MMA athletes are among the world’s most elite competitors. The need to stay in top form is a must. However, injuries from training and competition are not uncommon and can derail even the toughest and most seasoned athlete.
While pain relievers like NSAIDs “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories” (aspirin, ibuprofen) and Analgesics (Acetaminophen/Tylenol) can provide short-term relief, they may not be good to use long-term due to potentially adverse side effects. Additionally, more potent pain-relieving solutions include prescription narcotics like Tramadol (ultracet), codeine, hydrocodone (Norco), oxycodone (Percocet), which can be highly addictive. These prescription narcotics have been linked to over 250,000 deaths in the last 20 years.
Relief for Athletes with CBD
Many MMA athletes are exploring CBD oil as a newer and safer option for relief. Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a metabolite from the plant Cannibis sativa. CBD is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant and is available as a commercial product in oral, topical, and even inhaled forms. Its effects reside in the endocannabinoid system of the body – a complex system responsible for attenuating pain and inflammation. Several animal studies have suggested benefits from CBD to include anti-inflammatory, anti-discomfort and mood stabilizing effects.
“CBD is becoming a part of my treatment protocols for many patients,” said Dr. Michael Jonesco, DO, leading sports medicine physician and medical director of VALO Living CBD. “I like topical options for patients who do not tolerate pills or liquids well. Oral formulations are ideal for more systemic approach (not just localized to the knees or a particular joint) and can be used for diffuse aches and pains and to limit systemic inflammation.”
It’s important to note that while the WHO (World Health Organization) has concluded CBD is without significant abuse potential, it is not regulated as a drug. As such, there are “quality control” issues where what you buy in the store does not actually match up with the contents of the bottle. One study found only 30% of the 84 products evaluated were labeled accurately. Therefore, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing CBD.
Tips for Finding High Quality CBD
Spectrum and CBD
On every CBD label, you will find the phrases “full-spectrum,” “broad spectrum” or “Isolate.” This can be confusing, as from a marketing perspective, the full spectrum may seem more appealing. Or maybe the isolate would, as it would be the purest form of CBD. Dr. Jonesco recommends “broad spectrum” CBD, which would not include the THC (as full spectrum would) but would include other important compounds called terpenes and flavonoids, which contain other therapeutic and health promoting effects.
Like anything you put into your body, you want to know where it’s from. The more you know about the farm and the way CBD is grown, extracted and manufactured the better. CBD that is grown 100% organically reduces the risk pesticides and other toxins make their way into the finished product. Larger well-established farms practicing organic farming are best.
CBD can be distributed and delivered in several ways. Orally (pill form or an edible “gummy”), sublingual (tincture, a droplet under the tongue), or topically (a rub or salve placed on the skin and absorbed systemically). CBD used topically is great for local discomfort that is close to the skin. Oral softgel tablets work to manage more systemic concerns given the better absorption by the gut.
When shopping for high quality CBD, be sure to look at the label and choose a 100% hemp-derived broad-spectrum CBD product. Look for a CBD brand that provides a Certificate of Analysis (COAs) for every product so that consumers can see the exact values of CBD, THC, terpenes and even pesticides found in their product.
CBD is an exciting supplement to consider for managing discomfort and supporting overall wellness for the MMA athlete.