How CBD Can Improve Your Performance in the Gym, Outdoors, and in Your Daily Life.
In the span of just a few years, CBD has exploded in the wellness world. In seemingly the blink of an eye, it went from, “CBD? That’s weed, right?”, to being featured in bougie supplement shops that look like Apple stores all across the country. Today, CBD is available in in a dizzying array of shapes and styles. You can find it in lotions, tinctures, capsules, baked goods, coffee, it’s even in pet food. The market is booming and you’ve likely heard anecdotal evidence of CBD in one form or another helping someone with pain relief, recovery, sleep, or stress. Athletes, in particular, are increasingly touting its wonder-like properties.
So, What’s the Deal with CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, but not the one that creates the high you associate with inhaling or ingesting marijuana—that’s THC. While full spectrum CBD products will typically contain small amounts of THC, to be legally sold across the U.S., CBD oils must contain less than 0.03%THC, which is well below the necessary amount to produce any psychoactive response. Broad spectrum CBD products and CBD isolates have no detectable THC at all.
The CBD you keep hearing about is derived from hemp plants, not marijuana, and the two cannabinoids are only cousins in the big cannabis family tree. Another member of the family? Beer’s resinous bitter-maker, hops—when you tip back a pint that smells vaguely of weed, that’s because hops, marijuana, and hemp all share aromatic oils called terpenes. So, yes, holidays at the Cannabis house are probably a good time.
But none of that explains CBD’s therapeutic qualities. To get at how it can help with such a long list of issues, you need to understand the concept of homeostasis, or balance between all the body’s systems.
Science discovered a few decades ago that the human body naturally produces cannabinoids, and, in fact, has an entire network within the nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (nice work, Science!). CBD binds to receptors in that system and scientists believe they act as a neurotransmitter. Studies show that CBD supports reduced inflammation, calms nervous reactions to stimuli, reduces anxiety, and prompt healthy brain function. There’s even a CBD-based drug approved by the FDA to treat epileptic seizures.
So, CBD is powerful, but what makes it particularly effective for athletes are the aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD for Recovery
If you’re a gym rat, Crossfit enthusiast, or just a lover of bodyweight exercises, you’re familiar with the soreness that comes the day after a particularly butt-kicking workout. CBD capsules and whole body treatments are purposely designed to calm and support aggravated muscles. Adding a dropper of CBD tincture under the tongue helps balance a tired body.
Overdo it on a run? Calves barking after a tough hike? A daily CBD supplement can help, but get right to the source with a topical cream or gel, that can be quickly and easily absorbed into the skin; massage into sore muscles to help you relax.
Even if you’re not crushing it in the gym, trail, or pool every week, the daily wear and tear of sitting at desks or working around the house or chasing kids can still be helped by a full spectrum CBD capsule. Like most CBD products there is the additional benefit of easing occasional stress and anxiety, and supporting sleep hygiene.
Gaining the full benefits of CBD requires an understanding of which products work best for your system. Different product lines offer a variety of combinations and delivery mechanisms to help you identify what works best to improve your performance at the gym, in the outdoors, or just throughout your day-to-day life.
Article by Men’s Journal editors.