February 28, 2023

Best CBD Products for Athletes

Staying fit and active has immense health benefits. However, it also means putting up with not-so-pleasant side effects. For people who lead physical lifestyles, e.g., athletes and fitness enthusiasts, pain and inflammation need no introduction.

Indeed, pain is a badge of honor many athletes wear with pride. They understand the mantra "No pain, no gain" and seldom let anything stand in their way. But the human body has a limit; too much of anything, and it stops functioning optimally. 

Consequently, top athletes always look for ways to heal and recover faster after intense workout sessions. Although conventional pain medications like NSAIDs work, they have many health risks. Opioids are bad news; they can be addictive when used long-term.

So, the discovery that cannabinoids like CBD may alleviate the effects of intense physical activity is welcome news. In recent years, CBD use in sports has gained traction thanks to its potential benefits, e.g., pain relief, stress reduction, sleep promotion, etc.

Research is ongoing to establish the full range of CBD's health benefits. So, as studies continue to be conducted, here's what we know so far.

Key Takeaways

  • The use of CBD products in sports is growing thanks to the cannabinoid's impressive range of benefits.
  • CBD products for athletes are available in different forms, e.g., oils, tinctures, gummies, and balms.
  • The efficacy of CBD products is affected by factors, e.g., method of administration, potency, dosage, body characteristics, etc.

Benefits of Using CBD for Sports Recovery

Even after its exemption from the list of controlled substances, CBD use has largely been recreational. However, its inner workings have become clearer, and CBD has gone mainstream. 

Within health circles, it's been a popular natural remedy for persons with anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, pain, and seizures. These attributes have placed it in good stead within the sporting community. 

So, what are the potential benefits athletes can reap from CBD products? We've listed a few.

Increasing Appetite

Athletes need to eat well to get the energy for those long, arduous gym sessions. This is easy if you have a healthy appetite. If you don't, CBD might help.

Research findings on CBD's appetite-stimulating effect are inconclusive. Some studies indicate CBD suppresses appetite, while others think it increases appetite. A review of several studies on the side effects associated with CBD treatment shows appetite suppression is more common.

There are many possible explanations for these conflicting findings. But, overall, they underline the need for more research to further our understanding of how cannabinoids work.

Cardiovascular Support

It's hard to imagine that a compound derived from cannabis could potentially help your cardiovascular system work better. But it turns out CBD may possess qualities that could support several aspects of your cardiovascular.

For instance, a study showed that CBD exhibits vasodilatory and antioxidant properties that could be beneficial for hypertension. Also, the researchers found that CBD might lower high blood pressure caused by stress.

Moreover, a growing body of evidence supports the role of the ECS in cardiovascular function. Research shows that ECS dysfunction typically results from an altered expression of endocannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoid levels. This may be due to inflammation and stress.

Subsequently, a dysfunctional ECS is associated with pathophysiological conditions like metabolic syndrome, neurodegenerative illnesses, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. There is evidence that CBD may help stabilize the ECS thanks to its affinity for the CB2 receptor. 

CBD's impact on the cardiovascular system owes to its affinity for the CB2 receptor. It's increasingly likely that activating these receptors triggers beneficial immunomodulatory effects, including cardiovascular protection. Consequently, CBD and other phytocannabinoids may be promising agents for managing cardiovascular risk factors


Catabolism refers to the breakdown of complex organic and inorganic matter. It's a vital body process that produces the energy needed to sustain cell activity. 

A typical example of a catabolic process is food digestion, in which food is broken down into simple nutrients the body can use. The reverse of catabolism is anabolism. These processes mutually balance each other in a manner beneficial to the body.

In sports, going 'catabolic' can occasion profound implications, e.g., muscle and energy loss. However, muscle loss is integral to the overall growth and a healthy weight. Typically, athletes eat lots of proteins to grow and strengthen muscles. This also stimulates anabolism, but here's where it gets interesting.

The stress the body undergoes during intense workout sessions increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic compound. However, it's crucial because it necessitates the production of energy, which fuels the body. However, high cortisol levels are harmful to the body. It shifts the balance towards catabolism and could cause weight and muscle loss, low libido, poor sleep, and severe energy deficits.

Placing the body under stress for short periods doesn't adversely affect it. The body doesn't like losing muscles unless it's vital. As long as you get enough sleep, eat a high-protein diet, and give the body enough time to recover, all should be well. 

So, how can CBD help? It may promote sleep and recovery thanks to its anti-inflammatory and sleep-promoting effects. It's also been shown to reduce cortisol levels and may thus attenuate catabolism. 

Reduce Inflammation

CBD possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties that could be therapeutically significant in managing inflammatory conditions. For athletes, post-exercise inflammation is a big issue that needs prompt management.

Inflammation is necessary for muscle growth and development. But as with most things, too much of it can be dangerous. For starters, inflammation triggers pain but can also progress to chronic levels and become a significant problem.

Fortunately, CBD's well-established anti-inflammatory effects may come in handy. It's worth noting that CBD exerts its anti-inflammatory effect via multiple molecular pathways within and beyond the ECS. For example, its activation of the CB2 receptor enhances immune system functioning and anti-inflammatory signaling.

Beyond the ECS, CBD can activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), which are implicated in insulin regulation and glucose metabolism. As such, its agonistic tendencies at the PPAR receptors seemingly explain its ability to attenuate symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes. 

Also, endogenous cannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG can bind to PPAR receptors triggering anti-inflammatory responses. Interestingly, CBD can increase anandamide levels by inhibiting FAAH activity. This way, it indirectly influences anti-inflammatory responses. 

Pain Relief

The jury may still be out on whether CBD directly reduces pain. However, more and more athletes are increasingly turning to CBD to keep pain at bay. 

A review of the available literature on CBD and pain shows that scientists mainly study nabiximols. These are CBD: THC formulations in a 1:1 ratio pharmaceutically recognized for their pain-relieving qualities. With these, it's unclear which cannabinoid is responsible for the effect.

Nonetheless, available rat studies strongly support the efficacy of CBD in alleviating chronic pain due to nerve injuries. Several pathways have been proposed to explain CBD's analgesic effect. They suggest it comes down to the activation of α1- and α1ß-glycine receptors, α3-glycine receptors, and 5-HT(1A) receptors.

However, there are scarce preclinical studies supporting CBD's analgesia mechanism. The rare clinical studies suggesting CBD may reduce pain conclude that this effect is context-specific. The credibility of other studies has been questioned due to limitations such as small sample sizes. So, more work is needed to evaluate CBD's ability to offer analgesic support in chronic pain. 

Decreasing Nausea

Highly active people typically have ravenous appetites to make up for the calories they burn. But during exercise, the body directs more blood to the skin and muscles, thus reducing blood flow to the stomach. This can lead to stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Also, our bodies produce heat during workout sessions, which is great because it helps detoxify the body. However, too much heat increases the risk of dehydration and low blood pressure. This can affect blood supply and lead to dizziness and nausea. Now you know why training instructors urge students to stay hydrated.

Adding CBD to your pre-workout may also be beneficial. Preclinical studies show that CBD may reduce nausea and vomiting by indirectly activating the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. This broadens the therapeutic options for addressing hard-to-treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. CBD is a more viable option than THC, whose antiemetic quality is also proven but is psychoactive. 

Reduction of Muscle Spasms

Muscle cramps are common among athletes. Scientifically known as exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC), this temporary condition is intense and painful. It is caused by the involuntary contraction of skeletal muscles during or after intense physical activity. 

There are several reasons why athletes get muscle cramps. The most common is electrolyte imbalance. When you sweat, you lose water plus other ions like Na+. If these are not replaced promptly, an imbalance in electrolyte levels results, leading to muscle cramps.

It's also thought that overworking the muscles can cause spasms. However, athletes cannot control these occurrences as long as they remain active. Fortunately, there are measures they can take to prevent muscle spasms.

Besides taking liquids infused with Na+, CBD may also help. There's suggestive evidence that CBD combined with THC may reduce spasticity and aid muscle relaxation. Clinical assessments of Sativex, a CBD: THC drug, show that it may be effective in managing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, such as spasms and pain.

Sleep and Relaxation

We all know how important sleep is to good health. For athletes, it's fundamental to healing and recovering quickly from the ravages of intense workouts.

Fortunately, CBD's sleep-promoting and anxiolytic effects have been well-studied. Taking CBD stimulates the ECS and may contribute to modulating sleep problems and the sleep-wake cycle. While promising, there's little hard evidence that CBD can directly reduce sleep disorders. 

However, its ability to regulate anandamide levels could explain its sleep-promoting effects. Researchers suspect that anandamide increases adenosine levels in the brain. This hormone is known for its vasodilatory and anxiolytic effects. It also stabilizes heart rate. Taken together, it's easy to see how CBD triggers a cascade of effects that enhance sleep. 

Best CBD Products for Athletes

The CBD industry is experiencing phenomenal growth right now. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, expanding research on hemp continues to debunk the stereotypes stigmatizing cannabis. And so, the CBD space is awash with all types of products. 

At Dragon Hemp, we have a wide variety of products, including tinctures, oils, gummies, balms, and many more. Needless to say, Quality, Safety, and Efficacy are the benchmarks for determining the best CBD products. These are the hallmarks of Dragon Hemp's CBD products.

What Is A CBD Tincture?

A CBD tincture is a concentrated hemp extract diluted in alcohol. The main ingredient in a CBD tincture is CBD. These products typically have 25-65% solvent concentrations, but highly concentrated tinctures are also available.

Our Rest tincture is practitioner-formulated to support sleep. It harnesses the sleep-promoting properties of full-spectrum CBD and CBN blended with a host of herbs like Schisandra fruit, linden flower, lavender, passionflower, and other Chinese herbs. The net effect of this formula is a much calmer mind and a relaxed body. In this state, sleep comes easy and lasts longer!

We also have this Relief tincture to aid recovery. It's made with full-spectrum CBD enriched with an assortment of herbs like corydalis, turmeric, myrrh, frankincense, and Chinese herbs. This special combination is ideal for treating pain and discomfort due to injuries, overexertion, and inflammation.

For overall health and wellness, try this Balance tincture. Recognizing the role of CBD in restoring homeostasis, this product contains premium full-spectrum CBD hemp oil. It's ideal for warding off the effects of stress, thus helping restore body balance.

Best way to take CBD oil 

Oils and tinctures are often used interchangeably, but they are different. As the name suggests, CBD oil is hemp extract dissolved in an oil base like olive or MCT oil. Tinctures are diluted in an alcohol base.

When it comes to usage, the best way to take CBD oil is sublingually. This means placing a few drops under the tongue, holding them there for a while (30-60 seconds) then swallowing. 

Why is this the best method? Because it allows the bioactive ingredients to absorb directly into the bloodstream resulting in higher bioavailability. This leads to better efficacy.

CBD Topicals/Balms

CBD topicals are intended for external use, mainly on the skin. They are available as lotions, creams, and balms. Typically, these are thick liquid formulations. 

Our Cooling Balm, designed for acute pain relief, contains full-spectrum hemp CBD mixed with an array of cooling herbs like corydalis, menthol, and Chinese herbs. It's formulated to absorb quickly into the skin and support the healing of muscle tissue. Its three-pronged action mechanism reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, and promotes blood circulation.

For chronic pain, we recommend this Warming Balm. Probably the most potent of our CBD topicals, this product contains 3,600mg of full-spectrum CBD blended with dragon's blood, aconite, clove, camphor, and cajeput. It's a deep-penetrating balm that stimulates blood flow and prevents blood stasis while relaxing muscle tissue with a soothing effect.

How to use CBD balm

Apply a small amount of CBD balm directly to the affected area. Massage gently until the balm absorbs into the skin.

CBD topicals are ideal for superficial injuries as they don't penetrate deep into the skin. Remember to avoid contact with the eyes when applying these products.

CBD Gummies

Gummies are popular due to their discreetness and convenience. Moreover, they are often flavored, which makes chewing them so much fun!

Our Sleep gummies come in two unique flavors – lemon ginger and blackberry lavender. Each gummy gives you 20mg of CBD and 5mg of CBN – cannabinoids with potent calming, anti-inflammatory, and sedative effects. So, if sleep has been a problem lately, try these delicious edibles and see how effortlessly you drift into dreamland!

If you want to relax and wind down after an intense workout session, these ∆-9 THC Chill Gummies are your best bet. They come in two strength levels (2.5mg and 5mg of ∆9-THC) and contain other natural cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, CBDV, and terpenes. The result is a relaxing or euphoric fizz and a true-to-form cannabis experience!

How Many CBD Gummies Should I take?

With cannabinoids, more is not always better! In fact, the beneficial effects of cannabinoids are mainly realized at low to medium doses. 

That said, people respond differently to cannabinoids. So, a dose that works for one person may not produce similar effects in another person. Many factors come into play here – metabolism, fat content, frequency of use, etc. There are claims that gender may influence the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids!

In effect, there's no specific dose of CBD for sleep. So, the "start slow and low" maxim is the ultimate guide we can recommend. With our Dragon Hemp Sleep gummies, we recommend 1-2 gummies taken as needed. However, allowing space (ideally 8 hours) between consecutive dosing periods is a good idea.

You can up the dose after one week if no results are seen. Keep in mind, however, that cannabinoids take time to work, so exercise patience.

CBD Capsules 

CBD capsules are another convenient way to take CBD. The extract in the capsules can be powder or oil. CBD capsules fall in the group of edibles – products intended for oral use. 

One advantage of edibles is their long-lasting effects. Depending on the dosage, users claim that edibles produce effects that can last 12 hours. This is great when you have a chronic issue. The downside is that oral CBD has a low bioavailability. 

So, you may need to take larger doses or enhance its bioavailability using black pepper or fatty foods. 

Our Relief capsules are designed to fast-track recovery. Made with premium CBD isolate and a blend of herbs such as corydalis, turmeric, frankincense, myrrh, and other Chinese herbs, these gummies may help reduce pain by increasing blood flow, dispersing blood stasis, reducing inflammation, and relaxing the body.

But if you want to push your boundaries, these Reach capsules are your go-to. Made with premium CBD isolate, American ginseng, yerba mate, guarana seeds, and cordyceps, Reach is what you need for a natural energy boost, mental clarity, and enhanced focus.

Do CBD Capsules Expire?

As great as CBD may be, it's not immune to the laws of nature. So, yes, CBD, in whatever form, eventually degrades and expires. Many factors affect how fast/slow CBD capsules may expire, such as the number of ingredients and storage conditions. 

Manufacturers typically indicate a product's expiry date, so it shouldn't be difficult to tell if it is nearing expiration. Of course, poorly stored products may expire before their stated expiry date.

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