As a CrossFit athlete I see all sorts of new fads when it comes to athletic recovery. From jigsaw-looking power tools that massage sore muscles to a myriad of powders and liquids that claim to be the perfect supplement to fix your (fill in the blank injury).
Enter the newest player in this game (it's been around forever, but new to the marketplace) - unlike so many others, Cannabidiol (CBD) is backed by a lot of scientific research - and it could be a game-changer in the world of recovery for high-intensity athletes like CrossFitters. We are already seeing companies making an attempt to expand their customer base to include athletes. If you were at the CrossFit Games West Regional last month in California, you may have seen new Games sponsor Pure Spectrum with a booth set-up. The Evergreen, Colorado-based company will be on-site in Madison as the first ever CBD company to sponsor The Games.
I was introduced to CBD during my time as spokesperson for Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming. A bill seeking to legalize CBD in Wyoming to treat seizures in children was introduced. The lack of information available to lawmakers was laughable. A former police chief who was a policy adviser to the Governor would give briefings every day about the bill, and would talk about the THC levels (which were trace amounts), give stories from the internet about kids “getting high” off CBD and other claims that were not backed up by anything. Despite this, the bill passed - but the Governor allowed it to become law without his signature - a final silent protest of sorts.
Since recreational legalization in Colorado - the access to CBD products has increased by leaps and bounds. I know a large number of CrossFit athletes who already use it as a recovery tool and swear by it. Despite this, the aforementioned level of ignorance about CBD remains high. Why should you be using it? Does it contain THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the “high”) Is it legal to use if you are an athlete who undergoes drug testing?
Like any supplement out there, I would encourage you to do your own research from as many different sources as you can. My information comes from people who have worked in this industry for decades, from studies done on CBD usage and from athletes who have used it for years. This article is the first in a series we are working on, which will go into detail how CBD works and how it can benefit you when it comes to athletic recovery.
There are some basic facts about CBD that make it appealing for athletes. The human body has what is called an Endocannabinoid System - just like our respiratory system is responsible for bringing oxygen to our cells, our Edocannabinoid System is responsible for bringing us to, or keeping us at homeostasis - the ideal state for the body. Anything that is out of balance in this system, can cause problems for us when it comes to sleep, anxiety or inflammation. This means CBD has a list of potential benefits that reads like a “what’s what” of recovery needs for any high-intensity athlete:
Improved mental focus
Improved immune system response
Improved gut health
We know that CBD aids in bringing our body back to homeostasis - and we know that these benefits come from our body being in that state. When you look at that list and think about the things you do or take to combat those issues - the idea of having one product that can address all those issues, was something I found extremely intriguing.
Even the federal government in patent #6630507 labels CBD as a “neuro-protectant” as well as an antioxidant. The benefits of CBD are well known and widely agreed upon. Now that you see the potential benefits of this product, the first question may be, “why is everyone not using this product?” Sadly, in this age where all the world’s information is available at our fingertips - we are still a society that is held back by the lingering claims made by propaganda films and anti-drug activists from as far back as the 1930’s. Many of the outrageous claims made about marijuana in Reefer Madness - are still thought to be true by millions, and that ignorance has unfortunately bled over into the CBD world. Your grandfather didn’t wake up one day thinking the Devil’s Lettuce is a “deadly scourge that drags our children into the quagmires of degradation” (that’s on the cover of Reefer Madness...seriously), that sort of ridiculous misinformation was pushed by the media and the government for years, and the “knowledge” still lives on - and in some cases has even dictated legal policy surrounding the drug.
I am not going to get into just how little THC there is in CBD products produced from marijuana plants (just look up the word “trace”) because you can get them with ZERO THC. CBD manufactured from the hemp plant, contains no THC. Companies like Pure Spectrum, the CrossFit Games sponsor, are made from hemp grown just north of Denver. They sell and ship legally to all 50 states because there is no THC in their product. CBD itself was on the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances until this year. USADA removed CBD from it’s list of prohibited S8 Cannibinoids, while THC remains banned. Despite this, many regional level CrossFit athletes I speak with about CBD, are wary of its potential to result in a failed test. If you are using CBD sourced from the hemp plant, this will not happen. So really it boils down to the company you are purchasing from and whether or not they are trustworthy and test their own product - which is what makes Pure Spectrum an attractive sponsor for athletes and athletic events. They already sponsor a number of MMA fighters who undergo rigorous drug-testing, most prominently UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
Navigating the supplement world to find what you need and what works has always been a headache. Overpriced powders, outrageous claims, failed third-party testing - it’s a jungle out there. CBD is not immune from this - so finding a trusted source is essential, especially if you are an athlete who will or who could potentially be tested by an anti-doping agency. It appears CrossFit HQ did their research with Pure Spectrum - finding a company that uses local hemp, tests their products, ensures the 0% THC level and tests their product from seed to sale. The fact they already sponsor world-class athletes who undergo testing should also put CrossFit athletes’ minds at ease.
These features all come with a cost - but if you look at the benefits and what CBD could be replacing in your cabinet, there really is no sticker shock. The companies producing low-cost CBD products are not going to be able to make those claims about how their CBD is manufactured.
“You can buy beef anywhere and you can buy any cut you want. You can buy ground beef and you will get what you pay for. Pure Spectrum is for the athlete that cares about what they put in their body, Pure Spectrum is the filet mignon of CBD,” said Brady Bell, Chief Executive Officer for Pure Spectrum.
If you are an athlete neglecting your endocannabinoid system, it is scientifically impossible for you to reach your full physical potential. CBD opens up a new window to athletic recovery - a limitless potential of what you could improve or correct - depending on what is out of balance in your body. This is not some 21st century “snake oil” - but rather a tool, available to us for centuries, that has been ignored by the masses because of propaganda, lack of education and government interference. CrossFit is ahead of the curve, bringing a CBD company into the sponsor fold - and opening the eyes of a population to this fountain of youth for functional fitness athletes.
Pure Spectrum, the CBD company sponsoring The 2018 CrossFit Games, is offering wild/STRONG readers a 10% discount on ALL their products. Make sure to follow the link and use the code WILDSTRONG at checkout.