CBD continues to be an enduring trend propelled by its buzz-worthy boom in everything from wellness and cosmetic products to coffee and desserts. The substance originally earned recognition for its potential to support signs of stress and anxiety, promote quality sleep, and provide much-needed topical support for aches and pains. And, as the use of CBD has become more common, the discovery of new possible benefits has grown, including when it comes to fitness.
What is CBD and how does it work?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, aka marijuana or hemp. It’s a naturally-occurring substance, and one of the two major players in the cannabis plant — the other being THC. While THC gets you high, CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant and contains very small amounts of THC — .3% to be exact — meaning that users don’t get high. With that in mind, every individual reacts differently to CBD, as it can continue to build-up within the body over time. This is why it’s generally suggested to maintain routine CBD use for at least 30 days.
You’ll most likely find products like CBD oil, topicals, or ingestible supplements available since CBD is most commonly ingested or absorbed through the skin. Once in the body, CBD molecules tend to bind to specific cannabinoid receptors — which are abundant and widely spread throughout the brain and body — leading to the positive effects of CBD.
Help boost your fitness results with CBD
So, how does this help you? While research on CBD is still in its early stages, we’ve already begun to uncover its potential benefits in many areas including when it comes to fitness. Here are five ways CBD can boost your fitness results.
1) CBD can soothe muscle pain after a hard workout
After a strenuous workout, inflammation and damaged muscle fibers will, of course, need time to recover. That’s when soreness, pain and tension sets in. Fortunately, CBD can help with pain management. Initial studies suggest that CBD may offer positive wellness results in conjunction with an increase in physical activity. By combining CBD with proven pain-fighters like menthol, histamine dihydrochloride, vitamin B6, and more, fitness enthusiast alike are quickly discovering the universal potential of CBD.
2) CBD has potential to promote muscle growth
For a quick lesson in muscle generation, cortisol is a hormone released from your adrenal gland in response to stress — both physical and mental — that has been associated with decreases in protein synthesis. Elevated levels of cortisol can reduce protein synthesis — or muscle repair — and prevent tissue growth, therefore negatively affecting muscle growth.
CBD may possess the potential to impede cortisol, meaning CBD may help avoid muscular breakdown and help maintain muscle growth. In fact, the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research published a preliminary study that showed decreased cortisol levels after participants took CBD. With cortisol levels in check, you may be able to reach those extra gains you’ve been pining for.
3) CBD may improve blood flow
When you’re well into a heart-pumping, hard workout, a free-flowing feeling may help push you through those final few minutes. Cannabidiol is a vasorelaxant, which just means that the substance helps veins to relax so blood can flow more freely throughout the body. With veins more open, your body will ward off soreness for a while, and you may be able to sustain a longer run, more reps and maybe hit a new PR.
4) CBD can help achieve the elusive “runner’s high” and boost stamina
Many beginner runners start a routine with hopes of chasing that runner’s high they keep hearing about. While this has always been thought to be a result of endorphins, a 2015 study found that in mice this was actually a result of cannabinoids, which has promising implications for humans as well. CBD may help increase the presence of anandamide, meaning that with this kind of CBD-supported homeostasis, that sense of sweat-ridden euphoria is within reach, pushing you farther in your fitness routine.
5) CBD may enhance quality of sleep which can lead to increased energy
Improved quality of sleep leads to better focus, intellectual function, reflexes, mood, and so much more. And, CBD may help improve sleep quality and help those suffering from insomnia, especially when combined with melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone found within the body that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and is often used as a way to combat common sleep issues. CBD sleep aids are quickly becoming a favorite alternative for those seeking better sleep routines on a nightly basis. Better sleep can help spur better results — both in and out of the gym!
While there is still much to understand about CBD and its benefits to the human body, research suggests plenty of benefits to incorporating CBD oil into a health and fitness regime. First, understand the products available, desired concentration and goals for application. As always, listen to your body. Each person responds differently to each product, so find what works for your unique needs.