Can CBD improve your workout performance? It’s complicated
Separating hype from fact on the potential benefits of CBD for fitness and health.
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A growing number of athletes and fitness enthusiasts are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) as a quasi-performance enhancement supplement due to its many purported therapeutic properties, such as quicker muscle recovery, pain relief and improved sleep. For now, CBD is still considered A-OK by the US Anti-Doping Agency, so it makes one wonder if product claims that CBD enhances performance are true.
Though most studies on CBD have promising results, findings are still mixed and not many studies to date are high quality. Plus, the hype around CBD overstates its benefits, and concerns about the purity of CBD products abound. In any case, it’s worth looking at the available evidence to determine if CBD can actually boost your workouts, or if you should steer clear of it.
How CBD could possibly make your workouts better
A growing body of evidence points to possible connections between CBD and physical performance, although these possible connections are indirect. Here’s what the science currently says about CBD and its properties that could relate to fitness.
CBD might relieve pain and inflammation
Studies show that CBD has positive effects on bodily inflammation. According to a 2020 review of studies, CBD has direct anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and distress, and reduced inflammation usually equates to reduced pain. However, studies on the direct relationship between CBD and pain are lacking.
Also in 2020, researchers concluded that CBD may in fact have anti-inflammatory properties that could possibly be useful in the treatment of joint diseases, but that “there is a lack of high-quality, novel research investigating the use of CBD in human musculoskeletal diseases.”
One large-scale review of studies from 2018 looked at research from 1975 to 2018 and concluded that overall, the evidence for CBD as a pain reliever is promising. However, most research on this topic concludes with the sentiment that more research in humans is needed to determine the effects of CBD on pain and inflammation.
CBD can help you sleep better
Like research on CBD and pain, research on CBD and sleep has yielded mixed results. A 2017 review found that CBD may be helpful in the treatment of sleep disorders, such as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a condition that causes people to act out their dreams during sleep.
Because CBD might decrease cortisol levels, it might help people with anxiety to wind down and fall asleep at night. Raw cannabis flower has been shown to induce sleep, but raw cannabis contains THC, so CBD alone likely doesn’t have the same effect.
CBD may aid muscle recovery
Because CBD can help you get better sleep and may reduce inflammation, it may also aid in the muscle recovery process. Most of the tissue repair process occurs during sleep, so more sleep combined with the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD make this cannabis-derived compound a strong contender for a muscle recovery supplement.
CBD can alleviate stress and anxiety
If you tend to get anxious before games or competitions, when you’re going for a new one-rep max, or embarking on a black diamond bike trail, CBD can help calm your nerves and give you the confidence you need to tackle your next big challenge.
Though more research is needed (no surprise here), a case series from 2019 concluded that CBD holds potential as a treatment for anxiety. Lots of other research reiterates this finding, and it’s worth trying if you feel like your nerves hold you back from your greatest athletic potential.
Can CBD actually improve workout performance?
There’s a lot we don’t yet understand about CBD and its relationship to athletic performance.
This is where things get a bit fishy. While there’s a growing body of evidence supporting the four potential CBD benefits above, there’s little scientific evidence to back up the claim that CBD directly improves fitness performance or athletic abilities.
Because CBD was so recently legalized (federally — many states still have a ways to go), it was challenging for scientists to research and study CBD. Even now, nearly three years after the government removed the Schedule 1 label from CBD, it hasn’t been extensively studied for its performance enhancement properties. “Extensive” is even a stretch to describe the evidence we have on other aspects of CBD, such as its effects on sleep or pain.
The point is, there isn’t enough research to outright say that CBD improves fitness or athletic performance.
Be skeptical of CBD products that claim to improve athletic performance. Do your research on CBD products you’re interested in to make sure you buy a pure and potent product, as diluted CBD is a waste of money and impurities could set you up for drug test failure . Also keep in mind that clinical trials often use higher doses of CBD than what you can find on the market, so products you buy may not have the same effects as the findings you see in research studies.
All in all, CBD is proven safe, but not necessarily effective, as a fitness supplement. If you think CBD enhances your performance and you don’t experience adverse effects, it can be a valuable tool for health and fitness.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Should I Take CBD Before or After a Workout?
It’s no secret by now that a couple of drops of pure CBD oil in your morning coffee will leave you reaping a whole host of health and wellness benefits. Its calming properties that help keep stress and anxiety at bay, improve skin health, reduce inflammation, and improve concentration are sure to set you up right for your day ahead.
But there’s one benefit of CBD that you may not have considered, and that’s its impact on your workout routine. That’s right – studies have shown that CBD offers a number of physiological, biochemical and psychological effects that have the potential to benefit athletes. And you don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt to bask in the glory of its success!
Join us as we explain how using CBD oil before or after a workout can have a positive impact on your fitness.
How to Use CBD Pre-Workout
1. As a Sleeping Aid
If you’re the type to pack your gym bag and lay out your activewear the night before, you’re in luck. CBD can easily be incorporated in your bedtime hot chocolate and work its magic by the time you wake up ready for your workout the following morning.
Why? Good Hemp’s pure CBD oil is beneficial as a sleep aid, which is also prime time for the body to repair itself for the day ahead.
As we sleep, our body gets to work restoring our immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems, which are vital for maintaining our mood, memory, cognitive and other important functions. All of this contributes to ensuring that we’ll be optimally prepared for a workout the following day.
CBD has been shown to reduce the amount of time spent in REM sleep and increase the amount of time in NREM Stage 3 , otherwise known as deep sleep. During deep sleep, the brain, body temperature and heart rate fall, as the brain is using less energy in this state, promoting a better night’s rest overall.
2. To Combat Anxiety & Arousal
Besides being physically prepared to exercise to the best of our ability, we should be mentally and emotionally prepared too. Anxiety and arousal are a key issue in sport psychology , specifically related to physical and technical performance. In a sport setting, arousal is often linked to anxiety, and this negative emotional state can increase muscle tension, affect coordination, and in some cases, cause sweating and nausea. This means you’ll be more likely to take your eye off the ball, literally.
Using CBD before your workout can significantly help to lessen the effects of anxiety and reduce blood pressure, allowing you to bring your A-game from the word go.
CBD For Muscle Recovery After a Workout
1. To Relieve Muscle Soreness
Whether you’re a novice exerciser, or someone who gets their reps in regularly, you’ll almost always find yourself subject to post-workout soreness and inflammations. But that doesn’t mean your DOMS – that’s short for delayed onset muscle soreness – should determine your entire routine.
Recent studies have shown that CBD oil can help relieve delayed onset muscle soreness and exercise induced muscle damage , which naturally occurs after physical activity due to microscopic damage to muscle fibres , since its healing properties are known to reduce muscle pain, bodily aches and inflammation. Whether taken orally or topically , CBD offers a more natural form of relief than many other products such as protein supplements or Tiger Balm.
So does that mean that just a few drops of CBD oil in our post-workout smoothie will have you skipping back to the gym 24 hours after leg day? Well… yes! Maybe not skipping , exactly, but your muscles will be feeling miles better than if you had simply suffered in silence.
2. To Promote Mobility
Further scientific studies around CBD oil and its pharmacological effects reveal that this magical compound can also promote mobility in people with Multiple Sclerosis – whose symptoms often lead to reduced physical activity and functional mobility. According to a study in Frontiers In Neuorology , this is because CBD is “anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective.”
Lotions and potions aside, every little helps when it comes to recovery, so we’ve highlighted some easy post-workout recovery hacks you can try to help you hit the ground running time and time again, without any unwanted setbacks!
Why Choose Good Hemp CBD Oil?
Call us biased, but there’s a bundle of reasons why we believe Good Hemp’s CBD oil is the best in the business. Our range of oils use CBD isolate, which means it only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids, such as its psychoactive cousin THC. Its purity means it avoids the hallucinogenic compound of the cannabis plant, so you can drop it like it’s hot and reap the benefits without getting high!
While we’re on the subject, Good Hemp promotes 100% natural and eco-conscious products, since we’re planning to save the world and all.
That means that all of our products are made without chemical additives or any other nasties you might find in other varieties of CBD oil on the market.
As we’ve explored, there are plenty of different ways you can take CBD oil before and after your workout. Whether you prefer a few drops of the stuff in your pre-workout coffee, whizzed into a healthy smoothie, or even baked into a gooey chocolate and macadamia protein loaf , you’ll find a CBD-based post-workout treat worth sweating for!
Discover our top-selling CBD oil products and start gearing up for those gym gains today.
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: 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, and should you be considering it as part of your nutritional, training, or recovery regime?
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, full stop. But what makes it particularly effective for athletes are the aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties.
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, like Elixinol’s Omega Turmeric CBD Capsules, are purposely designed to calm and support aggravated muscles. Adding a dropper of Elixinol’s Daily Balance 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 like Elixinol’s Sports Gel, which adds capsaicin, and arnica in a gel form 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 capsule like Elixinol’s Body Comfort CBD Capsules. Loaded with the herbal extract Boswellia for joint health and muscle support, it—like most CBD products—has 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. But product lines like Elixinol’s 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.
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