Many people already use cannabis for relaxation and stress relief, but it can also help those looking for a boost to their fitness regime. In January 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances for athletes in competition, signaling to the world that CBD is now an acceptable way to enhance performance and aid in recovery. Whether you’re a serious athlete or an occasional gym goer, CBD products can help you achieve better results.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant, which includes both marijuana and hemp. CBD is extracted from the plant’s flowers, seeds, and stalks, and turned into an oil which can then be used to create a variety of different supplements. It can also be found in other plants including the Kriya plant (hops family) and echinacea. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, it’s safe for almost anyone, including competing athletes.
For starters, CBD can help our bodies come back into balance after a challenging workout or competition. The cannabinoids in CBD interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps our bodies maintain homeostasis. This promotes our overall well being, helping us to maintain proper sleep patterns, regulate our appetite, and increase metabolism, all of which helps us maintain our fitness regime and reach our athletic goals.
CBD is also an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. A rigorous workout causes microscopic tears to our muscles, activating our body’s anti-inflammatory response, which allows the muscle tissue to regenerate itself and come back stronger. But too much inflammation is a major cause of strains and injuries, and many athletes incorporate anti-inflammatory measures–like ibuprofen or ice baths–into their workout regimen to speed recovery and alleviate aches and pains. CBD can offer some of the same anti-inflammatory benefits by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, increasing T-regulatory cells, and suppressing fatty acid amidohydrolase activity. It also increases the production of eicosanoids, local hormones which aid in reducing inflammation.
CBD has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol are linked to a variety of health issues like high blood sugar, hypertension, and reduced immunity. Cortisol is also thought to hinder muscle growth as it breaks down tissue and muscle fibers.
The topical form of CBD is a popular choice for athletes as it can offer targeted relief, but tinctures and oils are also an easy way to incorporate into a post-workout snack or smoothie.