol: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Neuropsychopharmacology, 45(11), 1799-1806.

    Liu, T. (2019). What is CBD Oil? Learn the Facts: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects.

    de Assis, P. M., Ferrarini, E. G., Baldasso, G. M., Paes, R. S., Gouvêa, M. C., Segundo, C. E. N., ... & Raposo, N. R. B. (2021). Broad-spectrum Cannabis oil alleviates behavioral symptoms associated with stress-related anxiety and depression in mice. Pharmaceutical Sciences, 28(2), 239-250.

    Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., & Hanuš, L. O. (2018). The anti-inflammatory properties of terpenoids from cannabis. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 3(1),



    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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