What is athlete-friendly CBD? And is it right for me?



If you’re an athlete, you’re probably avoiding hemp products of all forms before drug tests – even CBD. Full-spectrum CBD products contain low amounts of THC, generally up to 0.3% (though some have been known to contain more THC than they advertise.) These traces of THC can make some people fail a drug test, even when all they’ve used is CBD, an anti-inflammatory cannabis compound that produces no psychoactive effects.

For pro athletes, positive drug tests are a hard stop. Just this year, track star Sha’Carri Richardson was forced from the Tokyo Olympics after failing a cannabis drug test.

RELATED: For the first time, CBD is welcome at the Olympics. Will cannabis be next?

If the fear of something like that happening to you is holding you back from trying CBD, you may be interested in athlete-friendly CBD — CBD advertised as containing no THC in it whatsoever.

Brands like Athlete’s Best and Pure Hemp Botanicals have developed THC-free CBD that is perfect for athletes. You can even get CBD-infused supplements and protein powder, and U.S. Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe even started her own athlete-friendly CBD company called Mendi. She swears CBD boosts her athletic performance by aiding with recovery, pain management, and improved sleep.

We took a look at what exactly athlete-friendly CBD is, and whether it might be right for you.

Regular CBD Versus CBD for Athletes

There are three types of CBD on the market. Full-spectrum CBD is made using whole hemp extract and typically contains THC, so most athletes will want to avoid this. CBD isolate only contains pure CBD, meaning there’s almost no chance that it will make you fail a drug test. However, an isolate could limit some of the benefits of CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD is the best of both — it contains cannabinoids that can help relieve stress, but doesn’t contain any THC. This means no positive drug tests and, if it works for you, a whole lot of health benefits.

RELATED: Will CBD make me fail a drug test?

While CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD are very unlikely to make you fail a drug test, we have to note that there are exceptions. Some people have reported testing positive for cannabis use after only using CBD isolate. While there is no data on how often this has occurred, anecdotal evidence suggests these cases are few and far between.

CBD for Athletes: The Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of CBD for athletes. As you read these, keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of research out there on CBD yet, so the evidence for these benefits is almost entirely anecdotal. These are simply the benefits most athletes using CBD are reporting.

Reduced Pain and Inflammation

As an athlete, recovery is important to avoid muscle soreness as much as possible. CBD for athletes is used around the country for reducing pain from exercise and reducing inflammation, which can have a negative effect on your recovery.

It can also relax your muscles before your workout when you use it as pre-workout, especially if you have any muscle tension or soreness. When applied topically in a cream or lotion, it can directly target any area as needed.

Better Recovery

Getting good sleep as an athlete is crucial. It’s one of the most effective ways to recover and perform better in your training sessions. CBD promotes relaxation and a better night’s sleep, which can be helpful if you suffer from insomnia or any nervousness or anxiety around events.

RELATED: Should you use cannabis as pre-workout? We asked health experts how CBD and THC affects exercise

Stress Relief

CBD can help you to relax and boost your mood before, during, and after training sessions. It’s helpful for any stress and anxiety you may experience around events or intense training days. Overall, it’s a great tool for stress relief.

Should You Try CBD for Athletes?

If you’ve never tried it before, it could be worth giving athlete-friendly CBD a shot to see how it feels for you. CBD can be a powerful tool to help you physically and mentally as an athlete. It’s now possible to use it at the Olympics, and the rules around it appear to be loosening in other athletic competitions worldwide.

It’s worth noting that CBD for athletes isn’t an alternative to traditional painkillers or mental health medication, but it can help a great deal as a natural supplement to other forms of treatment. Consult a healthcare provider to explore whether athlete-friendly CBD could be right for you.

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