CBD Products are Helping Athletes Avoid Prescription Painkillers

It is no secret that being a professional athlete can be incredibly hard on your body. It doesn’t matter if you play basketball, football, soccer, or compete in running, climbing, or fighting at the highest levels —these sports take a heavy toll on your muscles and joints. In many cases, a life spent putting that much demand on your body will leave you with a series of physical issues and constant pains. Painkillers become a constant companion for athletes who suffer from chronic pain, both active and retired.

It has been well documented that anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) and opioid-based painkillers are regularly abused by athletes of all ages and regularly result in adverse effects and lifelong addictions. With so many of our promising young people and most famous stars suffering from this form of drug abuse, simply to play a sport they love, alternative solutions need to be found. This is where CBD products come in.

With the slackening of the prohibition on the product, and the World Anti-Doping Agency allowing it to be used, Cannabidiol (CBD) products are becoming a major new force in the world of athletics and wellness. In this article, we will quickly explore how and why CBD has become such a significant player in the athletic world today, and just what this change means for the performance and future of the athletes that use it. 

CBD as a Replacement for Painkillers

Painkillers have become incredibly commonplace in the United States, and some of the most common abuse rates occur amongst professional athletes. It is estimated that roughly half of all NFL football players have been given opioid painkillers, and 72% of those players admit to opioid abuse. The MLB also had a huge issue with opioid abuse, but only agreed to begin testing for the compounds in 2019 after a Los Angeles Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, died from opioid abuse-related issues -several baseball players have said that opioid drug use is rampant in baseball.

These are alarming stats, more so for the fact that opioid abuse takes even more of a toll on one’s body than the sport itself will. Abdominal pain, anxiety, vomiting, and diarrhea are all common with opioids, and they also greatly hinder one’s ability to function normally throughout the day.

Luckily, CBD and other cannabinoids have begun to replace opioids for many seeking pain relief and respite from other chronic issues. CBD has been shown to offer many of the same pain-relief effects as opioids without any of the same harmful side effects. In fact, when the MLB began testing for opioids in 2019, they also decided that cannabinoids would no longer be on their banned substances list, in what many see as an effort to offer a safer alternative.

While much of the research is still ongoing, we have thousands of anecdotal cases to draw from. Right now, it looks like CBD may be offering athletes of all ages, active and retired, a better, healthier, and all-around safer method of alleviating chronic pain issues brought on by sporting competition. 

CBD as a Replacement for Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Another issue that is less talked about is the abuse of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen amongst athletes. Athletes often take these over-the-counter drugs to deal with pain and improve healing time. This type of excessive use has been associated with heart attacks, stomach bleeding, and kidney damage. With so many young people and athletes relying on anti-inflammatory drugs, we see a steep rise in adverse health effects and complications due to how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs interact with other medications and alcohol.

As with opioid painkillers, CBD appears to provide many of the same beneficial effects found in anti-inflammatory drugs, but without many of the adverse side effects that come along with long-term usage of those products. It would appear from preliminary studies and anecdotal stories that CBD may be a healthier and more beneficial long-term solution for fighting inflammation issues in athletes.

Cannabidiol  and the Future of Athletes

Cannabidiol and other Cannabis products are quickly gaining in popularity for several reasons, and one of the fastest areas we see this growth take place is competitive sports. With CBD able to do the same job as many over-the-counter medications without the long-term complications, addictiveness, and organ damage, we are likely to see professional careers begin to extend and the quality of life for retirees significantly increase. While there is still a lot of science that still needs to be done, we are already seeing physical trainers, doctors, and experienced health experts recommend CBD compounds for chronic pain issues. It is not unlikely that we will see CBD become a staple in the toolbox of many physical trainers in the years to come.

“CBD is a natural alternative that has helped me stay at the top of my game for several years now… it’s natural, and I don’t want to be filling my body with chemicals. I eat clean and train hard, so I want my recovery process to be as natural as possible.” – Megan Rapinoe, American professional soccer player and Gold Medalist.

The significant increase in CBD options is also a boon for the athletic world. Where many were once hesitant to smoke products (especially those who need peak lung capacity), we have seen CBD gummies, creams, and even shampoos hit the market and find great popularity. In the near future, we will likely begin to see CBD products made specifically for runners, fighters, and other high-performance athletes looking for something specially designed around their needs. With so many retired athletes now creating their own CBD brands, this is almost a guarantee.

Learn More About the Possibilities of CBD

At, we will continue to look into and report on the many ways CBD oil and CBD products are changing and improving the health and wellness of people. We will also continue to offer in-depth reviews and insights into the market’s newest and best CBD products. Check back often for more information on the science behind CBD and the exciting products coming out each month.


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