Can CBD Enhance an Athlete’s Performance?

Can you imagine what life would be like without sports? Most people look forward to the weekend to banter about sports. But athletes need to always be mentally and physically in tip-top condition. Is there a chance that CBD can improve an athlete’s performance?

To excel in any sport, your mental and physical health is of paramount importance. There are various time-tested techniques that athletes use to improve their mental and physical wellness, and some of these techniques include working out and having the right lifestyle. But it seems that various products play a supplementary role.

One of these products is CBD. Since shortly after becoming legal, this cannabis compound has been trending in the wellness industry. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant, and it has no psychotropic effects [1].

Is CBD Legal for Athletes?

Athletes are usually subjected to rules that don’t necessarily apply to citizens. And one of the areas where sports governing bodies are particularly tough is around banned substances.

Stimulants, hormones, and anabolic agents are some of the prohibited substances. CBD may have been banned previously, but since CBD became federally legal, various regulatory organizations have permitted athletes to use CBD.

Cannabidiol has been scrubbed from the list of banned substances by The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) [2].

But then not every CBD-infused product is authorized by sports governing bodies. Supposing the CBD product contains other banned substances, using it would land the athlete in trouble. And so, the athlete should take the responsibility of buying and consuming only quality CBD products.

If an athlete feels that CBD can help them become a better athlete, they should 100% use it. It’s not illegal.

Which Athletes Take CBD?

As CBD has become a popular product in the wellness industry, and more people than ever before are buying it, even the athletes are not getting left behind.

Many athletes have claimed that they use CBD frequently, as CBD enables them to become better versions of themselves. Some athletes have even started their own CBD brands.

Tiger woods, Megan Rapinoe, and Mike Tyson are some of the star athletes that ingest CBD regularly. Tiger Woods and Mike Tyson also have business interests in the cannabis industry.

Many athletes from different sports are into CBD, but many of them won’t come out to say it. But there’s one sport whose players are heavy CBD users: golf. All the evidence suggests that golfers have a tremendous attraction to CBD products.

CBD Benefits: How CBD Helps Athletes Improve Their Performance

Research on CBD isn’t extensive, but preliminary studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggest that CBD has numerous therapeutic benefits [3]. Many athletes use CBD to experience the following benefits:

1. Recover from Exercises

As an athlete, working out is an essential thing. It preserves your physical form and allows you to shine during games. But then some intensive workout regimens can leave you fatigued. CBD has excellent relaxation properties to help you recover after a workout.

2. Manage Anxiety

As an athlete, you’re invariably subjected to pressure from fans, teammates, and even coaches. If your anxiety is not in check, it can easily ruin your performance. CBD may help with minimizing anxiety and triggering mental calm and relaxation.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is a by-product of the body’s defense reaction, where the immune system attacks harmful agents. Inflammation is typically characterized by symptoms like swelling, redness, and pain. As an athlete, if you have one or more inflamed parts, it becomes difficult to perform. But CBD is suggested to help with managing inflammation.

4. Pain-Relief Properties

When you engage in contact sports, injuries are not very far. But when you pick up an injury, it typically lowers your physical health and potentially causes you to miss games. CBD has excellent analgesic properties and may be consumed in diverse forms to mitigate pain.

5. Improve Sleep Quality

As an athlete, one of the drivers of excellence is quality sleep. This means you should receive adequate and restful sleep every night. But sadly, some athletes battle with various sleep disorders that deny them quality sleep. Taking CBD shortly before bed may help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deep and relaxing sleep.

6. Increase Focus

Poor focus can minimize your potential and cost you games. Whether one is a solo athlete, or they play as a team, they need to be always focused. CBD has been suggested to help with increasing focus. And being focused allows you to give your best.

How Much CBD Should An Athlete Take?

To enjoy CBD benefits without any side effects, you need to take the correct dosage. But supposing you ingest more than the recommended amount, it’s not good in the long term.

There’s no standard dosage that is ideal for every athlete out there. But the correct dosage is determined by various factors including age, sex, and metabolism.

According to experts, athletes may ingest anywhere from 100 milligrams to 500 milligrams per day, without any side effects.

Which Type of CBD is Ideal for Athletes?

There are three types of CBD: isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum CBD. Each of these types of CBD has its pros and cons.

Isolate CBD is the purest form of CBD. It is made up of more than 95% cannabidiol, and most of the other compounds and cannabinoids have been removed.

Broad spectrum CBD is a common CBD type. It consists of all the naturally-occurring compounds and cannabinoids except THC. Most people that don’t wish to ingest even trace amounts of THC usually go for broad spectrum CBD.

Full spectrum CBD refers to a form of CBD that contains all the naturally occurring compounds and cannabinoids, including THC. These compounds and cannabinoids work in unison to boost the therapeutic potential of CBD in a process known as the entourage effect [4].

The ideal type of CBD is dependent on the precise effects that an athlete is looking for. But generally, most athletes are drawn to full spectrum CBD.

What CBD Product is the Best for An Athlete?

There are diverse forms of CBD products: gummies, tinctures, topicals, vaporizers, and so on. Different products are suitable in different circumstances. For instance, if an athlete has an injury, then CBD topicals are ideal; if they are ingesting CBD for post-workout recovery, then tinctures are ideal; and if they want to just relax, then gummies are ideal. But then oral ingestion means that the CBD will be metabolized, which slows down the activation of CBD effects and also lowers bioavailability.

The Takeaway: CBD for Sports and Athletic Performance

As the demand for CBD soars, it appears that even athletes are taking advantage of this cannabis supplement. Athletes are ingesting CBD products for diverse reasons like post-workout recovery, anxiety relief, pain relief, and supercharge their performance.


  • Golombek, P., Müller, M., Barthlott, I., Sproll, C., & Lachenmeier, D. W. (2020). Conversion of cannabidiol (CBD) into psychotropic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): a controversy in the scientific literature. Toxics8(2), 41.
  • Lachenmeier, D. W., & Diel, P. (2019). A warning against the negligent use of cannabidiol in professional and amateur athletes. Sports7(12), 251.
  • Pamplona, F. A., da Silva, L. R., & Coan, A. C. (2018). Potential clinical benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts over purified CBD in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis. Frontiers in neurology9, 759.
  • Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., … & Weller, A. (2020). The “entourage effect”: terpenes coupled with cannabinoids for the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Current neuropharmacology18(2), 87-96.

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