Cannabidiol, which is more commonly referred to as CBD, is a 100 percent natural compound found in the cannabis plant - or more specifically, in hemp, which is part of the cannabis family. CBD is one of over a hundred phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Phytocannabinoids interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system which is made up of receptors and enzymes which work to breakdown chemical compounds. Consequently, this can affect a number of processes in the body, affecting us both mentally and physically.
Another cannabinoid, which was perhaps the most famously associated with cannabis for many years, is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is heavily prevalent in marijuana, which is also a part of the cannabis family. This phytocannabinoid has a psychoactive element and this is what is responsible for the ‘high’ associated with taking marijuana. Hemp (from which CBD products are derived) has a significantly lower THC content and a high will never be felt from using pure CBD products.
The legal requirement across the EU and the US is for CBD based products to have a THC content of less than 0.2%. However, some people, and in particular athletes, prefer to go THC-free.
When CBD is extracted in a way that maintains the composition of all the naturally occurring compounds, including a very small amount of THC. When all the natural components are kept together, scientists have found that CBD is more effective.1 This is known as the entourage effect. However, including THC is not always ideal, particularly when it comes to sports as THC flags up on drug testing for athletes. For this reason, Reakiro are launching a new range called ‘Smart Restart’ containing zero THC, perfect for athletes.
In accordance with article 4.2.2 of the world anti-doping code, Cannabidiol (CBD) is no longer prohibited for professional athletes. Here is what some top athletes have to say about CBD and the ways in which they have incorporated it into their lifestyle and training.
Megan Rapinoe was one of the champions of this year’s World Cup and is also an Olympic gold medalist. She has spoken candidly about her relationship with CBD, “I wanted a healthier, more natural option for pain management, sleep aid, relaxation while flying, and general recovery. I think there is still a lot of stigma around the use of CBD and cannabis in soccer. There needs to be greater education so athletes can make an informed decision.” Rapinoe was introduced to CBD by her sister who said “CBD has been integral in Megan’s training and recovery program for the past few years.”
Ryan VandenBussche is a now-retired Canadian ice hockey player. He spoke about his CBD education and journey with MensHealth.com. “As a 14-year professional athlete that has had a dozen surgeries, many broken bones, and north of 20 concussions, it’s better than the alternative. As athletes, we were given opiates by our team doctors. Looking back after years gone by, I’m surprised I’m still alive.”
Saracens rugby star Dominic Day spoke up last year about his use of CBD oils, capsules, and balms which initially started after he was recovering from knee surgery. “I was probably taking prescription anti-inflammatories and painkillers four or five times a week just to get to the weekend to play. It wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. I just don’t take that stuff now, I stick with the CBD oil.”