Lab Testing

Athletes and CBD: What to Know About Purity


Athletes are turning to CBD for many reasons both before and after working out. The World Anti Doping Agency removed it from their Prohibited List, so an athlete can still use it if they’re in an affiliated sport. 

Those interested in CBD should pick a product that is pure, potent, and credible. They should select a product that provides third-party lab testing results from an ISO-accredited lab. It’s also important to choose the right type of CBD to get optimal results for athletes. 

In an unregulated market (no, the FDA is not regulating CBD), choosing a quality product can be tough. We broke down everything an athlete needs to know about CBD to equip others to make an informed purchase. 

CBD basics for the curious athlete

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is typically derived from hemp, a low-THC, high-CBD type of cannabis. CBD is a molecule that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant. It is particularly abundant in hemp plants. 

CBD will not get you high. It interacts with cannabinoid receptors in different ways than THC does. Plus, hemp-derived CBD is legal in the United States so long as the THC level is at or below 0.3%, which is too low to get users high. 

If you’ve heard reports of CBD intoxication, the product probably had more THC than the label claimed. This can pose an issue for athletes avoiding THC. CBD products should be properly tested for purity and potency to avoid these kinds of issues. Products that have been tested will also prevent athletes from consuming toxins. 

Athletes can try CBD for pain relief, better sleep, and more

In the United States, 40% of CBD users use it to combat pain. Even some pet owners give their dog or cat CBD to relieve some effects of aging. With this in mind, athletes may find great value in the compound for recovery and pain relief. 

Its anti-inflammatory effects can be beneficial both before and after working out. CBD topicals, such as lotions or salves, can be rubbed directly on achy muscles and joints for localized pain relief and recovery. Tinctures and oils, CBD edibles, or CBD capsules can also deliver anti-inflammatory effects. 

CBD may also ease anxiety and improve sleep. Some athletes use CBD to ease their anxious feelings, improve their focus, or improve sleep. It may promote relaxation and stress relief before a big event or help athletes sleep better. Edibles, tinctures/oils, or capsules can all be used to reap CBD’s beneficial effects on anxiety and sleep. 

CBD can be vaporized, too, with concentrates or flower. Now, athletes know that it’s important to have a good lung capacity if you want to be the best you can be. Vaping is easier on the lungs than smoking, delivers effects quickly, and can be used for all purposes. But if you are looking to optimize lung health, it may be a good idea to reach for a different method of administration. 

CBD affects everyone differently. Biology, dosage, method of administration, and the purity and potency of the product all affect this. If the CBD is no good, the results will not be either.  

How to choose and dose CBD for athletes

There is no universally accepted CBD dosage. Most products will have a recommended dosage on the package and you can adjust from there. If your product has a recommended dose, start with the low end of the recommendation and adjust accordingly. 

If you’re not sure where to begin, anywhere between 15-25 mg is a good starting point. Pay attention to how you feel and adjust your dose over time until you feel you’re getting optimal results. 

Your dose will also depend on if you use CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD. Isolate contains no THC, while full-spectrum contains some THC and other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD and other cannabinoids excluding THC. Some find broad and full-spectrum CBD to be more therapeutic because the plant parts synergize. 

It’s common for athletes to choose CBD isolate if they’re worried about potential THC showing up on a drug test. CBD isolate (or products tested as “THC free”) should not cause users to fail a drug test. If the product is improperly labeled or the athlete consumes enough for trace amounts to add up, they may run into problems. That’s why it’s important for athletes to choose products that have been tested for purity and potency.

Final thoughts for athletes using CBD 

Whether  to combat anxious feelings, relieve everyday stress, improve focus, or boost post-workout recovery, CBD may be beneficial for athletes. But it must be a quality product. 

CBD should be tested to verify its purity and potency. This ensures there are no toxins, solvents, or other substances present in the product. The easiest way to get quality CBD is to choose a product that has been tested by an ISO-accredited laboratory. This ensures their testing methods are up to standard. 

Pure CBD products have no detected levels of pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, or microbial contaminants.
Products must contain between 0-0.3% THC under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.
Products should contain high concentrations of CBD and less than 0.3% THC.
CBD is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.