A decade ago, few people had even heard of cannabidiol (CBD). Most who were familiar with this substance were medical researchers dedicated to exploring its potential health benefits. Thanks to their efforts, the buzz surrounding CBD is louder now than ever before.

Most people have now heard about CBD, and the potential benefits of this substance are causing different sports organizations worldwide to consider their position on it. Many high-profile athletes are now using CBD, which brings up the question we’ll be addressing in this post: how are rugby players using CBD?

One Small Step for CBD, One Giant Leap for Rugby

One of the most significant developments concerning CBD is the World's Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) updated list of banned substances for sports organizations.  

For many years, CBD was included on this list, but in October 2018 WADA announced that they were removing CBD from their prohibited substances list. This decision was positively received by both sports organizations and athletes.

Rugby associations did not immediately follow suit, but are thankfully now adapting to this new rule. As a result, an increasing number of rugby players are incorporating the use of CBD products in their routine.

The Possible Dangers of Playing Rugby

Whether you are planning to become a rugby player, or already are one, you should understand that this contact sport comes with many risks that we will tackle in detail in this section.

Rugby Injury Statistics

Statistics show that around one in four rugby players are injured each season. Why? In addition to a considerable amount of running and ongoing contact, an average of 20 to 40 tackles occur during each match. When tackles are especially rough, they may result in a neck, back, or other injury. It has been noted that injury rates in rugby tournaments are three times higher than those of soccer tournaments. 

When Do Rugby Injuries Usually Occur?

57% of rugby injuries occur during games. This means that only around 43% of the injuries happen while training.

Which Rugby Players are at Risk of Injury?

Your rugby position can determine injury risk levels during a game. Flankers and hookers encounter the most injuries, followed by wings, centers, and fullbacks. Since forwards are highly involved in tackling, they are the most at risk of injuring their backs. 

Different Types of Rugby Injury

40% of injuries sustained by rugby players affect the muscles. They are typically either contusions or muscle strains. The second most common type of injury is sprains, most of which are sprained ankles. These are followed by overuse injuries, dislocations, lacerations, and fractures. Head injuries make up 5 to 25% of rugby injuries. 40% of head injuries are concussions. 

How Rugby Players are Using CBD: The Potential Use of CBD for Rugby

As statistics show, rugby can be a dangerous and painful sport. This is true regardless of whether you are new to the game or a pro. To keep up with the physical demands of sports, many athletes regularly use different types of painkillers. While most of these painkillers are effective in reducing the feeling of pain, chronic use of such medications may cause various side effects. The most dangerous of these is opioid addiction, which can lead to death.

 

Studies have been conducted to explore the possible pain relief effects of CBD. It is thought that CBD can activate the body's natural endocannabinoid system. This system is known to be responsible for managing pain as well as inflammation. Research is ongoing and we make no claims as to certain effects here.

 

CBD is considered to be a non-psychoactive agent, meaning it will not cause the cognitive alteration effects associated with the consumption of other cannabinoids, such as THC.  CBD is also believed to be free from the side effects that can accompany the chronic use of opioid painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

Other Likely Benefits of CBD for Rugby

CBD has become popular among rugby players because they believe it may help them with the following issues:

Inflammation

Inflammation can affect players when they are dealing with bruising, cuts, swelling, and other injuries. CBD attaches to the CB2 receptors, which modulate pain and inflammation. Another hypothesis is that the CBD molecules may stimulate the release of endocannabinoids, which regulate inflammation. These claims are still being researched by scientists.

Brain Damage

Since head trauma and concussions are fairly common in rugby, protecting the head can help limit the brain damage that athletes may sustain. Studies have aimed to determine whether CBD has possible neuroprotective effects because of its potential ability to protect and regenerate the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is mostly affected by brain disease. 

Tips to Keep in Mind When Choosing CBD for Rugby

CBD is finally allowed in the sports industry. However, the WADA announcement comes with a few exceptions, and you should be aware of what hemp substances are still banned. This way, you can help ensure that the CBD product you choose won't put you at risk of disqualification.

According to WADA, cannabidiol is the only cannabinoid approved for consumption by players. The remaining cannabinoids from hemp, including THC, are still banned, so anyone caught taking such substances may be disqualified from competition.

Unfortunately, most CBD products on the market contain large to trace amounts of other cannabinoids, including THC. So how would you weed out the bad from the excellent products and choose the right CBD for rugby? Here are some tips:

Determine the THC levels in your CBD product.

Different products, such as , vapes, or , can contain different levels of THC. Manufacturers believe that the potential efficacy of CBD is improved when CBD and THC work synergistically. 

However, THC consumption is not allowed by WADA, so if you don't want to risk being disqualified you must monitor the cannabinoid and THC content of the product you are consuming. 

Know from what type of plant the CBD extract is derived.

CBD is usually extracted from two types of plants: hemp or marijuana. Marijuana strains contain higher levels of THC—around 5 to 35%. On the other hand, hemp contains only approximately 0.3% THC, the legal maximum in the United States. 

Choose the right type of CBD extract.

The main factor that will determine the content of the CBD product is the type of CBD extract that it contains. There are three types to choose from.

 

The first is full spectrum, which is the type of CBD extract that contains all of the hemp content. This means that, along with CBD, it still has all of the cannabinoids—including THC—found in hemp. With that in mind, this option may not be the best for rugby players. 

Broad-spectrum is an extract that contains CBD and other cannabinoids but does not contain THC. Considering its cannabinoid content, this may not be an excellent choice for rugby players either. 

The third option is CBD isolate, which contains 99% CBD and no THC or other cannabinoids. This is the type that most athletes take.

Check out third-party lab results.

Since it is relatively new, the CBD industry is still not yet fully regulated. Because of this, it can be difficult to be sure of what the content of the CBD product is if you only rely on its label. 

Fortunately, there are independent companies that test the products to help protect the health and safety of consumers. To determine the full content of the product, you should view third-party lab results. At buyCBDproducts.com, we send every CBD batch to a third-party lab for independent quality control, and include the test results with your product’s packaging.

Summary

The uses of CBD for rugby are still being explored. However, the revision of WADA's policy shows that the sports world is warming up to the consumption of CBD. 

Be sure that the CBD product you take is free from the unwanted substances that WADA still bans. You can do that by following the tips that we have shared with you.