Can CBD help Rugby players in one of the most injury-prone sports? A sport where players routinely crash into each other with little or no protective gear.
As the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs become more apparent, more and more players are turning to what is non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD). This is seen as a safer alternative treatment.
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How can CBD help?
In the 2015 Rugby World Cup, 173 players were injured in matches and an additional 20 injured in training, with 2019 expected to have similar numbers. According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the most prominent injuries were to the head and neck followed by the knee and shoulder, as a result of sprains, strains, breaks, and bumps.
CBD enriched sports supplements have shown many beneficial properties that may help players recover from injuries and the pain associated with the world cups rigorous and hectic schedule which players must endure over 7 weeks.
Shockingly 24 players were concussed during the 2015 Rugby World Cup and with no changes to safety gear, this year is unfortunately expected to have a similar outcome. CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective abilities protect the brain, protecting neurons in the brain which reduces the chances of degenerative diseases.
CBD has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress and is being investigated as a potential treatment for neurological disorders caused by this impact issue.
CBD is well known to have pain-relieving properties which is an absolute must for rugby players before, during, and after matches.
Inflammation is a major factor in muscle strains, tears and bruising.
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation in a number of studies.
It is well known now that top golfers such as Phil Mickelson are using CBD chewing gum to aid in concentration. Several players in that circuit are publicly endorsing CBD products.
CBD's anti-anxiety and calming effects have been shown in numerous studies. Anecdotally it aids in concentration which can benefit players and referees.
Especially in high-level games where fatigue and lack of concentration are key factors players in the outcome.
All players are prone to anxiety when playing at the top level for fear of losing their place. In particular, the younger players may be more nervous than their more seasoned colleagues.
CBD has been shown in numerous studies to have anti-anxiety effects.
The World Cup is the pinnacle of some careers and for others may serve as a swan song. Depression is a common factor for all sports professionals as careers come to an end.
As it often happens quite early in their lives compared to other professions. The general pressures associated with the high-level sport, along with concussion-related injuries are also contributory factors.
CBD has been shown to have great potential in treating depression along with its calming and anti-anxiety effects which may help these players cope with the transition.
Nerves are sure to be a big part of any game but if it affects the players sleep leading up to the World Cup then it will have a detrimental effect on their ability to perform.
CBD relaxing and calming effects have been shown to help towards a restful nights sleep.
Are rugby players permitted to use CBD?
The World Anti Doping Agency removed cannabidiol (CBD) from its banned substance list back in 2018. This was on the condition that CBD oil does not contain any trace of Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating substance.
In this case, only pure CBD isolate oils would be allowed to be used by players at the World Cup as they are independently tested and guaranteed not to contain THC.
Is CBD oil legal in the 8 rugby playing nations?
CBD is legal, with or without a prescription in 6 nations and 2 guest nations contesting in this year's Six Nations.
It's even legal in Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun legalised CBD oil back in 2016. The main caveat is that it must not contain any of the intoxicating compound THC.
Elixinol, a major global CBD brand set up business in Japan in 2014 in anticipation of legalisation has since built a market-leading product in Japan seeing 97% year on year increases in sales.
Are other sports professionals using CBD oil?
CBD oil is well documented as a treatment option for players in North American. Players in ice hockey leagues, as well as the NFL, have come out in support of its use.
CBD oil is not only ideal for the players but also for the referees and assistant referees. It might even come in handy for nervous backroom staff as well as for frantic supporters.
The substance’s ability in helping with public speaking may assist team captains prior to any media requirements.
The Six Nations will be an exciting time for both players and spectators with the restructuring of the global calendar.