Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

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CBD For Recovery: How Elite Athletes Use CBD For Recovery

Did you know many pro-athletes are now using CBD for recovery? Whether they use it to reduce soreness after workouts or to help promote sleep, a growing number of elite athletes openly praise cannabidiol.

Did you know many pro-athletes are now using CBD for recovery?

Whether you’re a pro-athlete, a retired athlete, or someone who spends their nights and weekends pushing their physical potential to the max, you’re intimately familiar with the variety of things that can throw off your game.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), injuries, pain, trouble sleeping, and illness are just a handful of the factors that can get in the way of you and what matters most: being able to recover and perform at your very best. This is why we all spend countless hours learning … How much protein should I get? Should I be intermittent fasting every day? What are the best supplements that I can take to expedite muscle synthesis?

These kinds of questions lead athletes to discover the trendy supplement from hemp that comes from the same plant species as medical marijuana: CBD.

Photo: A muscular shirtless man lifts a large weight outdoors.

In this article, you’ll learn why professional weightlifters and other elite athletes are using CBD for recovery. (Photo: XWERKS)

Early research and plenty of stories around the internet suggest that CBD might be a sort of panacea for athletes. From mood regulation to fighting inflammation, this wonder-molecule is being used by some of the fittest people around in the hopes of supporting healing and optimal performance.

WHAT IS CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a type of phytonutrient (a compound found in plants that supports human health) found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Specifically, it’s one of around 100 cannabinoids in cannabis. These compounds, which include the well-known mind-altering compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), are unique when it comes to how they interact with the bodies of humans and other vertebrates.

Over the last many years, hundreds of studies have been published on cannabinoids, particularly THC and CBD. By interacting with a system in our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system, these phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that come from plants) can reach cells throughout our bodies, including those in our brains and our immune systems.

Thanks to this interaction, CBD and THC are capable of impacting vertebrate health in many ways. These range from helping with pain and seizures to impacting cognitive function and mood.

Unlike THC, which is the compound that causes you to get high if you smoke weed, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means you can take CBD without feeling “high.”

THE UNIQUE PROPERTIES OF CBD

To understand how CBD might be able to benefit athletes, it’s helpful to have a foundational knowledge as to how CBD works in the body. Studies have found CBD to be: (Sources: 1,2,3,4,5)

  • Anti-inflammation: CBD might be able to reduce inflammation in the body, such as that from chronic inflammatory diseases or injuries.
  • Analgesic: This means that CBD can reduce the sensation of pain.
  • Antioxidant: Free radicals are molecules that can damage our cells, with damage leading to conditions like cancer. Antioxidants reduce free-radical induced harm.
  • Anti-psychotic: This type of compound may be able to help those with mental health conditions.
  • Anxiolytic: CBD has shown potential in reducing the subjective feelings and physiological manifestations of anxiety and stress.
  • Antiseizure: For some types of seizure disorders, CBD can help to reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • Neuroprotective: Neuroprotective compounds protect the health and function of our brains and the resulting cognitive abilities.
  • Blood flow enhancer: CBD may be able to boost blood flow, therefore increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, including to the brain and muscles.

It’s important to understand, however, that most of the properties listed above have been found in preliminary animal studies, not human clinical trials. While these studies provide clues as to what CBD might do in the human body, more studies in humans themselves are needed to confirm if these benefits carry over.

Athletes use CBD for recovery to reduce soreness after workouts, promote deeper sleep, and more. Photo: A man in gray workout clothes takes XWERKS CBD after exercise.

Athletes use CBD for recovery to reduce soreness after workouts, promote deeper sleep, and more. (Photo: XWERKS)

As researchers continue to investigate CBD, we will learn which of these benefits apply to the human body, and exactly what kinds of effects it can have.

WHY ELITE ATHLETES ARE TURNING TO CBD FOR RECOVERY

CBD may help speed recovery

There are many times when our bodies need to recover. The most common is after a game or a hard workout, but we also have to recover physically from injuries like concussions or sprained ankles.

The one thing that our bodies need to do to expedite recovery is to slow down an overactive inflammatory response. This is why we do things like ice injuries, get sports massages, and use compression tape.

Because CBD has demonstrated an ability to combat inflammation, it might be able to help us heal faster. This can be particularly important if you are struggling with DOMS, an injury, or when you have back-to-back games that necessitate rapid recovery.

Additionally, the antioxidant and blood-flow enhancing effects of CBD could help to reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress and deliver oxygen and nutrients to healing muscles.

CBD might reduce pain

If you’re an athlete, you understand the constant battle between performance and pain. Much of the pain that you experience is inflammatory pain, which is pain that occurs from microtears in your muscle or from an injury.

The most common way to treat inflammatory pain are a class of drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). With long-term or excessive use of NSAIDs tied to a variety of health concerns, many athletes do without or try to limit their use.

In animal studies, CBD has demonstrated an ability to reduce inflammatory pain in rats. Because there have been no human clinical trials, it’s up to each of us to determine whether or not CBD helps to relieve pain. You will find many first-hand accounts of people using CBD oil for pain.

CBD may help some people sleep

Getting enough shut-eye is critical when it comes to optimal athletic recovery. It’s during deep sleep that our bodies are capable or diverting resources to allow the healing needed following a vigorous workout.

Anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders like insomnia can hinder sleep. When you’re unable to sleep for any reason, you won’t be able to recover as quickly. Some researchers have hypothesized that CBD might be able to help those with anxiety and sleep disorders sleep better.

A small human study found that CBD helped those with REM sleep behavior disorder, allowing them to sleep better throughout the night. Another study published this year found that CBD helped to reduce anxiety in those in a psychiatric clinic over three months, but the effect on sleep was not as definitive.

Photo: A woman stretches out in bed enjoying a deep, restful sleep.

Though scientific evidence remains inconclusive, many CBD consumers report more restful sleep. This can be key to effective athletic recovery.

Even though there is no conclusive evidence supporting CBD’s role in human sleep, the research so far suggests that CBD doesn’t negatively impact sleep in the healthy population, and that some people might benefit from using CBD for sleep.

CBD might help those with chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Athletic recovery isn’t just about performing well in the next competition. For some, damage that adds up over the years can lead to chronic conditions. This is especially true for retired professional football players, as years of head injuries can take a toll long after they’ve stopped playing football.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition caused by repetitive head trauma. The chronic inflammation and neurodegeneration can lead to cognitive difficulties like memory troubles, mood disorders like depression, and eventually, to motor dysfunction similar to that in Parkinson’s disease patients.

In a study that examined the brains of deceases football players, it was discovered that 99% showed signs of CTE. And it’s not only football players, but boxer and those in the military, that are at risk of this disease.

Researchers have found that a combination of THC and CBD can help to treat CTE symptoms, such as psychosis, headache, nausea, and mood difficulties. And some believe that CBD itself might be helpful thanks to its neuroprotective effects.

HOW ELITE ATHLETES USE CBD OIL

Now that you know why CBD might offer benefits for athletic recovery, the question is, how do they use it?

The most common way to take CBD oil is orally by using a CBD oil tincture or a capsule. Oral CBD is particularly beneficial because it allows for distribution throughout your body, allowing a multitude of possible benefits.

This is contrary to topical CBD, which are products like salves and lotions that are applied directly to your skin. While this type of CBD might prove useful for things like an injury or arthritis, using it alongside oral CBD will allow additional effects of CBD for recovery in other areas of your body.

You can also find smokable CBD products like vape pens of hemp flower. These offer the highest bioavailability (meaning that more of the CBD is used by your body), however, its safety and dosage have not been researched as thoroughly as oral CBD.

WHAT ATHLETES ARE USING CBD OIL?

More athletes are coming out of the woodwork, sharing their experiences with their dedicated fan base. Not long ago, CBD was banned by the World Doping Agency, and thus using it could have gotten professional athletes in trouble. This all changed in 2018.

You will now find elite athletes from all arenas who are supporters of CBD. Some have started their own companies, and many are hard at work furthering the legality and understanding of CBD. These include (among many others):

  • Julie Anthony (pro tennis)
  • Tatum Bell (NFL)
  • Brita Schwerm Bolane (pro volleyball)
  • Shannon Briggs (pro boxing)
  • Steve Cantwell (mixed martial arts)
  • Avery Collins (Ultramarathoner)
  • Julian Davidson (pro skater)
  • San Juanita Fetuuaho (Rugby)
  • Greta Gaines (pro snowboarding)
  • Al Harrington (NBA)

As you can see, professional sports players from many backgrounds are coming together to support the use of CBD for elite athletes.

ARE YOU READY TO START USING CBD OIL?

If you would like to try CBD yourself, the first step is finding a high-quality CBD oil product. Look for a product that offers third party lab-results, also known as a certificate of analysis (COA), that show the quantity of CBD and THC as well as other phytonutrients. All CBD products should be clearly labelled, making it easy to find the full list of ingredients and amount of hemp extract in each product.

Next, you will want to decide between full-spectrum hemp oil (FSHO) and CBD isolate. The general rule is that FSHO likely offers the greatest benefits, but CBD isolates are more cost effective. Additionally, you might want to look for a CBD oil products that contains 0% THC if you do undergo any type of drug testing. Be sure to check with the company that does testing to ensure that a 0% THC CBD oil won’t show up as a false positive.

Photo: An athlete holds CBD capsules in their hand.

Oral use of CBD, such as taking CBD capsules, allows for easy and convenient dosing after a workout. (Photo: XWERKS)

Remember, most athletes will try an oral product like a full spectrum oil or hemp extract capsules for optimal effect throughout the body. Try starting with a small amount once or twice per day, and slowly increase your dosage until you find what works best for you.

FINAL THOUGHTS: USING CBD FOR ATHLETIC RECOVERY

With elite athletes standing behind CBD and other cannabis or hemp products for recovery, many weekend warriors are beginning to learn about the potential benefits of this plant compound. CBD might help to speed recovery from exercise-induced stress and injuries, and might help to expedite recovery in other ways as well, such as encouraging restful sleep.

With increased legality, you can now buy CBD oil online or find it at stores throughout many states in the U.S.

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Hemp Surfboards: Riding The Wave Of Hemp Hype With A New Kind Of Board

Chad Kaimanu Jackson, a Native Hawaiian, sustainability scientist, and pro surfer, creates the world’s premiere hemp surfboards. He uses hemp fibers instead of fiberglass and wraps the boards in hemp foam.

It took becoming versed in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” world travel, and going back to school to study earth sciences and anthropology for Chad Kaimanu Jackson to come up with hemp surfboardS.

“I was learning of the great legacy of hemp in ancient China and up to the founding of the US. And in my study of human history and attempting to integrate the concepts of sustainability in my scientific and academic career I found myself in a bit of cognitive dissonance,” says Jackson.

Photo: A surfer in a wetsuit rides a hemp surfboard.

Despite being more sustainable, hemp surfboards cost about the same as conventional boards. (Photo: Bee Line Hemp Wick)

“I knew I had a mission to incorporate my life as a surfer, a Native Hawaiian, and a scientist into contributing to the sustainability/conservation movement in tandem with the cultural revival that was occurring with Indigenous Nations.”

CREATING HEMP SURFBOARDS

Jackson, 39, has been building surfboards since a young age and started wearing hemp clothes in 2001. For the past 15 years the surfer, who has competed on the Big Wave Tour, has been the primary hemp surfboard builder in the surfing world.

He initially began using an alternative form of surfboard foam based from soybean oils, but became interested in using hemp in any way after becoming involved with the Hemp Museum, a nonprofit originally located in Santa Cruz, and its store.

Jackson briefly made boards for the store before starting to construct his own after gaining sponsorship through Hawaiian-based surf brand Da Hui. He also had a stint with Local Clothing.

In 2007, Jackson started HempSurf. Today he has support from brand Vissla who help him with the boards as well as his surfing and science work.

Photo: Chad Jackson laying on the ground surrounded by 7 of his hemp surfboards.

Jackson’s hemp surfboards are made from hemp along with other sustainable materials. (Photo: Chad Jackson)

Other alternative materials Jackson uses in his surfboards include recycled redwood, flax, agave wood core, and bio-based resins and epoxies.

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in hemp surfboards, says the surfer.

“(It) is a simple delayed response of the public and surf communities finally catching on to the sustainability movement, which in terms of hemp, has been fueled by the recent legalization of hemp agriculture, (the) CBD industry, and the prevalence of Instagram and other social media outlets,” says Jackson.

Compared to the price of conventional surfboards, Jackson says the cost of a hemp surfboard is virtually the same. Shortboards are priced between $500 – $600 while a longboard ranges from between $800 and $1,000 and agave boards start at $1,500.

HEMP SURFBOARDS ENABLE AN ‘INDIGENOUS CULTURAL REVIVAL’

It’s important that hemp is recognised as it has the ability to offset environmental impacts derived from corporate agriculture, big pharma, and the petro-chemical industry, stresses Jackson.

“The organic nature is superior to synthetic materials in the overall life energy the fibers carry, the strength-to-weight ratios are the strongest found in nature (along with flax), superior flexura,” he says.

“This carries over to sustainable agriculture, economics, indigenous cultural revival and empowerment, and celebrates our connection with our ancestors and the tools they have passed on to us.”

He is currently involved in a film project about the Hawaiians who brought surfing to Santa Cruz in 1885.

“The film will segue into how suffers can come together to solve environmental problems and mobilize as a very powerful and influential subculture,” says Jackson.

For Jackson, hemp surfboards are a way to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility. (Photo: Jensen Young-Sik)

Kea Eubank’s interest in hemp started over 15 years ago, when he was looking for better alternatives to smoking with butane lighters and matches. Hemp was the way forward. Eubank, born and bred in Maui, and his partner Miranda Campbell formulated “the hemp wick,” a term Eubank says is now used by over 70 different companies, and the first hemp wick company, Bee Line Hemp Wick. Bee Line combines hemp and beeswax, both ancient and renewable resources used in lighting medicinal herbs, pipes and fine cigars, and hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes.

“(We) came to realize how versatile hemp is, and have been looking for other uses ever since, which tends to keep us pretty busy, as there are thousands,” says Eubank.

USING HEMP IN A UNIQUE WAY FOR SURFING

About three years ago Bee Line Hemp Wick partnered with Conway Bixby of Bixby Surfboards, a board shaper and river surfer in Bend, Oregon, and began making surfboards out of made out of recycled foam and organic hemp fiber in place of fiberglass.

“We were hoping we could trade out even more of the standard surfboard materials for hemp while maintaining the high performance,” says Eubank.

The hemp comes from Romania in eastern Europe, which Eubank, 38, says he’s found to have the best organic hemp in the world.

“They use a traditional process called retting where they let the hemp break down in the field and then finish with machine processing it into long strands which they spin/twist back together,” he says.

“A lot of other manufacturers use chemicals to break down their hemp to a pulp, and then bleach it.”

Jackson catches a massive wave on a hemp surfboard.

Jackson catches a massive wave in Oregon, reiding on a hemp surfboard. (Photo: Richard Hallman)

Bee Line Wick uses the hemp in a unique way to make the boards, using hemp fibers instead of fiberglass, wrapping the recycled foam in hemp.

“I’m not sure if anybody is doing it quite like us,” says Eubank.

‘STOKED TO HAVE A HEMP SURFBOARD IN THEIR QUIVER’

The boards, which he says start at $650 but vary in price depending on size, are popular.

“Half the people love that they utilize hemp and the other half just love how they look,” says Eubank.

“(Customers are) mostly river surfers, and then there’s people just stoked on anything hemp and to have a hemp surfboard in their quiver.”

Eubank says traditional materials used to make surfboards are chemical-based.

“Surfers naturally want to keep the earth and ocean clean because they are immersed in the elements daily,” says Eubank.

“Hemp, if processed responsibly has a lot less impact on the earth, while (the board is) being made, and in the end when the board is no longer surfable.”

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