How CBD Is Being Used In Rugby Cannabidiol (CBD) was not popular a few decades ago, with many people not aware of its existence. A few that were familiar with […] The Problems With CBD Oil Explained – We find out about research done by Liverpool John Moores University… And the need for more study in the field
How CBD Is Being Used In Rugby
Cannabidiol (CBD) was not popular a few decades ago, with many people not aware of its existence. A few that were familiar with it were mostly medical researchers devoted to exploring its possible health benefits. Their efforts have popularized CBD, with the buzz surrounding it louder than ever before. Today, many people know what CBD is and the benefits it has.
Its health benefits have compelled many sports organizations across the world to reconsider their position on it. Several high-profile athletes are now using CBD products for various purposes. This brings up the question this article will be addressing: how is CBD being used in rugby?
The Legality of CBD in Rugby
Perhaps, the most significant development concerning cannabidiol is the World Anti-Doping Agency removing it from the list of banned substances. Up until October 2018, CBD was included on this list. The agency announced that they will be removing it from their prohibited substances after calls from various entities. Both athletes and sports organizations positively received the decision, with most of them involved in campaigns to legalize the product.
Even after its legalization, rugby unions did not instantly follow suit. A few months later, they adapted to the new rule. This has led to an increased number of rugby players incorporating CBD products in their routine.
Potential Uses of CBD in Rugby
Rugby is a sport that can be potentially painful and dangerous. Many rugby players have resorted to using different types of painkillers in order to keep up with the game’s physical demands. Companies like flawless CBD are offering great CBD options. Even though most of these painkillers can effectively reduce the pain, continued use of such medicines can cause unwanted side effects. Opioid addiction is the most dangerous side effect —it can cause death.
Various studies have been done to explore CBD’s pain relieving potential. Experts suggest that CBD can help activate your body’s endocannabinoid system . This is the system responsible for inflammation as well as managing pain. Despite that this is an ongoing research, signs show that CBD can actually relieve pain.
With the product considered a non-psychoactive agent, it doesn’t cause any cognitive alteration effects that are linked with the use of cannabinoids such as THC. Furthermore, CBD does not have the side effects associated with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers.
Benefits of CBD for Rugby Players
CBD has become very popular in rugby. Most rugby players believe that CBD can help them with following issues:
Since concussions and head trauma are very common in rugby, protecting your head will help limit the possible brain damage. CBD contains neuroprotective effects that help protect the hippocampus— a part of the brain mostly affected by brain damage.
Inflammation can prolong the healing process of a cut, bruising, swelling, and any other injury. It is one of the most common immune responses of an active rugby player. Highly charged workout sessions can aggravate muscles, but it is worse when a player gets involved in serious contact. Used as a protective response, inflammation can make it more difficult for a rugby player to heal from injury.
Besides, it can increase pain and elongates the recovery process. This can be dangerous for a professional rugby player. Luckily, CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties that limit blood flow to the injury—speeding up the recovery process. You are likely to heal faster when you use CBD for injury treatment.
Tips Rugby Players Can Use When Choosing CBD Products
After a long time, CBD has finally been allowed in sports. However, there are some exceptions— some substances are still banned. As a rugby, you need to ensure that the CBD product you are using doesn’t put you at risk of disqualification. Cannabidiol is the only substance approved for consumption by athletes.
Other substances such as THC are still banned. So, if a rugby player is caught using such products, they risk disqualification. Luckily, most CBD products on market don’t contain large amounts of THC. Below are some tips rugby players can use to choose the right CBD products:
Know the THC levels in the CBD product: There are different levels of THC in CBD products. Many manufacturers believe that the efficiency of a CBD product is improved when THC and CBD work synergistically. WADA, the agency tasked with eliminating doping in sports, banned the use of THC substances by athletes.
Therefore, to avoid the risk of disqualification, monitor the THC content of your CBD product. You should also get your product from a legal CBD dealer like Zamnesia to purchase your CBD products or Cannabis Seeds .
Know the type of plant your CBD extract is derived: There are two main plants where CBD is extracted: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana contains higher THC levels— around 5 to 40%. On the other hand, hemp contains only 0.3%. This is why it is important to use CBD products derived from hemp.
It is clear just how much CBD products can positively change the sporting world. In rugby, players are taking a shorter period to recover from injuries and eliminating pre game anxiety. Without a doubt, CBD will become more mainstream in the near future.
The Problems With CBD Oil Explained
“If we go back about five years, I had players I worked with asking me about CBD,” says Graeme Close, professor of Human Physiology at Liverpool John Moores University and nutrition consultant with England Rugby.
“Five years ago it was quite an easy conversation: ‘It may be useful, it may not – I didn’t know much about it – but it’s prohibited by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency)’.
“Then in 2018 they removed it (from the banned list). As an academic/practitioner, that was not a good enough answer anymore.
“The starting point for me was with all the anecdotes you hear about how often it’s being used, (we had to) assess as many pro rugby players as we could, how prevalent was its use, why are people turning to it, what are the main reasons? How much do they know about it from an anti-doping perspective, and what are the perceived benefits so far?”
You may have seen rugby personalities talk about CBD – the cannabinoid found in the hemp strain of cannabis that has been linked to enhanced recovery, better sleep, relief with muscle soreness. Yet as was suggested by Dr Mark Ware in our companion piece, Chronic Pain, Cannabis and Rugby, with quality research “there is nothing on human pain and CBD. It’s astonishing that we don’t have data on that.”
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So in August, Close, his colleague Andreas Kasper and LJMU released the results from a study they had done that highlighted the high prevalence of CBD use among professional rugby players, despite warnings that there are still risks attached to its use. They found 26% of professional players surveyed (517 professional league and union players from UK-based competitions) had tried CBD oil and 8% were currently using it.
Worryingly, the team at LJMU found that only 16% of professionals surveyed had sought advice from trained sport nutritionists. A whopping 73% were getting their information from the internet, despite the risks of anti-doping violations.
Decision makers: World Anti-Doping Agency (Getty Images)
Although not prohibited by WADA, CBD often contains traces of other cannabinoids such as THC (the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of cannabis that creates the ‘high’), which is prohibited and illicit in quantities above 1mg per bottle. The real risk is that there is evidence to show that many CBD products have much higher levels of THC than stated on product packaging.
Close takes a balanced view. He tells Rugby World: “We published a paper, maybe five years ago now, which basically shows that rugby league players are in pain every day of their life during a competitive season. It subsides as it gets towards the game day but you’re never back down to zero.
“What we also know is that with some traditional pain medication (like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)), even Ibuprofen, if you take it long enough it’s related to stomach ulcers. Then you move on to the opiates like tramadol, and we know that they are addictive. There are problems with players who have openly admitted at the end of their careers to being addicted to opiate-based painkillers.
“So if we’ve got something with a side-effect profile that appears to be less than the traditional (painkillers), and the anecdotes suggest it’s effective in pain relief, I do think as academics we’ve got a responsibility to investigate it.
“The huge caveat to all that is at the moment it’s still a big anti-doping risk. I do believe it is still too soon for any athlete to be using it. I think people like myself have a responsibility to research it, and if it’s safe and it helps with pain relief and it’s got less side effects, then we have to work together with the authorities to find a way to make it able for athletes to use.”
Talking point: CBD products are part of a national discussion (Getty Images)
With the need for higher quality control in the field – as with the aforementioned issues with misleading labels – and new products coming out, quality research is imperative. There are different avenues yet to be explored, too.
While we may be aware of the reputable brands who have the low levels of THC they claim, there needs to be a study into the possibility of accumulating THC to such a level that a player fails a drug test.
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Of course the issue is how to go about conducting such studies?
As Kasper points out, you cannot use elite athletes as a control group for something like this because you risk them failing a test. Certain amateur competitions come under the WADA code, too. You have to carefully consider who you use.
Read next: IS IT TIME TO RETHINK STRENGTH & CONDITIONING IN RUGBY?
So is it an exciting time to be looking into this?
“If you were to ask me as an academic, with my professor of human physiology at LJMU, is this exciting or worrying, I’d say it’s exciting,” says Close. “We’ve got something here that has got so much potential.
“It’s like a skier finding (untouched) white powder snow. You can go and have some fun with it. Who knows what we’re going to find?
“You’ve got to remember that the way all this was discovered was people were trying to work out what was going on with cannabis, particularly THC – why was it having all these effects on the human body?
“And then we discovered the human endocannabinoid system. There’s a system in place whereby these cannabinoids bind to receptors and have major effects, and then you find a body producing its own endocannabinoids. It’s got so much potential.
Elite level: England in action during the Six Nations (Getty Images)
“Then you say, ‘Graeme, as consultant nutritionist with England Rugby, is this exciting or worrying?’ I’d say it’s terrifying because it’s a failed drug test waiting to happen!”
He again brings up recent studies that showed it’s “the wild west out there”.
And in February, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) set a deadline of March 2021 for CBD businesses to provide more information about CBD products and their contents. It also advises the pregnant, breastfeeding or those taking any medication not to consume CBD products, and said healthy adults should take no more than 70mg a day.
From the elite sports perspective, Close and his cohorts are keen to get to the bottom of a few key issues: does it actually work, what dose does it work at, and what are the WADA and safety issues related to that? Know all that, they say, and they will be in a much better position to advise athletes.
As for the performer, it’s best they seek the advice of professionals away from the testimony of mates, instead of scrolling through the internet.
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