Just like fish oil, probiotics, and whey protein, it seems that cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has become a trendy supplement. CBD oil is now found in everything from lotions and shampoos to health drinks. Also, like the supplements above, CBD oil is getting the interests of people who work out.
But does CBD have a positive effect as a dietary supplement? What does CBD oil as a supplement do for athletes? Before we can understand how CBD can impact on a workout, we must first understand what CBD is.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is one of the hundreds of known compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. You may be familiar with CBD’s psychoactive sister compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the high most people feel when they ingest marijuana. CBD has several health benefits, though it is most known for improving mental health.
The best source of CBD is the hemp plant, which has low levels of THC. Hemp, unlike marijuana, was recently delisted from federal drug schedules. This is why CBD has exploded in popularity.
Can CBD Help Athletes Build Muscle?
The body has hormones known as catabolic hormones, which cause a breakdown of muscle tissue. Athletes who want to build muscle mass and increase muscle tone need to reduce the levels of catabolic hormones, like cortisol. Excessive cortisol is usually to blame when people workout regularly yet fail to build muscle mass or tone.
When we sleep, cortisol levels are at a minimum, which allows for protein synthesis, which occurs when the body is building muscle tissue. CBD can help people achieve greater levels of REM sleep, which is when cortisol levels are at their lowest. In this way, CBD indirectly impacts the building of muscle.
One study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research suggests that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to interfere with the secretion of cortisol. This is important because cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is released during an intense, heavy workout routine. This can counterbalance the building of muscle that the workouts are supposed to allow.
Can CBD Help with Muscle Recovery?
Everyone who has ever worked out knows what sore muscles and muscle fatigue feels like. When we work out, we create microscopic tears in muscles. This, in turn, leads to inflammation, producing soreness and fatigue. Muscle fatigue and soreness can be a factor in why some people fail to maintain a routine. Others may choose to relax their muscles using an NSAID or, perhaps, some alcohol to relieve the pain. However, CBD has well-known anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Taking a few hits from a vape pen filled with CBD oil can help an athlete relax post-workout. It can also speed the recovery time after a workout.
Experts disagree on the best way to use CBD, as it is absorbed differently depending on the manner of ingestion. One way to integrate CBD as a treatment for the inflammation responsible for muscle pain and fatigue is to apply a CBD-infused salve directly to the affected area. However, some people prefer to vape CBD oil or to use sublingual drops.
Is CBD Legal?
CBD derived from the hemp plant which is legal in all 50 states. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which President Trump signed into law, the cultivation and distribution of industrialized hemp are legal. It can be cultivated for any use, including the production and extraction of CBD.
What About Professional or Competitive Athletes?
Cannabidiol is permitted by the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, it is important to note that all other cannabinoids, including THC, are still prohibited. This makes it important to consider the source of the CBD. Although hemp-derived CBD contains a minuscule amount of THC, other sources may contain higher amounts, which may show up on the mandatory drug screens conducted by the WADA. As such, athletes should take care when choosing a CBD product.
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FDA AND LEGAL DISCLOSURE: