UFC Fighters such as Dana White are leaping into the world of CBD, and taking a huge step for the entire sports world! Here’s how CBD is impacting UFC and athletes all over.
What is the UFC?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, most commonly known by UFC, is the largest professional mixed martial arts organization in the world. They are also the largest Pay-Per-View provider globally, and their events showcase the greatest international fighters that the sport has to offer.
So what exactly is mixed martial arts? Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport, in which the rules allow fighters to use both grappling and striking techniques. In simpler terms, this means that fighters are allowed to punch, kick, and grab each other during the competition.
MMA allows a wide variety of fighting skills and techniques to be utilized during competition. These various fighting skills and techniques are derived from other forms of combat, most of which have been around for centuries. These other forms of combat that MMA is derived from includes:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Kung Fu
- Freestyle wrestling
- Greco-Roman wrestling
There are many ways for a fighter to win a fight. The most common way is by one knocking out the other, but there is also submission and technical knockout. Technical knockouts are when the referee stops the contest because they believe that one of the fighters is no longer able to defend themself.
Sounds like a pretty rough sport, right? For this reason, as you might’ve already guessed, most UFC fighters suffer many injuries to multiple body parts throughout their careers.
What is CBD?
CBD is rapidly sweeping the nation, mainly due to its versatility when it comes to helping people with a wide variety of ailments. The full scientific name of this chemical compound is actually cannabidiol, usually just referred to as CBD. CBD is completely legal in the United States and is a naturally occurring compound that is harvested directly from the cannabis plant.
There tends to be a negative stigma surrounding CBD because people frequently associate it with drugs, marijuana, and getting high. However, no part of this stigma is true in any way! In fact, CBD can’t get you high, as CBD and marijuana are not the same things. Contrary to popular belief, they are two completely different chemical compounds.
The cannabis plant includes both hemp and marijuana, however, they are both very different from each other. Marijuana contains a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. THC is the chemical compound that makes people high, and marijuana contains a good amount of it, hence why marijuana makes people feel high. Hemp, on the other hand, only contains 0.3% or less THC, which is the reason that CBD cannot get people high!
A majority of the time, CBD is derived from hemp, but occasionally it can be derived from marijuana. Due to this, most CBD and CBD-infused products readily available on the market use hemp-derived CBD. This means that they cannot get you high!
When you think about it, there isn’t any medicine or product that works for everyone, and that’s because everyone is different in their own ways. This same idea goes for CBD and CBD products. Although CBD products seem like a miracle product to a lot of people, they don’t work for everybody, unfortunately. So, if your friend gets a CBD product that they love, that same product might not work best for you.
Why Are UFC Fighters Using CBD?
Up until 2018, CBD was considered a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, UFC fighter Nate Diaz didn’t seem to care too much. In 2016, Diaz was publicly hitting his CBD-infused vape pen, on camera, with a bloodied and battered face during one of his post-fight press conferences. Normally, the open use of cannabis products would’ve led to fines and suspensions, however, there were no consequences for Diaz.
With these actions, Nate Diaz brought the use of CBD products in professional sports to the forefront of the conversation. This goes to show that times are changing for the better. CBD is now extremely popular in UFC since it is a natural, safe, and legal way to help improve recovery and also manage pain.
UFC fighters have been using CBD products more and more frequently to aid in their recovery. CBD has many different healing benefits to it! I’ll go a little deeper into how UFC fighters are using CBD to help themselves.
CBD and Muscle Recovery
UFC fighters train day in and day out for their upcoming fights. Some fighters, unwisely, turn to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids. They do this because these drugs allow them to train longer and recover faster afterward. Regardless, all this training will take its toll on the fighter’s body, leading to a lot of muscular inflammation.
This is where CBD comes in! CBD has been proven to have strong anti-inflammatory effects for people, which helps fighters to speed up their post-workout recovery. In turn, CBD will act as a legal and safe alternative to performance-enhancing drugs and allow fighters to get back to the gym as soon as possible.
CBD and Pain
No matter what an athlete does to try proactively avoiding it, injuries are just a part of sports, especially MMA. Traditionally, fighters are given opioids and pain-killers to manage their pain. However, these cannot only cause addiction but also bring a list of harmful side effects.
On the other hand, CBD is not addictive and doesn’t have any harmful side effects! This makes it a very helpful alternative to traditional painkillers that is natural and much healthier!
CBD works as a painkiller in two different ways. One way is by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. CBD triggers receptors in the brain and spine that dull pain signals before they reach your brain! The second way CBD works as a painkiller is by reducing inflammation. One main inflammatory response is pain, and by reducing inflammation at the injury site, it reduces the pain signals sent to the brain.
CBD and Sleep
Sleep is a critical part of recovery for all athletes, so much so that many argue it is the most important part! For a lot of UFC fighters, it can be difficult to get a good night of high-quality sleep. This could be for many reasons. It could be due to physical pain and soreness from training, or from mental stressors. These stressors include cutting weight for a weigh-in, or even just the natural pressure from being a pro athlete. Along with this, many studies have illustrated that sleeping disorders are very common amongst people who have experienced head trauma, which UFC fighters experience very frequently.
Luckily for them, CBD acts as a great sleeping aid! CBD reduces anxious thoughts, which can help fighters to calm their minds before bed and fall asleep easier. Additionally, with CBD helping fighters manage their pain from training, this will allow them to sleep more comfortably and wake up every day better rested.
CBD and Brain Damage
Any damage done to a person’s brain is extremely serious. However, this is a very common issue among UFC fighters due to the repetitive blows to the head and frequently becoming unconscious. The technical medical term for this is a traumatic brain injury or TBI for short.
CBD has shown to have the potential to help improve TBI in fighters, and possibly even help fighters prevent against it. In fact, it can be so effective in protecting against brain injury that the United States Department of Health has patented CBD as a neurological protectant. Additionally, CBD helps the brain by preventing glutamate-induced cell death, and many of its side effects including anxiety and depression.
UFC & Aurora Cannabis
Back in 2019, the UFC and Aurora Cannabis began an eight-year partnership in hopes of significantly advancing clinical research on the relationship between 100% hemp-derived CBD and athlete recovery and wellness.
This research will mainly be conducted for Aurora by Dr. Jason Dyck, the director of the board for Aurora Cannabis. He is also a Canada Research Chair in molecular medicine and a professor at the University of Alberta. Duncan French, Ph.D., UFC vice president of performance, will work alongside Dyck during research. The research will be done on any UFC fighter that wishes to participate at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, aided by the institute’s expert medical staff.
Dana White, president of the UFC, has said from the beginning that he believes this groundbreaking partnership will allow the UFC to best care for their athletes in the future. Not only that, but it will also open the eyes of athletes in other sports, and hopefully spark change in other sports organizations. Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora, believes that this partnership will change the future of the entire CBD market!
The first phase of the research will help athletes understand the usage of CBD and collect preliminary insights and information. The second phase of research will attempt to create clinical efficacy and use athletes that volunteered to test the initial information they collected in the first phase. This could be truly groundbreaking, not just for the UFC, but also for the rest of the sports world!
CBD has proven to be helpful to people in many different aspects of their life! So what’s the wait? Learn more about CBD and CBD products at www.NAVAPOUCH.com.