We recently spoke with Rachael Rapinoe, co-founder and CEO of Mendi, a recovery brand that offers hemp-derived CBD that’s USA-made, 3rd-party-tested and built by athletes for athletes (and everyone else).
The topic was cannabis and athletes. Here are some of the ways that cannabis – and CBD – can help athletes as well as anyone doing physical activities, exercise and sports with some comments from Rachael.
1. CBD and THC Help Athletes with Sleep
A major benefit of using CBD or cannabis (THC) as an athlete or active person is the reduction in anxiety and an increase in calm that both can elicit. Sleep can be a major factor in improving sports performance and boosting recovery after exertion.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sleep helps you stay at a healthy weight, lowers your risk for serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, reduces stress and improves your mood and helps you avoid injuries, among other benefits.
“Science shows that sleep is the single most important thing you can do for your body – sleep and hydration. Drink water, sleep well, you’ll have a pretty good life.”
— Rachael Rapinoe, Mendi
2. CBD Helps Athletes Reduce Inflammation
CBD, in particular, but THC as well, have anti-inflammatory properties. CBD alone can be beneficial with anti-inflammatory properties, but the experts we’ve spoken with all agree that the benefits of CBD are enhanced with even a small amount of THC.
3. CBD and THC Help Athletes Manage Pain
While THC is better known for reducing pain, don’t discount CBD’s ability to help on the pain-relieving front. A lot of sports- or exercise-related pain is cause by over-exertion, strain or injury, and the resulting pain often is exacerbated by inflammation. CBD and THC work in concert to produce pain-relieving results both when consumed and when applied topically.
4. CBD Aids Athletes in Recovery
When looking to heal from injury, you may have heard the advice that you need to reduce inflammation – hence R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and break the pain cycle – which is why doctors may tell you to take a higher dose of ibuprofen for a short period of time. Breaking the pain cycle allows your body – and brain – to take a breather and spend more energy on healing.
And because our bodies and brains do a lot of healing work while we sleep, this takes us back to #1 – get better sleep, feel better overall and give your body more opportunities to recover.
5. CBD and THC Help Athletes Get in “The Zone”
One thing we didn’t talk about with Rachael is the use of cannabis with THC, in particular, to get into “The Zone” and focus more inwardly during a workout. While we wouldn’t recommend being high while playing sports, solo activities that don’t require a great deal of complex coordination or where there isn’t a major risk of injury could be ideal for consuming. Hatha yoga, for example, typically involves involves breath work, body stretching, holding yoga poses, and meditation. Because the pace of Hatha yoga is slower and more controlled than Bikram or Vinyasa, cannabis could enhance the meditative quality of one’s practice.
“No matter what sport you play or what job you have, you want to perform at a high level. If you’re stressed or anxious or sleep deprived, in pain or achey, it’s going to inhibit you from performing – or feeling – as best as you can.”
— Rachael Rapinoe, Mendi
In speaking with Rachael Rapinoe, she clearly has a strong focus on educating athletes about cannabis and CBD as either alternatives or supplements to traditional pain treatments. The products her company, Mendi, tend to contain higher concentrations of CBD than typical CBD products. Their Base Gummies, Gel Caps, Massage Oil, Salve Stick and Day and Night Tinctures sues CBD isolate for athletes who may be drug tested. Their Core line of Gummies, Day and Night Tincture, Bath Salts and Cream are full-spectrum products containing less than .3% THC.