CBD & Sports: a great combo! – Better workouts with CBD
Is it possible to combine CBD with sports?
Over the past few years, cannabidiol (CBD) has been making headlines unlike any other active substance. From the classic oil to spray, kush, bath essence, superfoods and tea – the range of CBD products is long, and the market continues to grow.
That’s not surprising: considering the numerous cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. it contains, CBD provides a fascinating and effective base for many areas of use, especially in health and medicine. Migraines, endometriosis, anxiety or arthritis in pets, the green gold is so promising that it was only a matter of time until people in competitive sports became interested in it.
Since 2018, CBD is considered a permitted substance in competitive sports as well as in tournaments. Because of this, more and more athletes use CBD to increase their performance as well as to help their bodies recover after training. Which specific effects does CBD have on the body while working out? What are its advantages? Which products are most suitable, and how do use CBD best while training? We will answer all of those questions below, so buckle up!
CBD and sport: the basics
As stated above, CBD is considered legal in competitive sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) keeps a guide of prohibited substances, from which they removed CBD in January 2018. However, it is important to note that they only removed CBD and not other cannabinoids, such as THC.
THC is still prohibited in competitive sports. But what is CBD’s positive effect? What should you, as an athlete, expect? Let’s have a look at what CBD does for your body in general. CBD is one of 140 cannabinoids which are naturally found in the cannabis plant, like THC.
They all have an effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which, on the other hand, is a fixed component of our bodies. By the way, the endocannabinoid system naturally occurs in all mammals and fish! Anyway, this ECS is an integral part of human life and responsible for numerous area within our body.
It has two receptors which are most important: CB1, which is located in the central nervous system and CB2, which is within our immune system. So when our body produces cannabinoids, or when we supply it with external ones, the substances connect to the receptors and let their magic begin.
With help of the cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system regulates our sensation of pain, anxiety and inflammations. It also protects our brain after injuries, keeps our central nervous system intact, increases our appetite… the list goes on and on. CBD has such a strong impact on us because it works like an inhibitor and prevents other substances from connecting to those receptors. In turn, this signals to the body to produce more endogenous cannabinoids, therefore: more cannabinoids, more effectiveness – and it’s done.
CBD for athletes: inflammations and sore muscles
Used as a food supplement, CBD offers many possibilities, and the deletion of CBD on the WADA list is the recognition of the advantages CBD has in sport. Athletes consuming CBD products should strictly go for broad spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate, though: as opposed to full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate do not contain any THC. The former may contain up to 0.2% THC. This amount cannot cause a high, but traces may show up on drug tests.
So, let’s have a closer look at CBD’s advantages for athletes. The first thing that comes to mind when talking about sports, no matter if competitive or just for fun, is the potential for injury, or to be more specific, inflammations. We don’t feel most of the inflammations that occur in our body, but some we do.
What do we even mean, when we talk about inflammations? When we’re injured or ill, no matter if a tonsillitis or sore muscles, signaling substances are emitted in the body. The immune system promptly responds to those and more blood is circulated to the affected area, so that the body’s defenses are stronger in the area.
This is a very normal process for the body. However, when it comes to sport, to looks a bit differently. By working out, you strain the body, which causes small torn muscle fibers. That’s not a bad thing, because these are necessary for gaining muscles. By repairing the fibers, the muscles grow and grow.
The kind of pain that comes from this is what we know as sore muscles. Unfortunately, sometimes the endogenous strength doesn’t suffice, and you may feel a painful inflammation. With its anti-inflammatory effect, CBD can be a good support here. Especially people who like to work out a lot of profit from this.
CBD and recovery
Another aspect of sport is the recovery after a workout. While the body is repairing the torn muscle fibers, the muscles are growing – and CBD can be of help here too. For the body to be healthy and efficient, it needs to rest after being active. There are two mechanisms which CBD supports specifically: it helps you sleep and reduces the stress induced by the catabolic phase of the metabolism.
Only ever heard of anabolic? Don’t worry: in stressful situations, no matter if you overslept and are in a rush, are in the midst of a heated discussion with a know-it-all or typing with more than a 100 words per minute to still make the deadline, the body emits the stress hormone cortisol.
Once we are relaxed again, the hormone is broken down, but the cortisol level is still too high. Your body is communicating that it’s still stressed, and all energy is needed, even though you’ve submitted your text, finished the debate or caught the train. This induces the catabolic process and muscles don’t grow, but are reduced, since the body thinks it’s still stressed.
CBD reduces the cortisol level and can activate the anabolic phase. In this phase, muscles are grown internally – which gives anabolic steroids their name, by the way. The second effect, supporting the recovery, has an immediate connection to this, or the cortisol level, to be specific. Our sleep is actually dependent on this!
In the morning, we need the hormone to get up, and it is usually produce naturally. In the evening, on the other hand, we might not be able to get our cortisol level down to where we need it in order to fall asleep and might suffer from sleep disturbances. Since CBD reduces the cortisol level, it helps is to get a good night’s sleep! It’s the perfect match for athletes who produce high amounts of cortisol during their workouts.
Photo: kike vega / Unsplash