Both amateur and professional boxers are turning to CBD to help them in their training, fighting, and recovery regimes. We attempt to unpick the benefits of CBD to boxers and other sportspeople here.
CBD is a powerful molecule that is produced by hemp or cannabis plants. It stands for cannabidiol, and is one of a whole suite of ‘cannabinoids’ – useful phytochemicals that occur in this holistic herb.
CBD has been implicated in dealing with a huge range of illnesses and diseases since chemists discovered it way back in 1940, and began studying it intently in 1963. Raphael Mechoulam of Jerusalem in Israel is thought of as one of the leading researchers to have begun finding medical applications for CBD.
What Does It Do?
Although we may not have known it, humans have been using CBD to improve our health for thousands of years. Hemp has been grown and eaten for food and medicine since the late stone age, across Europe and Asia from the Netherlands to eastern China, and from Siberia down to the Indian subcontinent.
CBD is now known to effectively combat certain types of pain from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and pain in late-stage cancer. It is currently being prescribed alongside other medicines in Canada for these very purposes. Anxiety and depression are just two of the huge range of mental health issues that CBD is also being used for.
What does it have to do with boxing?
At first glance, a herbal medicine derived from a plant such as cannabis would not seem to line up entirely with the world of boxing. Boxing is a high-impact, high-intensity sport – and not for the faint-hearted.
Along with the attributes listed above, CBD has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Anti-inflammatory properties are what make many painkillers useful, such as ibuprofen. For anyone who has ever seen a boxing match, there is no doubt as to the usefulness of a painkiller for active boxers.
CBD is also being used by athletes across the sporting world to speed up their recovery times. The mechanism for this is thought to be closely linked to the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD.
Who’s Using It?
Although CBD is being experimented with and used effectively by boxers at all levels, and at gyms around the world, there are two professional fighters in the US who publicly promote its use: Teofimo Lopez and Shannon Briggs.
Shannon Briggs is a heavyweight veteran boxer who has been active in the ring for over 25 years. Briggs was twice the world heavyweight champion, in 1996/7 and 2006/7. Following a loss to Vitali Klitschko in 2010, Briggs unfortunately suffered a mental breakdown and ballooned to 400 lbs.
Briggs attributes his dramatic comeback in 2014 to his use of CBD. The depression he was suffering from was lifted, and he lost 160 lbs! He began winning professional bouts in April of that year.
Briggs has since campaigned tirelessly for the liberalisation of the laws around CBD in his native United States, and is reportedly happy with the recent decision of WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) to allow its use by athletes.
Briggs is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the US and the professional sporting world. These painkillers are both addictive and dangerous, and CBD is commonly thought to be a viable and safe alternative.
With a career of 60 wins to only 8 losses, and over two decades of experience, Shannon Briggs is using his influence to bring CBD to other sportspeople and to the wider world.
Teofimo Lopez is a lightweight boxer who has only recently gone professional, putting him at the opposite end of the scale to Briggs. He is of mixed Honduran-American nationality. Currently only 20 years old, Lopez turned professional in 2016 after winning the 2015 Golden Gloves, and appearing in the 2016 Olympics.
Lopez has gained sponsorship from one of the biggest names in the CBD industry. He uses oral CBD products for whole-body and mental recovery, while also using topical creams on the skin for fast-acting all-natural pain relief.
Like Shannon Briggs, Lopez wants to promote CBD as an alternative painkiller in an America racked with opioid addiction. He is a fast-rising star in the professional boxing world, and is being keenly watched by observers and fans. As his profile increases, Lopez hopes to bring CBD to a wider audience in the sporting world.
CBD brings so many benefits to athletes of all disciplines, that its popularity is set to increase, not least in the boxing world!