CBD Essentials to Keep Your Body Humming, According to a Pro Athlete

Rugby champ and well-known CBD advocate Anna Symonds reveals her favorite CBD products, and explains how they can help you relax, recover, and rest better.

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Cannabis and hemp have been creeping their way into the world of athletics for a while now. Professionals across major sports divisions are speaking out against opiate prescriptions and for cannabis and CBD as medicine. The plant is all over the Olympics this year, between loud calls for policy reform following Sha’Carri Richardson’s elimination from the games following her positive THC test and gold medalist and US soccer star Megan Rapinoe’s loud advocacy for CBD-fueled bodycare. 

In order to better understand why this cannabinoid can make such a difference for anxious college students and pro athletes alike, I spoke with Anna Symonds, a rugby player in the Women’s Premier League who’s become a well-known advocate in Oregon. 

“CBD is an excellent tool to support my performance because of its powerful anti-inflammatory effects,” explains Symonds. “It is much more gentle to the body than over the counter pain relievers, and is actually beneficial to the digestive tract rather than corrosive to it like most anti-inflammatories. Plus, it helps promote quality sleep, reduce pain, and minimize anxiety.”

Here are Anna’s favorite CBD products, as well as a handful of other standouts designed with athletes’ needs in mind.

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Gaia Herbs Hemp + Herbs Capsules

Each capsule contains a combination of 20mg full spectrum cannabinoids and medicinal herbs that amplify desired effects. The CBD here is extracted via alcohol, which makes for one bitter tincture, but doesn’t matter when you’re just swallowing a capsule. It means you’re getting all those good bits of terpenes and minor cannabinoids too.

“These potent capsules offer hemp extract along with complementary medicinal herbs that really support specific functions in all three of the formulations: Calm, Sleep and Relief,” says Symonds. “Super easy for travel too!”

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TheraOne Recover CBD Lotion

You’ve heard of Theragun, the slick handheld massager on everyone’s wishlist? The brand launched a house topical line called TheraOne with a roll-on stick, a pre-workout lotion, and this 300mg post-training lotion, which contains powerful extras like arnica and eucalyptus. As Anna said—CBD is undoubtedly a fantastic anti-inflammatory agent. But it can do a lot more to help muscles and joints recuperate when paired with complementary herbs working on the same goal.

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Kyoto Botanicals (re)CHARGE Sports Cream

For more potent oomph in your lotion, Kyoto Botanicals has a pretty phenomenal price point for their 400 mg CBD Sports Cream. The phytocannabinoid-rich CBD is blended with menthol, camphor, rosemary oil, and a slew of other herbs and botanicals for a rich lotion and a pleasant fragrance. This formula is ideal for larger muscle areas like legs and back.

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cbdMD CBD Freeze Roller

Maybe you’re more of a classic player. Someone who loves the good kind of chill, like Icy Hot? This one’s for you. This liquid roller is packed with 750mg of broad spectrum CBD, menthol for that cooling sensation, and arnica, tea tree oil, and aloe vera to keep skin moisturized. This will also feel good on any past injury sites or dry patches.

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Dr. Kerklaan Natural CBD Relief Spray

Lotions and roll-ons are great, but for the huge population of athletes with back injuries or tension in hard-to-reach places, it’s vital to keep a localized pain relief spray like this around. This one has a little eucalyptus and peppermint for extra soothing sensation, and it’s free of any GMOs, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Dr. Kerklaan is a trusted name in skincare, so you can feel comfortable spritzing any shoulder-based sunburns as well.

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East Fork Cultivars Single-Cultivar Organic Hemp CBD Oil

This is one of the purest CBD oils out there. This farm is one of the few hemp producers that achieved USDA Organic Certification—also, llamas live there, and I believe that makes a difference. This 800mg bottle contains two simple ingredients: organic avocado oil and organic full spectrum hemp oil, with your choice of hemp strains.

“This minimally-processed tincture has outstanding efficacy, a beautiful flavor (based in mild avocado oil with good fats), and is ethically produced,” notes Symonds. “It's really versatile in that you can easily adjust your dosage to meet different needs, and you can use it topically as well as orally or sublingually.”

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Offfield Sports Drink Mix

Beyond topicals, athletes can easily incorporate the anti-inflammatory properties into regimens via their water bottles. This sports drink powder contains 20mg broad spectrum CBD, as well as CBG, L-Theanine, and essential minerals like magnesium and zinc. They’re proud of a proprietary process that allows for the cannabinoid extracts to mix evenly into the water—a tricky feat when it comes to pleasant-tasting CBD beverages. Their Run High merch is well worth your consideration as well.

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WeedSport Dunk Zero Salts

No weed sport roundup would be complete without Weed Sport itself, a CBD brand designed for the athlete in every smoke circle. Similarly, no bodycare assortment is worth a damn unless there’s some legit CBD bath salts in the mix. It’s simply the most effective, thorough way to get your muscles feeling normal again; the submersion and complementary Epsom effects seem to be the ideal environment for muscles to repair. These forest-scented salts—a collab with MATEK—are particularly cool because once the salts are finished after 1-2 baths, just rinse out the bag and place into a home or city compost system. Zero waste.

Lauren Yoshiko is a Portland-based writer and co-host of Broccoli Magazine's podcast, Broccoli Talk. She was among the first journalists to cover the commerce and culture of cannabis starting in 2014 and her work has since appeared in Willamette WeekForbesRolling Stone, and Broccoli Magazine, among others. Follow her on Instagram at @laurenyoshiko for Portland breakfast sandwich recs, stoned nail art, and moderate cat content.
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