By now, you might have heard all the hype about the wonder substance known as CBD or Cannabidiol – the “good” side of the cannabis or hemp plant. It’s the extracted chemical compound that is jam-packed with health benefits, used to treat symptoms of everything from chronic aches and pains, all the way to fibromyalgia, arthritis and even cancer. You have probably seen it in news headlines, especially since hemp and all its derivatives were legalized federally back in 2018. You may have come across the “CBD Oil” labels on everything from coffee to ice cream to cookies and even kombucha.
CBD was once a niche product with a lot of skepticism, misconceptions and the legal grey area surrounding it. It seemed reserved only for those who ventured into the world of naturally derived alternative medicine, but the cat is officially out of the bag and CBD is quickly becoming more and more mainstream. As more studies are conducted and more information is becoming readily available on the subject, the public is finding that the very reason many people were wary of it (the association that CBD has to cannabis and the stigma of cannabis getting you high) is the reason it’s becoming so popular. It has all the coveted health benefits of cannabis without the often unwanted psychoactive effects that are a result of the THC content.
Organizations like the USDA and FDA are racing to catch up to its widespread use and sales with comprehensive regulations; meanwhile, it is showing up on supermarket shelves, in beauty supply stores and virtually everywhere else. You can find CBD oil and CBD isolate, tinctures and salves. The most recent application and usage of CBD? Cbd for an improved fitness regimen.
The nature of CBD is part of the reason why many people are utilizing the compound to see positive results in their fitness routines. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, present in cannabis. The body produces endocannabinoids which have been linked to the “runner’s high” – and cannabinoids are similar in structure to the body’s endocannabinoids.
The way CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and receptors has a big effect on an aspect that directly affects fitness. The receptors that are activated by CBD are involved in regulating body temperature, pain, and inflammation. The link between inflammation and exercise is key.
After any workout, (even more so with more intense workouts,) our muscles and tissues undergo tiny bits of tearing and damage. Inflammation is triggered as a way for the body to repair and rebuild – it’s what makes your tissues and muscles grow back stronger than before. On the flip side, too much inflammation can have a role in excessive muscle damage and subpar workout results. It is also a factor in injuries during a workout such as sprains and strains. Since too much inflammation is the culprit here, many people who work out regularly employ anti-inflammatory measures. They do things like taking ice baths to compress the muscles and fight inflammation or consume antioxidant foods. Sometimes NSAIDS like Ibuprofen are utilized to combat the inflammation, even though they are not recommended to be used too often due to the possibility of kidney damage as a result.
Enter CBD. CBD is already being used to combat illnesses and conditions that have symptoms related to excessive inflammation – things like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and a long list of others. In a 2018 review published by Frontiers in Neurology, it was concluded that CBD is an effective way of relieving pain and improving mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its effects in the field of illnesses, it is also being looked at by researchers as another viable option to help reduce the inflammation caused by intense workouts, thus relieving the pain and improving performance during the exercise session.
While there are still plenty of studies and much more research needed, there are already huge waves of athletes and exercise-driven adults who are consuming CBD oils and edibles right after their workouts to help them recover faster.
There are also people who claim the CBD helps stop tissue break down and helps promote muscle growth. It’s the power to help people recover from injuries that occurred during a workout, often in the form of salves and creams being applied to the affected areas, is another big draw. Even celebrities like Mandy Moore have cited its ability to help them deal with pain – for Moore, specifically, it has been used as a salve, applied to areas of her feet that typically undergo a lot of pain due to walking around at events in uncomfortable high heels. The salve or cream works transdermally and reduces inflammation in the tissue with the injury. While walking around at red carpet events may not necessarily be considered an athletic event, it holds some weight to the argument that if it can bring relief to celebs’ feet, it can do the same and much more for athletes and fitness-oriented adults.
It is imperative to note that there is still much research required in this arena. Research is needed to be able to truly pinpoint which mode of consumption or application is the best way for it to absorb into the body – so that means finding out if it is better to drink it, eat it, vape it or rub it on. Also, CBD that comes from marijuana is not legal – it is only CBD that is derived from hemp that is covered by the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is legal in all 50 states, provided that its THC content doesn’t exceed 0.3 percent. Marijuana is not legal in all states. To know if you are sourcing your CBD legally and that it contains the amounts it says it does, it is recommended to look for companies that are transparent about their third party testing from established laboratories. If the company doesn’t have their lab report readily available on their site, it is already a bad sign, but you can ask to see it to give them a chance to prove themselves. Should the company decline, it is recommended to continue your search for a more forthcoming CBD oil or CBD isolate provider.
Lastly, it is highly important that you discuss any possible usage of CBD with your healthcare provider, especially if you have specific conditions or are taking other medications and supplements.