CBD (cannabidiol) has been growing in popularity in the health and fitness market but due to a lack of proper research on the impact of CBD on workouts, many still shy away from using it.
Though there is anecdotal evidence of CBD being useful for stress relief and muscle recovery, yet the role of CBD in fitness is still questionable. In this post, we will discuss the potential of CBD in Fitness and Workouts.
Using CBD before Exercising (Pre-workout CBD)
CBD is a cannabinoid that is similar in structure to an endocannabinoid which are produced naturally in our body to regulate body functions. CBD, known for its feel-good effect, interacts directly with endocannabinoids but unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) it does not have any psychoactive or “high” effect. Evidence in certain studies pointed towards a calming effect of CBD in the central nervous system. Therefore, using CBD before workouts may help get a focused state of mind for workouts if consumed in small doses.
However, the type of CBD product you use also plays an important role. Eg. Consuming edible CBD, the absorption is slower compared to inhalation, where it is taken in a few sublingual drops at a time, in the form of CBD tinctures. Inhaled CBD has the quickest effect lasting up to 3-4 hours. Tinctures take about 15 minutes to effect and last for up to 6 hours while the CBD capsules are the slowest taking almost 45 minutes to start affecting but also last longest for up to 8 hours.
Using CBD for Post–workout Recovery (Post-workout CBD)
An intense workout causes damage to muscle fibers which ultimately grow stronger when they heal. But these micro-tears initiate the body’s inflammatory responses causing muscle soreness. To curb these painful muscles, exercisers often use anti-inflammatory drugs which have long term ill-effects. CBD is emerging as new possible remedy here.
- Anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help lower exercise induced inflammatory responses and aid in fast recovery (safer alternative than ibuprofen)
- As a natural analgesic, CBD can help relieve pain.
- With antiemetic properties, CBD helps gut issues and reduces nausea.
- CBD can help eliminate muscular cramps and spasms because of its antispasmodic properties.
Beyond these physical benefits, CBD is useful in relaxing and easing the mind, regulating the mood, appetite and sleep pattern helping to fall asleep faster after an extensive workout by moderating hormonal functions. Reducing the stress hormone cortisol, CBD releases anandamide that improves energy levels and leads to a positive outlook, which enhances overall productivity. For treating local pain, CBD can be topically applied in the form of CBD-infused lotions and creams or through CBD tinctures and capsules.
Why Athletes are Increasingly Turning to CBD?
While some athletes are claiming that CBD has been effective for them as a natural supplement to boost performance, there are other professionals who are promoting the use of CBDs for pain management and muscle recovery and exploring it as a replacement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen which have long term side-effects such as kidney disease, the risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal damage.
- Faster recovery by reducing oxidative damage
- Reduce inflammation and pain without NSAIDs
- Reduces anxiety, depression, and stress
- Improves sleep
- Helpful in treating Arthritis
- Safe on stomach
- Improves performance
Eugene Monroe was the first NFL player in 2016, who advocated for the NFL to allow CBDs instead of opioids for pain relief. Later many athletes came out as public supporters of using CBD. In 2018, CBD was finally removed from the list of prohibited substances by both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The acceptance of CBD proves to be a turning point in how athletes manage stress and recover from pain.
Why it Matters
CBD is fast becoming a phenomenon despite the fact that there is very little research to support it scientifically. Its impact on fitness mostly relies on evidence that comes from people trying CBD and advocating its potential benefits. As a safe alternative to NSAIDs, its benefits cannot be ignored, rather it should be studied and researched so that it can be used as a health and medical supplement.
However, the right dosage is still not known and may differ from person to person depending on their underlying condition and tolerance. After analysing the benefits of CBD, it can be concluded that it is good for overall physical and mental well-being and regular use can improve your focus, energy level, and productivity.
But as always, users should be mindful of certain factors such as its source, effective dosage as per the need and composition of the product. It is best to consult your doctor before you decide to try CBD.