The year 2017 is finally coming to an end, and you should be excited for next year. Medical marijuana activists have been fighting hard for steps in the right direction, and finally, we have taken one. The Anti-Doping Agency has declared that athletes can finally use CBD oil. This says a lot about where we are with marijuana, and every bit of it is thrilling.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in the marijuana plant. Unlike it’s best friend THC, CBD doesn’t get you high. It’s an exciting dance that CBD does with a system in our body called the endocannabinoids system. Instead of directly binding to the receptors that are a part of this system like THC does, CBD instead stimulates the system through other neural pathways and receptors.
Think of your body as an American football team. When the team is at their peak performance and working together flawlessly, they are most likely going to win the game. But when your linebackers are missing their tackles or the quarterback is taking a vacation in the pocket, games are lost. Usually, the coach will pull them in for a motivational speech, and they get back on the field and dominate.
The quarterback in this scenario is your endocannabinoids system. It tells your body what to do, and keeps the team working together as best it can. When you’re sick or injured, it makes sure you get healed. When you are upset, it makes sure to calm you down. However, illnesses and diseases can cause the endocannabinoid system malfunction. If you have a terrible quarterback, you have a lousy team. Their mistakes trickle down and can cost the game. CBD comes in like an award-winning coach and gets the team’s heads back on straight.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system is made up of three major parts, endocannabinoids, metabolic enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors. For the system to function correctly, all of these elements have to work together.
Endocannabinoids are organic chemicals that are created on demand in our brain. This is important because a lot of chemicals are stored in sacs to be used for later, but endocannabinoids are only around when they are needed.
One of the really cool things about these chemicals is how they travel. Most hormones that are transmitted between cells go from the sending cell to the receiving cell; endocannabinoids don’t follow that trend. Instead, these chemicals travel from the receiving neuron to the sending neuron, telling the cell what the receiving neuron needs. If the sending cell is overactive, the endocannabinoids can make it stop sending too many signals, and if it’s underactive, it asks for more.
Endocannabinoids are created by enzymes and can be destroyed by enzymes. The great circle of life. The job of these proteins is to degrade chemicals that are no longer needed and help keep the cells that are alive healthy and strong.
As of now, we know of two cannabinoid receptors that play significant roles in the endocannabinoid system. The CB1 receptor is the one associated with our neurological functions. It’s found all over the body, but it is more densely populated in the brain, which makes sense. The CB2 receptors are evenly spread out through the body and are associated with our immune functions. When endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, they help create the regulation of the body.
Why Are Athletes Using CBD?
Athletes get a lot of injuries, especially professionals. Even though they are well trained on how to use their body and how to work out, they still are putting an immense amount of stress on their body. The worst part is, injuries mean you’re out of the office until it’s better. Athletes need the inflammation to go down and for their wounds to heal fast, which CBD can help with.
Because the endocannabinoid system helps regulate immune functions, it helps reduce inflammation. When your body is injured, it sens immune cells to the area to attack anything foreign from the body. A little inflammation is good, but if your immune system is overactive, it can get out of control and extremely painful. CBD makes sure that the number of immune cells that go to the affected area isn’t too much, aren’t too little, and don’t spread to other areas.
Whether you pulled a muscle on the court or had your face beat to pieces in the ring, sports are going to bring you pain. Many of the prescription painkillers are addictive, and athletes and celebrities find themselves gaining an overdependence on legal drugs. Sometimes they can’t even get their hands on something strong enough because it will interfere with their body in a way that could jeopardize their career. But CBD can give the same pain relief but without the addictive properties or harmful side effects.
If you’re injured, it’s probably hard to sleep. If you have a big game tomorrow, it’s probably difficult to settle your mind. Athletes are under constant scrutiny and pressure, making them live very anxious lives. It’s no surprise many of them turn to violent tendencies considering the mental pressure they are put under. Anxiety and pain are two leading causes of insomnia, and CBD can help with both.
Rewarding Work Outs
When you exercise, your brain creates chemicals that make pain less severe and give you that “runner’s high.” For a long time, we thought it was just endorphins that made us feel this way. However, we now know that exercising raises anandamide levels, one of the endocannabinoids. When you take CBD, you are already increasing your anandamide levels, so by putting the two together, it creates a great experience to get in the zone and exercise until your heart is content.
Maintaining Healthy Body Weight
Whether it’s for vanity or health, athletes are trying to keep their bods as perfect as they can. When they take CBD, it makes that impossible job a little easier. There are two kinds of fat your body produces, white fat cells and brown fat cells. The fat you probably think of is the white kind, which your body stores for energy. The brown fat is made to burn for energy, and guess what CBD does! It helps brown fat! Not only does it regulate their appetite, but it is making sure that the nutrients are going to all of the right places.
Some professional athletes get nauseous after a vigorous workout and take over the counter medicine to combat it. However, CBD can help reduce nausea even better than some leading brands. Nausea is a natural defensive mechanism that keeps us from eating things that are harmful, but sometimes it can become active from extreme physical activity. Taking CBD for pre and post work out can help diminish this almost entirely if not to the full extent.
What Athletes Are Saying About CBD
“I had pain, that’s why I left the game after ten years…It was just the beat down. Having to take anti-inflammatories all year to get through the season. I didn’t like the way my body was feeling… I was miserable, I was mad, pissed off. Questioning: Why the hell did I play football? That’s when I started to understand the medical side of marijuana and cannabis: to help with pain…”
“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged. I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis.”
“My mind is always all over the place, I can get caught up in what’s going on around me… Weed helps me keep my mind focused, if you can imagine that.”
What Does This Mean For Us?
The Anti-Doping Agency okaying CBD is a massive step in the right direction and great for the bigger picture. If the NFL is letting their prized athletes that make them billions of dollars from their physical performance use CBD, think about that for a moment. Yes, they have been allowing dangerous painkillers to go into their athlete's systems, something they’ve been doing for years. But the fact that they are willing to change a controversial policy for the safety and health of their playersreally says something about how we are starting to see CBD and medical marijuana as a whole.
If you are an athlete or physically active and you want to stop living your life with harmful pain pills or are looking for a way to deal with the pain and stress, come check out our shop! We have some awesome salves and balms perfect for joint and muscle pain, as well as tinctures and e-cigarettes for anxiety!