Can CBD Help Ease Pain From Sports Injuries?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces beneficial effects to ease pain and help recovery from various injuries. In addition, the active component in marijuana responsible for the intoxicating high is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Since CBD has very little THC, it has the same positive effects in pain relief and sports recovery without the euphoric high. But how exactly can CBD help ease pain from sports injuries? Let's explore.

Scientific evidence of the effectiveness of CBD

There has not been enough scientific data to support CBD's ability to reduce symptoms, so more research and analysis are needed. Nonetheless, a Canadian study that was published in the Journal of Cannabis Research has produced some definitive findings. The study discovered that CBD was helpful for patients with moderate to severe pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms; however, it was ineffective for those with mild symptoms.

Studies on animals have demonstrated the efficacy of CBD in reducing inflammation and promoting the healing of skeletal muscle injuries; however, human trials have not yet confirmed these findings.

Mechanism of CBD

The exact mechanism of how CBD works is unknown; however, there are some postulated theories.

Cannabinoid receptors, specifically type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) receptors, are involved in the endocannabinoid system, the most well-known mechanism involving CBD. CBD is theorized to affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors (discussed below).

Cannabinoid receptorsFunction
CB1
These receptors are present in the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord. These CB1 receptors are responsible for the perception of pain.
CB2These receptors are found in the peripheral (non-central nervous system) tissues; they affect the immune system and inflammation.

CBD and sports injuries

Below are the most common ways in which CBD might assist you when having sport injuries:

  • Reduced inflammation. An injury will cause inflammation, but too much inflammation can impede healing. Through a complex process, it is thought that cannabidiol interacts with the CB2 receptor to activate the immune system and reduce inflammation. With this reaction, CBD can act like an anti-inflammatory medication, usually prescribed for most sports injuries.
  • Pain relief. As mentioned above, CBD is believed to interact with the CB1 receptor and block pain perception. Many people report significant pain relief from CBD supplements. Since the pain from sports injuries can limit rehab and the return to activity, CBD can be very helpful.
  • Improved sleep. CBD has been shown to have the potential to improve sleep. It is well known that muscle repair and recovery occur during the sleep cycle.
  • Decreased anxiety. Less anxious people will sleep better, which will improve muscle healing. Stress and anxiety raise our fight-or-flight response's cortisol levels, which prevents skeletal muscle repair. In addition, anxiety can weaken the immune system, which can result in disease and make it difficult to heal from injuries.
  • Decreased depression. Sports injury patients typically require rehab, which can occasionally be drawn-out and taxing. It may be difficult for a person suffering from depression to engage in the strength training and exercise required by the rehab program. Thus, CBD helps decrease depression and allows the person to succeed more in the rehab program.

Dosage and safety

The exact dose of CBD to obtain the positive effects mentioned above is unknown. Still, the recommended dose of CBD should be from 25 mg to 600 mg, as published in the July 2, 2021, online issue of the Journal of Cannabis Research.

CBD is usually well tolerated but can have side effects, including dry mouth, drowsiness, and fatigue. Some people have gastrointestinal effects such as decreased appetite or diarrhea.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, which President Donald J. Trump signed into law, CBD derived from hemp — which contains less than 0.3% THC — became legal on a federal level. However, the use and sale of CBD products are restricted in some states.

If you are considering purchasing CBD products, check your state laws and regulations.

The states that have the tightest laws governing the buying and selling of CBD are South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho as of the time this article was published. However, these restrictions have many gray areas, so we recommend you check with your state laws.

Should you use CBD with or without THC?

THC in CBD is contained at 0.3% or less, as this is the permissible federal and state limit. With this amount of THC, there is no psychoactive "high." While some people find that 0.3% THC enhances the effects of CBD, others find that CBD works best when it is free of THC. Even though some CBD is said to contain 0% THC, this might not always be the case.

In summary, CBD provides medical benefits similar to those of marijuana without having psychedelic side effects. It has been demonstrated to be beneficial for sports injuries involving the muscles, primarily by reducing inflammation and pain.

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