Former NFL defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins spent 14 seasons in the NFL. He is retired now at the age of 37 but even without the daily grind of the season, he still experiences pain.
“With football, they have all the programs for continuing education, job things,” Jenkins told Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. “But if you’re in a lot of pain, you’re kind of just cut off.”
While he was at first skeptical about using products containing CBD, a chemical compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, due to fears that it would cause him to experience a “high,” he eventually decided to try CBD oil after learning that CBD is not psychoactive.
“It started helping,” added Jenkins. “With the joints, with the pain. It kind of helps with focus. I will take it before class – I’m in two carpentry classes now – and I like to take it before. It helps me stay in the moment.”
CBD products, particularly CBD oils, can help alleviate joint pains. A research study by the British Journal of Pharmacology found that when CBD enters the human body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which regulates the secretion of hormones and chemicals through the body and is responsible for carrying a variety of messages throughout the body, such as pain, hunger, thirst, and other sensations. For instance, when a person stubs their toe on a door frame as they walk into their home, the cells in the foot would communicate with the brain, which would then communicate pain as a sensation. When the endocannabinoid system comes into contact with CBD, it stimulates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Unlike THC, it only interacts with the CB1 receptors and only overpowers it for a limited time. Through this stimulation, a person can find some relief from joint pain, as the receptors that communicate the irritation to the brain are relaxed. CBD products are not a cure for joint-related issues, but they have proven to be a natural and effective way of easing the pain.
Jenkins now chooses to use a CBD tincture, which he “places a couple of drops from the bottle of CBD oil on his tongue.”
CBD products, such as CBD tinctures and pain-relieving creams, have also gained popularity among other athletes such as Derrick Morgan, an active NFL player who has called on the league to do more research on CBD because he has heard of the positive effects it has had on others.
“To see the way that these people had their lives changed, and to know that there have been studies showing that cannabis might be a neuroprotectant,” Morgan said, according to USA TODAY, “how can the league not want to look into that?”.
Indeed, athletes have been advocating CBD as a treatment for pain for quite some time, and some have even organized themselves under that platform. The website of Athletes For CARE (A4C), a non-profit organization that athletes can turn to after retiring, has an entire section dedicated to cannabis-based solutions for athletes who are suffering.
Besides alleviating joint and other pains, CBD has also been linked to helping with other serious issues such as cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, while also assisting in relieving stress and anxiety and managing sleep disorders.
CBD-containing products come in many shapes and forms: oils, creams, topical tinctures and lotions, and even CBD gummies, in order to appeal to and fulfill the specific needs of each individual consumers who might benefit from CBD’s many medicinal properties.