Hemp 101 for Athletes
What athletes need to know about hemp extract and cannabinoids
Wait, what is hemp, exactly? Is it the same as CBD? Or marijuana? And will it get me high?
It’s OK to be dazed and/or confused about cannabinoids. While an increasing number of U.S. states have legalized marijuana and look to capitalize on hemp as an industrial crop, hemp and other plant extracts are now popping up in the news, on shelves, and on the tips of athlete and celebrity tongues around the world.
Here’s what every athlete needs to know.
Hemp, CBD, and marijuana all come from the same cannabis plant species, which has several varieties — just like other plants. But there are BIG differences between hemp and marijuana, as described below.
Marijuana v. Hemp
Marijuana comes from a cannabis plant bred for its potent buds and flowers. It contains as much as 20 percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive compound in the plant that induces a high when consumed.
Hemp is a different strain of the cannabis plant that contains little to no THC, and unlike marijuana, hemp contains very high concentrations of cannabinoids (or phyto-cannabinoids, which is to say that the cannabinoids come from plants). So hemp oil won’t deliver a high, but it has been shown to have significant benefits and promise — including for support related to childhood epilepsyautism, and Parkinson’s, as well as stress, gut health, athletic recovery, inflammation, pain, anxiety, and depression. It’s also turning quite trendy around the world, espoused by the fashion and beauty crowd.
Industrial hemp is generally grown for its seeds, fiber, and high concentration of cannabinoids. With a remarkable history and laundry-list of uses, hemp boasts tons of versatility post-harvest — from its use in building construction in Roman times to a complete protein powder in smoothies. Hemp grows outside, with deep roots and tall stalks. In the U.S., hemp must contain less than .3 percent THC to be legal. All of PurePower’s products are independently tested to comply with this standard.
Hemp contains dozens of cannabinoids which support a newly discovered system in the body called the endocannabinoid system. This system includes receptors at the cellular level that help regulate balance in nearly every other system in the body. Hence, this is the reason hemp extract (or as it is commonly called ‘CBD’) supports so many aspects of health and wellbeing and enhance athletic performance and recovery. To learn more about the endocannabinoid system, go here.
But there is a big difference between CBD isolate oil and full spectrum hemp oil for athletes:
CBD is an active compound and just one of a number of cannabinoids that comes from the hemp plant. It’s found in hemp flowers. The best oil is one that contains the full spectrum of all of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and much better than hemp products that contain isolated CBD (which is often sold generically as hemp or CBD oil). Isolated CBD is the result of artificially isolating CBD from hemp oil and excluding all of the other cannabinoids contained in hemp oil. Recent studies show that full spectrum hemp oil that contains all of the cannabinoids outperforms products that include just CBD isolate.
And here’s one other type of hemp oil.
Hemp seed oil comes from pressing hemp seeds. Recent research has analyzed the benefits of hemp seed oil, which has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to vitamins C, A and E, minerals, and fiber. In one study, researchers analyzed hempseed oil and found several potentially important bioactive compounds for heart health.
Additionally hemp contains a near perfect amino acid and protein profile, ideal for athletes looking to boost their energy stores and recover more quickly.
PurePower’s performance supplements use only full-spectrum hemp grown sustainably and in small batches by Colorado farmers, and without the use of pesticides and herbicides. And then we took it one step further by using a next generation, gentle vapor extraction process (which is how the oil is removed from the plant) that retains nearly 99% of all cannabinoids in the plant. Additionally, the high-quality, full-spectrum hemp oil extract in PurePower’s DailyBoost product also delivers its nutrients with liposomal technology, which accelerates the absorption and assimilation of the nutrient-dense cannabinoids to the body’s cells and tissues. This is one of the reasons we call ours full-spectrum Performance Hemp™.
You can find this high-quality Performance Hemp™ in all of our products.
But is it safe? The World Health Organization recently reported that cannabinoids are safe and not addictive. In 2015 alone, $21 million in funding went into cannabidiol research, so we’ll likely see more findings come to light from around the world.
Finally, as of January 1, 2018 the Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed cannabinoids from the list of banned substances such that Olympic athletes and others governed by WADA rules can now use cannabinoids subject to WADA’s new regulations.