Cannabis has gotten a lot of bad press in professional athletics. Whether we’re talking about Michael Phelps’ scandalous bong photo or Sha’Carri Richardson’s disqualification from the Tokyo Olympics, it’s clear that organizations like the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) don’t take kindly to cannabis.
However, these strict restrictions haven’t stopped pro athletes from incorporating cannabis into their training schedules. In fact, many sports stars argue cannabis cream for pain is a significant part of their game-day strategy. Although there’s still plenty of controversy surrounding THC in the sports community, there appear to be legitimate ways to use cannabis topicals for an athletic advantage.
How Can Cannabis Cream For Pain Help Athletes?
When most athletes talk about using “cannabis cream for pain,” they’re usually referring to hemp-derived CBD balms. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t face the same legal scrutiny from authorities like the WADA. However, it’s not just that CBD is legit that makes it an attractive option for sports players. There’s a lot of evidence that CBD topicals can help with common issues athletes experience.
Most notably, CBD-heavy creams show fantastic anti-inflammatory potential. Research from institutions as prestigious as the University of Kentucky strongly suggests topical CBD formulas can decrease joint swelling. This is terrific news for athletes who struggle with pain and inflammation related to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). CBD’s all-natural anti-inflammatory effects may reduce pain and speed up the muscle recovery process.
How can CBD creams have such a positive impact on inflammation and pain?
Most researchers believe it has something to do with the countless CB2 receptors on our
skin. Impressively, the endocannabinoid system isn’t restricted to the brain or the central nervous system. Dermatologists have proven there are cannabinoid receptor sites on the skin layer, which helps explain how CBD can have an impact without penetrating the blood-brain barrier.
OK, CBD topicals seem to be beneficial for pain…so what about THC balms? Unfortunately, the research into THC topicals isn’t as robust as for CBD, especially in an athletic context. Although some cannasseurs swear their favorite sativa gets them “pumped,” there’s no empirical evidence on how THC affects a workout.
Since THC is psychoactive, it carries a lot more stigma than CBD. Hopefully, as investigators take a serious look at how THC creams interact with the skin, authorities will understand how this cannabinoid alters joint and muscle pain.
Is It Seriously Legal For Athletes To Use Cannabis Cream For Pain?
When the US legalized hemp-derived goods in 2018, the WADA made a significant distinction in its official list of “banned substances.” From 2018 onwards, it’s legal for pro athletes to use hemp-derived CBD products, provided they contain ≤ 0.3 percent THC.
While every sports league may have different standards, most authorities agree that hemp extracts with these ultra-low delta-9 THC concentrations are OK to use. Athletes must remember that even minimal traces of THC can show up on a drug screening. Since THC is fat-soluble and has a long half-life, it can stick around in a person’s system even without inducing psychoactive effects.
However, full-spectrum CBD creams shouldn’t disrupt a standard cannabis drug screening. The cannabinoids in cannabis topicals can’t penetrate the skin into the bloodstream. Therefore, it’s unlikely using a CBD-heavy cannabis cream for pain will get an athlete disqualified.