Did you know that sports and recreation-related injuries account for 4.2 million emergency room visits each year? And while the largest number of ER visits result from youth sports, nearly 1.5 million adults require emergency medical services each year.
Even if you didn’t know those particular facts, they probably didn't surprise you. After all, sprains, strains, pulled muscles, and broken bones come with the territory of getting out there and leaving it all on the field.
Naturally, injured competitors of all skill levels seek relief wherever they can find it. Today, many use a CBD oil topical for pain after sports injuries.
Does CBD reduce inflammation and pain? If so, how should athletes use it when recovering from injury? Finally, is CBD legal? And why can pro and amateur athletes now use CBD after years of prohibition by prominent sports associations?
CBD Oil Topicals for Muscle Pain and Injuries
When high-profile athletes discuss using CBD for muscle pain or joint problems, they usually describe the application of CBD topicals. There are two main reasons why that’s the case.
First, you can more easily apply specially formulated CBD topicals to the affected area. By contrast, CBD oil tinctures and edibles may provide overall wellness benefits, and do not necessarily affect specific parts of the body with precision.
In other words, you’ll likely feel greater relief when using CBD products for pulled muscle pain or similar when you apply it directly to the problem area.
Second, CBD topicals frequently blend hemp extracts like CBD and other cannabinoids with a multitude of other helpful ingredients.
For instance, CBD Freeze, an award-winning CBD topical roller, features naturally sourced menthol for pain relief alongside other botanical ingredients. Another example includes cbdMD’s CBD Recover formula, a CBD oil topical for pain which includes histamine dihydrochloride plus arnica flower extract, vitamin B6, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and many other helpful plant-based compounds.
Does CBD Oil Help With Inflammation or Pain?
Preclinical trials suggest that the topical application of CBD may reduce inflammation and pain. But human trials for CBD on these issues could take years to complete. As a result, CBD is not currently approved for inflammation or pain, and CBD sellers are not allowed to make that claim.
Professional athletes are a driving force in the conversation about the applications of CBD for muscle pain and inflammation. The pros who discuss CBD oil for muscle pain range from golfers, who frequently experience back, knee, and shoulder problems, to those in high-impact sports like ice hockey, football, and mixed martial arts.
With that said, here are a few of the most common reasons pro and amateur athletes increasingly choose CBD oil for muscle pain associated with injuries.
1. CBD is Now Legal
For almost 50 years, cannabis was illegal to grow and process in the United States. Even if the plants or products contained just a trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the intoxicant found in marijuana – it was still considered a Schedule I drug.
Full federal legalization of industrial hemp – defined as containing 0.3 percent THC or less – became a reality with the 2018 Farm Bill.
Marijuana is still considered an illegal drug by the U.S. federal government. But many states have legalized the substance for medical or recreational use.
Internationally, the legality of hemp cultivation and CBD varies from country to country. Many European nations allow CBD in some form while laws aren’t as clear in many parts of Asia.
2. Stigmas About Cannabis are Becoming a Thing of the Past
Alongside the change in legal status for hemp and CBD in the USA, public perception is also changing. According to one survey analysis by the Associated Press, 61 percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization – including a small majority of Republican voters.
While hemp and marijuana are two completely different strains of cannabis, these statistics still mark a significant change of perspective among Americans.
It’s not surprising that athletes are changing their views of cannabis and CBD as well.
3. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) No Longer Prohibits CBD
On September 29, 2017, WADA announced that they would remove CBD from their list of banned substances the following year.
The permitted use of CBD in training and international competition marked a major shift in policy and spelled relief for athletes. That’s especially the case for Olympic athletes interested in CBD oil for muscle pain – a possible alternative to traditional NSAIDs.
WADA sets anti-doping standards for a wide range of sports all over the world, but not every professional and amateur athletic body adopts WADA guidelines. However, CBD’s acceptance by the organization marks the most important reason athletes are using and discussing it openly.
At present, CBD is the only cannabinoid – natural or synthetic – permitted under WADA regulations.
Major League Baseball and the National Football League also recently amended their policies on cannabis and its derivative compounds.
4. There are CBD Options That Do Not Violate Drug Policies
THC remains a “drug of abuse” under many policies. Therefore, athletes need to be especially careful when using hemp extracts for muscle pain after an injury.
Full spectrum hemp extracts contain all of the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Detectable amounts of THC are usually present in such products.
As a result, full-spectrum hemp extracts may not be permitted under some anti-drug policies.
But there’s a growing list of alternatives to full-spectrum CBD. For instance, oils made with broad spectrum and isolated CBD extracts do not contain THC. These products allow athletes to enjoy the benefits of CBD without fear of disciplinary action by their sports’ governing bodies.
5. CBD is Properly Sourced
If you’ve ever known a high-level athlete or read about their training programs, you know they take health and fitness issues seriously. When you consider that they depend on their bodies for their livelihood, it’s not surprising.
Synthetic drugs – both permitted and banned – have been a part of professional sports for a very long time. Doping scandals have rocked cycling, baseball, weightlifting, and many other disciplines. Most recently, some active and former players have expressed serious concerns about the overuse of opioids.
Taking these issues into account, some athletes show preference toward naturally derived CBD for muscle pain. While the process may include scientific analysis and innovative production, CBD itself is derived directly from hemp plant source material.
6. CBD Topicals for Muscle Pain are Easy, Efficient, and Versatile
Unlike the range of oral supplements and drugs that require prescriptions and careful, timed dosing, athletes can simply apply CBD topicals for muscle pain when they need it, up to four times per day.
Athletes at every level sustain minor muscle strains frequently – a result of pushing one’s body to the limits during competition or training. But the oral products frequently used to relieve pain do not target specific areas. There’s no such thing as “knee capsules” or “quadriceps tablets.”
On the other hand, CBD topicals, especially those with an array of pain and inflammation fighters, target pain at its location. You can use topicals featuring CBD for muscle pain on most areas of the body. Athletes can also apply CBD solutions to joints after minor injuries.
7. CBD Oil Topicals for Muscle Pain Come in a Wide Range of Options
CBD topicals frequently contain a wide variety of ingredients that can help athletes relieve pain and recover from injuries. But the popularity of topicals doesn’t rely specifically on their formulas. The variety of application methods also attracts attention.
For instance, cbdMD’s CBD Freeze roller provides a no-mess roll-on applicator, which allows you to use it mid-workout or during a game without getting the gel on your hands. You don’t want your three iron to go flying due to slippery mitts.
CBD Recover, a CBD topical cream for pain relief, is available in a tub or pump bottle. It makes a perfect companion for post-workout muscle recovery or after minor joint injuries. CBD Recover is also offered in CBD concentrations of 750 mg and 1500 mg.
Tell Us About Your Road To Recovery
Whether you’re a professional or recreational athlete, we’d love to hear your story of recovery!
Maybe CBD wasn’t available when you sustained your injuries. How do you think CBD may have changed the way you bounced back? Perhaps you have a recent anecdote you’d like to pass along to the world.