Cannabidiol and Sport Performance
A little-known piece of federal legislation – the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or 2018 Farm Bill – has unleashed an explosion of interest in Cannabidiol(CBD), a compound extracted from marijuana but that does not contain the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD is available as an oil, extract and vaporized liquid and in food, drinks and beauty products. Unfortunately, despite the hype, the quality of the CBD and hemp oils available in the market varies significantly. Clinicians must be careful when directing patients toward these products to ensure they receive the highest-quality and most evidence-based formulations.
Currently, CBD is marketed as a treatment for numerous medical conditions, including reducing the symptoms of chronic pain and anxiety and improving mood and sleep. However, it is not a drug approved by FDA and the evidence for its effectiveness is limited.
CBD for Pain Relief: How Cannabidiol Can Help Manage Chronic Pain
In addition, CBD has also been promoted as a dietary and wellness supplement and has gained evangelists among athletes who claim that it improves their performance. Although it is a natural compound with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and neuroprotective properties, further research in specific sport-related populations is necessary to confirm these effects and to establish safe and effective dosing prescriptions. This should take into account the fundamental peculiarities of each sport, the metabolic and situational factors that promote fatigue, and the endocannabinoid system response to stress and training-related anxiety. The current uncertainty regarding CBD’s legal status as a drug or a dietary supplement is hindering the development of rigorous clinical investigations.