Why do MMA athletes use CBD?

Published on 12 June 2020 at 23:52

During the UFC 202 (Ultimate Fighting Championship) press conference, mixed martial arts athlete Nate Diaz was seen vaping by a CBD pen vaporizer. Why are so many MMA fighters becoming supporters of CBD use?

After losing (through a unanimous verdict) against Connor McGregor at UFC 202, wrestler Nate Diaz was seen vaping by a pen vaporizer at CBD during the press conference. The video shows the athlete, with his face bloodied and wounded by the fight, making occasional shots while answering journalists' questions about the contents of the vaporizer. At the time, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considered CBD to be a prohibited substance. For this reason, fans of Nate Diaz feared that the explicit use of a cannabis product would cause him to suspend and pay a fine. However, there were no consequences for his actions. Some argue that the reason Diaz was pardoned is because the meeting was over and he had already done doping tests.

Whatever saved Nate Diaz from suspension, his prowess has brought the use of CBD to the fore in professional sports. Since then, WADA has removed CBD from its list of banned substances, triggering widespread interest in CBD among professional athletes and MMA enthusiasts. But why is CBD so popular with athletes? Why do famous wrestlers like Nate Diaz, Bas Rutten, Yair Rodriguez and Joe Schilling use CBD? In this article, we will examine the benefits of CBD for muscle recovery, chronic pain, anxiety, sleep and other symptoms, and discuss some of the great marketing moves that CBD manufacturers are making in this exciting development in the field of 'MMA. CBD is gaining popularity in the MMA Cannabis has long been banned in professional sports. In 2015, Nate Diaz's older brother Nick Diaz was suspended from the UFC for five years and fined $ 165,000 for marijuana use, despite having a medical license issued by the state of California. The sports supervisory authorities considered the use of marijuana as serious as the use of steroids and other drugs used to improve performance. In Nick Diaz's case, the punishment was probably even worse than the standard ones: most penalties related to the use of steroids only result in suspension for one year. But times are changing. Although THC (the main psychoactive compound of cannabis) remains prohibited under WADA, USADA and other anti-doping organizations, the authorities have lifted the ban on taking CBD. Thanks to this step, and to the general increase in the popularity of CBD, many MMA fighters are using it as a natural, safe and legal means of promoting healing. In particular, CBD is an excellent alternative for MMA fighters to the opioids used for pain management. Unlike CBD, opioids are addictive and have a number of negative side effects. In addition, opioids do not have the numerous additional benefits that CBD can offer, such as the ability to accelerate healing by reducing inflammation, or potentially help manage brain trauma.



The legend of the MMA Bas Rutten and the CBD The events of the Dutch Bas Rutten, one of the main pioneers of the MMA, are an excellent example of the harmful effects of the use of opioids. After suffering an injury in 2006, in fact, he was given opioids to manage pain. In no time, Rutten switched to using heavy doses which not only made him addicted, but also caused liver damage. Rutten has recovered thanks to the help of CBD, which is why he is now one of the main supporters of its use among MMA fighters. What is CBD? Why are MMA athletes using it? CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is only one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. These natural compounds are responsible for the many health benefits that cannabis offers. Most people are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the altered states caused by marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive at all. In fact, it can have many beneficial effects on symptoms such as inflammation, pain, anxiety, sleep and other common health problems. This combination of factors makes CBD a perfect supplement for MMA wrestlers. In fact, MMA is one of the most exhausting sports imaginable and wrestlers regularly suffer from pain, concussions and different types of head injuries, soreness, damaged ligaments and strong inflammation. Furthermore, one of the MMA's best-kept secrets is that most of this damage does not take place during matches, but in the midst of regular training. These injuries not only break down the body and prevent wrestlers from fully recovering, but also make it difficult to sleep. As a result, athletes have a hard time giving their best in the gym and moving on with their private lives. CBD helps to deal with all these problems, improving recovery between workouts and promoting sleep

Let's go into more detail on the specific benefits of CBD and how it can help MMA fighters. The benefits of CBD for athletes

CBD and muscle recovery Regardless of how often you train, you must still allow your muscles to recover between one workout and another, so as to avoid injuries. In the case of professional MMA athletes, the more time is spent on training, the more ready they will be for the upcoming fight. In fact, this is the main reason why many wrestlers end up using banned substances: these drugs allow you to train longer and recover faster. Consequently, the support that CBD can give to muscle recovery is one of the most common reasons for its use among wrestlers. But how does it favor all this? Every time we exercise we cause microscopic tears in the fibers that make up our muscle tissue. The body's response to this damage is to trigger an inflammatory response in the affected area, causing pain for a few days after training. This inflammation is a positive reaction in the short term: it helps to draw blood to that area, which brings with it the nutrients and oxygen necessary to repair the damage. However, in many cases the inflammatory process lasts too long, slowing down recovery times and forcing athletes to pause workouts. In the worst case, inflammation can lead to chronic conditions. For example, former UFC champion Tyrone Woodley made headlines in 2019 when he said he was suffering from chronic hand arthritis at the age of only 37.


Let's see how CBD comes in


1.CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that act to speed up the recovery process and not to keep the inflammation lasting longer than necessary

That way you can get back to the gym soon. In addition to the anti-inflammatory effects, CBD is a powerful antispasmodic, which means that it can calm the post-workout hyperactivity of muscle fibers, often the cause of tremors and contractions.

2. CBD and sleep

Every professional wrestler knows the importance of a good night's sleep. In general, sleeping well is essential for the physical recovery and overall performance of any person, an MMA athlete or not. Sleeping well (and well) is a common problem for wrestlers: they are kept awake not only by pain and soreness, but also by stress and pressure related to the competitive nature of the sport they practice, which includes practices such as cutting weight . Studies have also shown that sleep disturbances are common in people who have suffered head injuries, which happens regularly to any professional wrestler. Fortunately, CBD is an excellent natural remedy for insomnia: it indirectly promotes sleep by reducing anxiety, one of the main causes of insomnia. In particular, it has been shown that CBD supports a neurotransmitter present in the brain known as GABA, capable of slowing down the activity of neurons and promoting relaxation. This is one of the main mechanisms by which CBD reduces anxiety and helps us feel relaxed and calm.

3.CBD and pain

Although athletes try not to incur injuries, it is really difficult to avoid them altogether. Opioid pain relievers are a conventional pain treatment, but they can cause addiction and a long list of unwanted side effects. CBD, on the other hand, has very few side effects and is not addictive. The most common contraindications encountered by the use of CBD are drowsiness and dry mouth, both relatively mild symptoms, which disappear along with the effects themselves. Conversely, once you become addicted to opioid pain relievers, it can take weeks to reverse their effects. Some people report digestive disorders that persist for several months after stopping treatment, which is not ideal for someone who performs in front of millions of fans around the world. CBD is a powerful pain reliever, which releases its benefits in two main ways: Preventing painful impulses from reaching the brain: CBD activates a series of receptors in the brain and spinal cord (including, to some extent, opioid receptors) that work to reduce pain impulses before they reach the brain. Reducing inflammation: as mentioned above, CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Pain is one of the key factors in the inflammatory response. By reducing inflammation in the damaged area, we can actually also reduce the number of painful signals sent to the brain. This is how, for example, drugs like aspirin work.

4. CBD and brain damage Brain damage is a serious problem, and unfortunately common for professional wrestlers.

Having repeated headshots (many of which cause unconsciousness) can cause both short and long term neurological damage. Just look at the blows suffered by Nate Diaz in her second match against Conor McGregor. The cuts and scratches are superficial, but it is more than likely during the meeting that his brain also suffered a hard beating. The medical term in this case is traumatic brain injury (TBI). CBD has been shown to offer benefits for this condition, and even prevent it. In this regard, the United States Department of Health and Care Services even owns a patent that defines CBD as a neuroprotective agent. So how does it work? There are several things to explain, many of which have already been covered in our article entitled CBD and head injury.

The point is that CBD can help heal traumatic cranial lesions through its anti-inflammatory effects (as already mentioned), it can prevent glutamate-induced cell death and improve resistance to many of the side effects that occur following a trauma. cranial (such as depression and anxiety). What is the endocannabinoid system? All mammals have what is called an endocannabinoid system. This system, which uses cannabinoids produced inside and outside the human body, works to maintain a healthy state of balance called homeostasis. By promoting balance, the endocannabinoid system helps the body recover from all sorts of injuries and injuries. MMA wrestlers often suffer physical trauma, both in the gym and during fights. CBD and other cannabinoids support the endocannabinoid system, helping to restore the body to a normal state of balance after training and fighting related to MMA. In addition, CBD also offers additional benefits which we will elaborate on later.


How do MMA wrestlers use CBD?

After looking into WHY professional athletes use CBD supplements, now let's see HOW they use them.

CBD products are available in all imaginable formats: bath bombs, topical creams, lip butter, oils, capsules, tablets, suppositories (yes, really) and vaping oils. CBD tea and coffee are also available.

Despite the wide range of products available, each has a different application: the factors to be taken into consideration in this case are the dose and the method of administration.

There is a big difference between the use of CBD as a supplement for general health and therapeutic use.

Bath bombs containing about 100 mg of CBD will certainly offer some relaxing benefits, but they will not help soothe a serious muscle or ligament injury as they cannot penetrate deep enough into the body. To do this, you will need to take CBD in a format with better absorption, such as oils or liquids with CBD for vaporizers.

It is also useful to decide on the most suitable CBD intake method based on the type of problem to be treated. For example, topical products may work well for localized knee pain, but if you want to treat whole-body inflammation caused by training, you need a product that penetrates the bloodstream and reaches the whole body. .


CBD for internal or topical use

CBD can be used locally on the surface of the skin or internally through oral intake or inhalation through the lungs. Each of the methods has observed positives and negatives that we need to know

 A. CBD products for topical use

The advantage of using topical products is that it applies to CBD directly on the affected area, if for example the source of the problem is the underlying skin, muscles or ligaments. The skin and underlying tissues are full of cannabinoid receptors that are activated by CBD and other ingredients found in hemp extracts. However, the main topics of CBD have an important disadvantage: only small or zero amounts of CBD will be able to reach the bloodstream to be distributed throughout the body. For this reason, you won't find many benefits from topical use of CBD if you want to treat symptoms such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression or inflammation and whole-body pain. In these cases it is much better to use CBD products for internal use.

B. CBD products for internal use

By internal products we mean any type of product ingest or inhale. In this way CBD can travel in one of the three main channels of our body. The most common use is sublingual: CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries present under the tongue. Another common route is the lungs, where CBD is absorbed efficiently and quickly. Finally, when ingested, CBD passes through the digestive system and the liver, after which it enters the blood and is thus distributed throughout the body. The problem with this form of hiring is that it is difficult to target a specific area as it can be done with actuality instead. However, oral abuse is excellent for alleviating problems related to the whole body or even internal, such as inflammation, brain trauma, headache, nausea, anxiety and pain. Use additional ingredients to potentiate the effects of CBD Another thing to consider when using a CBD product are the additional ingredients included in the formula. CBD is not the only supplement capable of accelerating healing, reducing inflammation, promoting sleep or useful in case of brain damage. In fact, CBD works even better when combined with other targeted supplements. For example, a CBD capsule to promote sleep will have many more beneficial effects that also contain melatonin. Likewise, a formula with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as curcumin or boswellia will relieve pain more effectively than isolated CBD


Here is a table to simplify all this:

Reason for using CBD Type of CBD to be used Recommended dosage range * Additional ingredients to improve the effects of CBD
Muscle recovery Combination of CBD for topical and internal use (as liquids for vaporizers, oils and creams) Medium to high intensity Boswellia, proteins, white willow bark, turmeric, menthol
Promote CBD sleep for internal use Medium to high intensity Melatonin, kava kava, valerian, passion flower, tryptophan, GABA, lemon balm
Pain Combination of CBD for internal and topical use on the sore area Medium to high intensity Turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, white willow bark, boswellia, menthol
CBD brain damage for internal use High intensity Passion flower, tyrosine, alpha-GPC, pterostilbene, resveratrol, phosphatidylcholine

* You can consult our CBD dosage guide to find out how many mg of CBD these intensities correspond to by weight


Final thoughts: use CBD for recovery from MMA

In recent years, CBD has become part of the world of MMA. As more and more fighters become supporters of the hemp-derived compound, we can expect this supplement to become a staple in the world of professional fighting.

Wrestlers like Nate Diaz and Bas Rutten support the use of CBD because it helps with some of the major problems that athletes regularly experience, such as inflammation, pain, injury, general stress and anxiety.

CBD can help wrestlers recover after intense training and a meeting, protect against brain injury and injury, facilitate sleep and help reduce pain.

More and more wrestlers are starting to use CBD, and are using it in the form of oil tinctures, vaporizer products, capsules, topicals; at the same time, many companies in the world of CBD are proposing to sponsor wrestlers and MMA organizations such as Bellator and the UFC. For this reason, we expect CBD to become even more common in the world of MMA.

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