Since NBA season is sadly over, there is only one thing that fills that void, more basketball. Ice Cube’s created, The BIG3, a 3 on 3 basketball league consisting of 12 teams. Not to say any favorites, but have you seen Ghost Ballers warmups? Didn’t think so.
Like NBA teams, there are sponsors. In BIG3, the entire league is sponsored by cbdMD. cbdMD is a company that supplies all natural, THC-free, CBD oil products. This certified company gears to serving consumers to receive the full benefits of CBD in a safe manner.
“Last year, BIG3 became the first professional sports league in the U.S to allow players to use CBD for pain treatment and recovery,” said league co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz. “We did this out of compassion for our guys because CBD an help them without enhancing their performance or having an intoxicating effect. It’s a win win.”
Currently under the NFL and NBA rules, if a player fails a drug test then they receive a multi-game suspension. The trouble lyes in dealing with regulation. Since medical marijuana and other CBD products are hard to regulate, the NFL and NBA are still leery about permitting their athletes to use it.
Studies have shown cannabis (mostly THC and far less CBD) is effective for reducing pain, including musculoskeletal pain from exercise, as well as stiff joints. There is little research on CBD alone or a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. This is an area where anecdotal evidence and biological plausibility are the best we have until research catches up. Despite the lack of hard evidence, CBD does appear to relieve pain effectively for many athletes.
Alternative to NSAIDs
Athletes have been consuming over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) for decades, but they may not be as safe as we once thought. Ultradistance athletes, in particular, are typically advised to avoid NSAIDs during long training sessions and events, due to increased risk of renal damage. But even if your workouts and events are short, long-term or frequent use of NSAIDs may increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Some athletes have found the pain relieving effect of CBD can reduce or eliminate their use of NSAIDS for exercise-related pain, with minimal side effects. According to The Essentials of Pain Medicine, Fourth Ed., “There are no documented deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based products. In a systemic review of studies of oral and oral-mucosal cannabis for various medical conditions, the majority of adverse events reports were considered non-serious (96.6%).”
Alternative to Opioids
According to the CDC, in 2016 opioids were involved in more than 42,000 deaths in the US. Opioid pain medications (i.e. morphine, codeine, oxycontin) are highly effective for pain management, but carry a significant risk of addiction and death by overdose. Cannabinoids are not as effective as opioids for relieving acute, high-intensity pain, but may be effective for long-term pain management – either alone or in conjunction with other medications – with far less risk of dependence or accidental death.
A little bit of inflammation can be good for athletes and help stimulate positive training adaptations. Too much inflammation hinders recovery and hurts performance. There are CB2 receptors in both the brain and periphery, but they are more concentrated in immune tissues. Cannabinoids binding to CB2 receptors may have an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing cytokine (cell messengers) production. In other words, CBD bound to CB2 receptors help dial down the response when your immune system sounds the alarm after hard workouts.
Settle your gut
Inflammation in the small and large intestines causes a lot of discomfort, and GI distress is one of the leading reasons endurance athletes drop out of races. CBD won’t solve stomach problems from dehydration and overheating (two major causes for athletes), but if you have underlying inflammation issues that contribute to gut problems during or after exercise, CBD may be effective for reducing your symptoms. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors in the colon. Colitis symptoms were inhibited (in mice) when CB1 and CB2 receptors were activated.
Improve Sleep Quality
Getting more and better sleep is one of the most effective ways an athlete can achieve greater training gains. Anecdotally, athletes who consume CBD report greater ease going to sleep and a more restful night’s sleep. One potential reason for this could be CBD inhibiting the reuptake of adenosine.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) breaks down as your brain burns carbohydrate for energy, and adenosine gradually accumulates in the brain. More adenosine binding to neurons inhibits the release of neurotransmitters, slowing down brain activity, helping you feel calmer, and inducing sleep. Your body metabolizes adenosine as you sleep, and some time later, low concentrations of adenosine help you wake up and the process starts again.
By binding to same receptors adenosine would bind to, CBD may inhibit adenosine reuptake, which helps it accumulate more quickly and makes you feel sleepy sooner. CBD may also have a potent anti-anxiety effect for some people, which can help them get to sleep and have more restful sleep.
Source: Chris Carmichael, CEO/Head Coach of CTS
As CBD products become more and more popular in the consumer market, the benefits of using these products are getting noticed. With BIG3 taking the first step in US sports, it will be interesting to see who, if any, will follow suit.