For thousands of years, people throughout the world have known about the marijuana extract called CBD or cannabidiol and its almost miraculous ability to relieve pain. CBD has been used to relieve the pain caused by intense muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis (MS) and the inflammation in arthritis, for example.

It's an anti-inflammatory and nonpsychoactive compound that doesn't trigger the euphoric "high." CBD has a long history for treating acute pain, chronic aches, inflammation, swelling and redness, among others. It also helps people cope with stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Tourette's.

One recent medical study showed that out of the 62 percent of people that use CBD to treat a medical condition, most use it to manage chronic pain, arthritis and joint pain.

But it has only been in the past half-century that the Western medical community has even bothered to launch serious research on the pain-killing effects of CBD. One of these was an animal study in 2019 that explored how CBD may interact with serotonin receptors, which are believed to play a role in pain, depression and anxiety.

Given this history of success, it's no wonder athletes have continued to use CBD to cope with the sometimes-intense pain their particular sport inflicts on their bodies.

Athletes have been using CBD for decades and are among the most avid users of CBD. Why? Because CBD helps keep athletes competitive despite the pain. Athletes rely on CBD to soothe their aching muscles and to improve their mental health.

CBD attains these welcome results by allowing the body to use its own endocannabinoids more effectively. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. ECS might be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes such as appetite, pain-sensation, memory and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.

CBD activates or inhibits other compounds in the ECS. For example, CBD prevents the body from absorbing "anandamide," a compound associated with regulating pain. Higher levels of anandamide in the bloodstream might reduce the amount of pain a person feels. CBD might also limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system. This outcome is particularly beneficial to people experiencing pain and insomnia, for example.

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