Being an athlete and smoking is somewhat of an oxymoron. After all, not only is cigarette smoking incredibly hazardous to your health, it can also hinder your performance as an athlete.
Nevertheless, smoking is a decision that isn't necessarily reserved for non-athletes. While the number of smokers continues to decline with time, there are still many athletes out there who are tied to their need to have a smoke here and there.
There are plenty of therapies available that may be effective in helping smokers quit the habit, and one interesting and relatively new concept for quitting smoking is taking CBD hemp oil.
Related: The Ultimate Beginners Guide To CBD
How Can CBD Help You Quit Smoking?
Several recent studies have explored the effects of cannabidiol on helping people quit smoking.
One 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of London and published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, found that participants who used CBD showed a significant reduction in cigarette smoking. In this study, 12 participants who were trying to quit smoking were given a CBD inhaler while another 12 were given a placebo.
The researchers discovered that every user who used a CBD oil inhaler smoked about 40% less than the placebo group.
Other studies have found that CBD is linked to several neural circuits that are involved in the development of addiction and addictive behaviors by modulating the endocannabinoid system, making it a potentially powerful substance to include in addiction treatment protocols.
As an athlete, you likely work very hard to strengthen your body and improve your performance in your particular sport. You probably also make a great effort to optimize your nutrition in order to feed your body what it needs to achieve peak performance. But if you smoke, all that effort can be severely compromised.
The Role of The Endocannabinoid System in Beating Addiction
Studies have discovered a potential link between the endocannabinoid system and nicotine addiction, which is what has smokers reaching for cigarettes all the time. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a number of important bodily functions including pain, appetite, mood, and memory. CBD is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant that can impact several sensations in the body as a result of its ability to interact with and alter the endocannabinoid system.
Some research suggests that drugs which can modify the endocannabinoid system could have a positive effect on nicotine addiction, and CBD may be a more natural, safer alternative to drugs for this purpose.
CBD may have the ability to help reduce the cravings to smoke by manipulating the reward memories associated with withdrawal symptoms such as urges to light up.
Related: 5 Professional Athletes Who Use CBD
Why Athletes Need to Quit The Habit
It's no secret that smoking has all sorts of negative effects on the body. From an increased risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and even premature aging, smoking has long been a habit that does nothing but harm to a person's health.
But when it comes to athletes, smoking has other detrimental effects. Here are just some of the ways that smoking cigarettes can negatively affect the avid athlete:
Lung health: it's a well-known fact that smoking tobacco wreaks havoc on a person's lungs. More specifically, smokers are more prone to coughing, wheezing, asthma and getting colds. They're also more susceptible to serious diseases including pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and lung cancer.
These issues are serious by themselves and when it comes to athletic performance, smoking cigarettes can be detrimental. One of the predominant effects of smoking on athletic performance is a reduction in lung function. That means athletes' muscles do not get adequate oxygen and therefore have less stamina. As a result, they become fatigued faster and experience shortness of breath more frequently than those who don't smoke.
Heart health: the heart pumps blood to the lungs and throughout the body to reach active muscles during physical activity. This organ obviously plays a vital role in exercise, but it's ability to properly pump blood to reach working muscles can be compromised after prolonged cigarette smoking.
Smoking causes blood vessels to become increasingly lined with plaque and causes constriction. This not only reduces blood flow, but also causes blood pressure to increase. The heart actually has to work harder to pump enough blood to the muscles. With reduced blood flow, the amount of oxygen that the muscles receive is much less than it should be. Less blood pumped to the muscles can lead to a drastic reduction in muscular endurance.
Increased chances of injury: athletes are further disadvantaged from smoking cigarettes because of their increased risk for sustaining injuries. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the brain, heart, and muscles. When this happens, athletes are not as physically or mentally sharp as they should be. This can put them at risk of being in a position to get hurt. Lack of mental and physical keenness can cause athletes to use improper form, make poor decisions on the sports field or even feel dizzy.
In addition, injuries in athletes usually take longer to heal because smoking can compromise bone strength and reduce the body's ability to repair tendons and ligaments.
If you're having a hard time kicking the habit on your own, you may want to consider implementing CBD products into your regimen. With several studies backing up the benefits of CBD to smokers quit the habit, it might be worth considering adding it to your daily regimen. You'll not only get some help with smoking cessation, you'll be able to take advantage of all the other health benefits that cannabidiol oil provides, too.