By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
Starting with the fall of the great Lance Armstrong and the widespread illegal doping that became associated with the Tour de France because of that scandal, the professional cycling world has experienced some significant controversy around performance-enhancing substance abuse over the last decade.
In professional cycling, competition is fierce. Cycling is a grueling and painful sport, and many cyclists face the risk of significant physical injury. So it’s no surprise that cyclists might be looking for options to help mitigate some of the physical demands of the sport. CBD, or cannabidiol, may be an option for cyclists to help manage exercise-induced inflammation and support better sleep, which in turn may help improve athletic performance.
CBD is one of dozens of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Its potential health benefits come from its ability to directly influence the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps maintain nervous system stability and interacts with neurotransmitters. It is believed to have few negative side effects.
CBD exists naturally in the body within the endocannabinoid system, suppressing and releasing certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Its ability to modulate neurotransmitters can help reduce inflammation, a valuable benefit for cyclists. Unlike other cannabinoids in cannabis, like THC,there is no risk of addiction with CBD, and it doesn’t get you high.
Research on CBD is in its infancy, due to its complex legal status. But we do know that CBD can support several general aspects of health that may translate to improved athletic performance. In fact, some professional cyclists have anecdotally reported using CBD to help with performance and speed up post-workout recovery related to exercise-induced inflammation.
As for benefits, CBD may help manage stress before a competition. Performance anxiety before an important race can negatively impact an athlete’s ability to compete. CBD may help take the edge off, so the athlete can focus on the race.
CBD may also help an athlete get a good night’s sleep. Quality sleep is an important aspect of improved athletic performance and recovery. To help speed up post-workout recovery. CBD may also help decrease exercise-induced inflammation associated with intense muscle soreness.
Although there are no studies focusing on specific sports and the use of CBD, due to public interest more studies are being conducted to help understand how it may be beneficial for athletes, including cyclists.
The World Anti-Doping Agency does not include CBD on its prohibited list. But all other cannabinoids, including THC, are still banned in professional sports. Many cyclists have embraced the use of CBD and are pushing for further legalization for athletes.
You need to be aware that while CBD is legal, most CBD products contain a small amount of THC — less than 0.3% by law. Zebra CBD products undergo double third-party testing by independent, accredited labs to ensure they do not exceed this limit.
While the risk is low, if you are concerned about positive drug test results from CBD use, we urge you to speak with your personal healthcare specialist prior to using any CBD products.
Our new sister company, Zebra CBD, offers premium CBD products in a variety of forms, including convenient topicals for athletes. Zebra CBD products are tested twice by independent labs to ensure that what you see on the label is what’s in the container. When you use Zebra CBD products, you can trust you are not ingesting more than the legal limit of THC.
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