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CBD for Sports Injuries: Does Cannabidiol Help Heal Wounds?

According to medical research, cannabidiol can, quote: inhibit TNF-α and IL-1β production in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells and promote wound healing in HGF-1 cells.” The quoted study focused on the treatment of oral inflammation and ulcers. 

The question is, does CBD’s wound healing power offer the same results for sport related injuries? In brief. Yes, CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of hemp or cannabis, hastens wound healing and offers the added benefit of pain relief. Sporting organizations in North America allow the use in and out of season. However, if you are planning to participate in a sporting event outside North America, it is advisable not to travel with cannabis products.

If you have suffered sport-related injury or are at risk, below is everything you need to know about CBD. 

Quick take: Does CBD help heal sport related injuries and wounds?

  • Medical research suggests that CBD may help wounds heal faster. 
  • CBD is an opioid free pain reliever and it can help treat opioid addiction. 
  • The FDA has not approved CBD as treatment for sport related injuries because more research is needed.
  • CBD is useful in the treatment of pressure and friction related wounds.
  • Apply CBD directly to the damaged area or consume it orally for pain relief.
  • Users notice CBD pain reliving effects between 15 minutes to an hour after consumption, depending on the dosage. 
  • If you have an underlying illness, low blood pressure, pregnant, or on blood thinners. Consult with a physician before taking CBD.


What is CBD, and does it help heal sport-related wounds?

For athletes, injury and wounds are a daily risk, it could happen at the gym, during training, or when sleeping, and you may fall off your chair occasionally. CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp and marijuana plants that does not cause a high. 

The chemical has uses in the management or treatment of over 50 ailments, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. 

Is CBD good for wound healing?

The studies that exist overwhelmingly claim that CBD can help the skin repair itself when applied religiously for a few days or weeks. On average, wounds take four to twenty-four days to fully heal. However, when CBD is applied topically or directly on the wound, the healing period is noticeably shorter. 

What the research says about CBD and wound healing:

  • CBD is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, and it has anxiolytic properties. That means it can relieve wound-related injuries, reduce inflammation, and help the user manage stress. 
  • CBD has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It will not cure infections, but the regular application may help prevent infections. If you suffer injury, it is recommended that you clean the wound with an anti-septic, apply CBD, then cover the wound. Applying CBD is beneficial in that it can prevent scarring and the development of keloids.

Is CBD good for sport-related ulcers or injuries?

Athletes may suffer wounds or injuries because of friction or injury. The application of CBD can help the user manage pain and inflammation.  

Pressure ulcers 

If you suffer an injury that causes you to be off your feet for extended periods, you may develop pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers are usually the result of lying or sitting in the same position for extended periods. They develop because blood supply may be cut to any area of the body and often occur around the elbow, tailbone, hips, and the back of the head, heels, and shoulder blades. 

How to treat pressure wounds and ulcers using CBD

Proper care hastens the healing process, but lack of it extends it. Regular application of CBD to the damaged area is recommended because it hastens the healing process. However, you must also do the following to avoid further damage:

  • Keep the wound moisture free. A physician or chemist may recommend a moisture barrier. You should also wash the area with mild soap and water.  
  • Remove loose dead tissue with a cleanser or saline solution. Apply CBD to help manage pain. 
  • Avoid products that may cause further damage, including hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Avoid movement or friction that may cause further damage. 
  • Change positions often to facilitate blood circulation. 

There are multiple variations of pressure-related wounds. For serious wounds, it is recommended that you consult with a physician.

Sport injury

CBD will not heal fractures, torn ligaments, and other serious injuries. However, it is an opioid-free pain reliever that you do not require a prescription for. Unlike opioids, there is no risk of developing dependence on CBD. 

As mentioned, minor injuries take a few days or weeks to heal. But they can be painful, swollen, inflamed, and crusty, all of which CBD can help manage or heal.  For serious injuries -such as the ones mentioned above- you can combine CBD with medical treatment to hasten wound healing. 

When to see a doctor

Some wounds require immediate medical care. Fractures, deep or gaping cuts, and infected wounds -require immediate medical care. If an infection is not treated in time, you may suffer septic shock, a condition that can be fatal.

Why use CBD for sports injuries?

2018’s farm bill legalized CBD, and sports bodies in North America allow the use in and out of competition. 

In the US, CBD which contains 0.3% THC is legal across all states. You may travel with the products across state lines, and you may use the products topically or through ingestion. 

The main benefit is that CBD causes mild side effects, and it does not contain opioids. Thus, there is no risk of developing dependence or addiction. 

It is also worth mentioning that WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) no longer categorizes CBD as a schedule 1 substance. According to them and the CDC, pure CBD products are safe for human consumption. However, the FDA has yet to approve CBD as a medicine for over 50 ailments and injuries because the long-term side effects of continued use are still under investigation. 

CBD can relieve muscle pain

Muscle pain is one of the reasons athletes avoid training.  There are a variety of CBD products that can help with muscle pain. You may use CBD sprays, oils, rollers, and so on. 

The benefit of using CBD for muscle pain is that the compound interacts with your endocannabinoid system, whether taken orally or applied directly to the skin. One of the functions of the human endocannabinoid system is pain management. 

How to use CBD to treat or manage sport-related pain and injury

According to medical research, CBD can help users manage pain related to:

  • Tennis elbow. If you use your hands often, you may develop tennis elbow. A condition that affects the outer area of the elbow. The pain may extend to the forearm making work or play difficult. CBD pain sprays, oils, or roll-ons, may be combined with rest and physiotherapy to hasten the healing process.
  • Strains. You may suffer strains while lifting, jumping, running, or engaging in quick action. Combine CBD application with adequate rest, cold and warm compress, and elevation to hasten recovery.
  • Brain trauma, whiplash, and auto injury. Some injuries are outside your control. CBD’s analgesic properties make it useful in the management of pain for persons who suffer whiplash and related injuries. 

According to medical studies, CBD also has uses in the treatment of injuries, including:

  • Runner’s knee – a side effect of repetitive movement common in bikers and runners.
  • Rotator cuff injuries that cause swelling and pain. 
  • Achilles tendon injuries.
  • Sprains. 

How to use CBD in the treatment of chronic sport-related pain

Chronic pain refers to pain experienced for at least 15 days in a month. It could be continuous, or it could come and go depending on the trigger. The cause could be sport related or a sign of an underlying illness.

Because of that, if the pain does not go away after a week or two, it is advisable to consult with a physician. That way, you can avoid exacerbating the pain, and treatment can begin. 

For chronic pain, a combination of CBD and THC can help relieve pain. However, THC is psychoactive -meaning consumption will cause a high.

What to remember:

  • If the pain is severe, a combination of THC and CBD is beneficial in management. 
  • The FDA has not approved CBD as a pain reliever because more studies are needed. 
  • Synthetic versions of CBD and THC are currently in use as a treatment for cancer-related pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments.
  • CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it useful in the management of arthritis-related pain.

What is CBD, and will it get me high?

CBD is a derivative of hemp or marijuana. One of the concerns athletes may have- is “will it get me high?”

No. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning if you purchase the product from the right source, you will not get high. What you want to avoid is any product that contains more than 0.3% THC -if your main concern is avoiding a high or testing positive for marijuana use. 

Currently, there are oils, tinctures, and sprays that you may apply topically or ingest orally. 

Apart from injury treatment, CBD can help in the recovery or prevent muscle spasms, Achilles tendonitis, sprains and strains, and motion or friction-related injuries. 

Are there any warnings athletes should be aware of?

CBD Is very good at lowering blood pressure. Consequently, if you have low blood pressure or are on blood thinners, you may want to avoid taking CBD until you recover.

If you have a heart or circulatory issue, it is advisable to consult with a physician before taking CBD or any other supplement. 

Is CBD safe for athletes?

0.3% THC is not enough to get you high, and the side effects of CBD, such as fatigue, and diarrhea, go away once the user ceases use. So yes, CBD is safe for athletes.

However, its effects are dose-dependent -meaning you do not want to take too much or too little. 

What is the recommended dose?

As a supplement there is no “right dose” for CBD. Consequently, you should start at low doses and work your way up to a level you are comfortable with.

That said.

The product you purchase may contain dosage instructions. You should also check CBD content to avoid taking too much.