CBD is the hot ingredient in the wellness industry for pain management, anxiety and relaxation. However, did you know that it can also aid your workouts? Let us uncover the key myths and legends (and disregard the falsities!) of CBD and exercise, so you can get closer to that Herculean strength! 💪🏼
First things first, what is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound from the Cannabis plant. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, aiding homeostasis, immune balance, and stress recovery.
For a more in-depth look into What is CBD? read our article Zeus' guide to CBD
Let’s paint the scene...
You’re a gym goer, a runner or you maybe play football or tennis regularly. Your days exercising might go something like this…
Wake up. Work out. Go to work. Ache. Eat. Go to sleep. Wake up sore and tired, then repeat.
This throws your mindset off. You feel less focused and demotivated. It feels more like a chore instead of a fun activity. You could be feeling stressed or anxious before your workout, and think about just sitting down on the sofa, but you know putting your shoes on, and getting out the door is the hardest part… so you get on with it anyway. Those gains aren't going to gain themselves! You reach for the Ibuprofen to help ease the pain of that old injury you picked up 5 years ago.
Let’s try and break that cycle... Enter CBD...
1. Reduce pain and inflammation
CBD is the master at handling pain and inflammation. Whether it’s a lasting injury niggling away that you’re trying to overcome, or you just can’t handle the burn after a workout (we know the feeling 😉 it’s always the stairs that are impossible!), CBD can really help. Stop reaching for the Ibuprofen and instead, squeeze one easy spray under your tongue 30 minutes before you exercise. For a more in-depth guide to taking CBD, read our article here.
Want to know how? Here is the science behind it... After you take CBD oil, it interacts with several receptors in the body. These include adenosine, which deals with pain levels and sleep cycle, and vanilloid, which is responsible for pain regulation. CBD reduces the sensitivity of our system to respond to triggers (such as muscle strain), and thus eases inflammation and pain. Additionally, when CBD aids the serotonin hormone, this improves your mood and perception of the pain, so it is really a double-pronged attack!
2. Muscle Growth
Put the supplements down and step away from the shaker!
We get it. You put in all that work to build your body, only to have it taken away from you by a little process called catabolism - the breakdown of more complex components in the body into smaller, simpler ones, releasing energy for the body to use. Put into body building terms, this refers to the breakdown of the muscles.
This is where CBD might just be able to help you. There’s no need for anti-catabolic supplements any more 😉 CBD intensifies the endocannabinoid receptors that promote an anti-catabolic response. This prevents the body from losing muscle mass, which in turn helps your muscles grow much faster without the need to fork out for more supplements - this ancient compound really does have it all!
3. Aiding Muscle Recovery
Despite what you may read, there is a lot more clinical research needed to confirm how CBD oil does actually aid your muscle recovery. Experiencing inflamed muscles after a workout is normal, as it means the muscle is repairing itself bigger than before, thus giving you your gains. However, too much inflammation can interfere with muscle recovery as it leads to injury.
Studies  show us that antioxidants can decrease inflammation and contribute to faster muscle recovery by reducing muscle stiffness or tightness. CBD is high in antioxidants, even more so than vitamin C and E (crazy right!?)
Now, what is definitely proven is the link between better sleep and muscle recovery, due to the production of melatonin (the human growth hormone) during sleep. Without this, your muscles wouldn’t recover properly. And this is all something that CBD can ultimately help with, which we cover later in this article...
Everyone knows that mindset is everything when it comes to achieving your physical goals. CBD allows more serotonin to flow to the brain, mildly sedating the receptors associated with anxiety, addiction and sleep. In turn, this leads to making you more alert, less distracted and sharpens your mindset. You feel calm, relaxed, focused and ready to sweat!
5. Better Sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep because you can’t relax or due to post-workout pains, your muscles do not recover fully. CBD oil does not ‘knock you out’. It does not send you to sleep like a sedative or a sleeping pill, which BTW people, are really bad for you. Sleeping pills do not allow your body to get the REM and NREM sleep your body needs to recover fully for the next day ahead. CBD helps with calming down your mind, so that you can get a better night's sleep, giving your body the time it needs to properly recover. This will also give you more focus and more energy for the next busy day to come.
If there is one thing we would love you to take away from this article, it's that you need a good night's sleep to aid everything you do in sports and in life. This will no doubt increase your sharpness allowing you to push yourself further and win!