Writer: Alisdair Mans Cornwell
Unless you’ve been living under the biggest rock in recent history, you’ll know just how much CBD and hemp-derived products have infiltrated the mainstream. Since the United States Congress passed the updated and finalized version of the 2018 Farm Bill, which outlines the legalization of hemp production (albeit with heavy restrictions), we are now seeing a rise in hemp-based products like CBD tinctures and capsules being thrust into the market and out into the stratosphere.
Celebrities and TV personalities alike have all cited CBD and hemp as a lifestyle addition to combat daily stresses, anxiety, and physiological ailments. The most interesting, however, are the big names in sport who have all endorsed CBD oils as part of their workout regimes.
MMA fighters such as Nate Diaz and Chris Comozzi have both openly supported the idea of the supposed anti-inflammatory benefits surrounding this lucrative oil. Similarly, NFL players Eugene Monroe and Derrick Morgan have spoken about their use of CBD off the field – the former, a leading activist of medicinal cannabis use, believes CBD is a legitimate substitute for pharmaceutical drugs.
So, how does CBD fit in with workout regimes?
We’ve already looked at how CBD has become a growing trend for athletes and we’ve looked at how long it stays in the bodies of users prior to a drug test.
But what we should now look at is how CBD can affect workout regimes or fitness training. Before we continue down a path of making bold claims and scientific conclusions, it’s worth pointing out that the jury is still very much indecisive on the health benefits of CBD oils. This isn’t to say there aren’t any, but we have to agree that because of the historically tight regulations imposed on cannabis and hemp-based products, extensive long-term studies have not been conducted routinely, especially for CBD oils. Due to this relatively scarce and sometimes inconclusiveness research, we cannot 100% say that CBD is this generation’s snake oil designed to cure all and every ailment known this side of the millennium.
However, what we do know is this:
CBD oil is generally considered safe in the realm of health and fitness.
And the short-term studies and anecdotal evidence on how CBD positively affects the body is very convincing. Here’s what we know:
Naturally, and quite obviously, physical exercise without pain is what every athlete wants. If you’re looking to go for a 12 mile run with aching joints or muscle pain, you’ll probably hit the first 3 mile hurdle and have to walk back with your tail between your legs as your brain and body scolds you for even attempting it. Many athletes and fitness gurus claim, via blog posts and YouTube videos, that pain relief is one of the most important and prevalent benefits CBD has to offer.
How does this affect your fitness and workout routine? Physical exercise is often synonymous with injury. We hear time and time again the woes of professional athletes tearing pulling muscles or burning their bodies out physically. Because CBD has been said to be an analgesic – which means it reacts with the body to relieve pain – it functions as a pain suppressor and a way to build pain tolerance. This ultimately means that you can push yourself further, thus leading to higher levels of endurance.
Oftentimes, a short workout won’t be enough to satisfy the fitness cravings most athletes have on a day-to-day basis. A long, challenging, and rewarding workout is one that pushes an athlete’s mind and body towards their goals. One endocannabinoid we all produce in our bodies is anandamide, otherwise known as the “bliss molecule”, or ananda, translated from Sanskrit to mean “joy” or “happiness”. Think of it as the body’s own anti-depressant that’s very much free of charge and happens naturally as soon as exercise is underway. It creates a feeling known as “runner’s high”.
CBD is said to do two things:
- Increase anandamide levels in the body.
- Blocks out the receptors that recycle anandamide after it has been produced, which allows it to stay in the body longer.
This longer-term cascade of joy, bliss, and happiness is fundamental to a successful training session.
There’s a lot of literature out there that looks at how stress solely affects athletes on the day of a performance. However, everyday stress can put a burden on training and the subsequent goals looking to be achieved. For every athlete, stress both mentally and physically can be detrimental to achieving a successful workout. Recovery time for example, which is very important to athletes post-workout, cannot be achieved to its highest level when the muscles are in a tense state. According to a study done via The Journal of Strength and Conditioning, participants who took part and reported to have higher levels of stress found that recovery took several days more than those who reported to have lower levels of stress.
Here’s where CBD is said to come into play.
Clinical trails conducted to determine whether CBD in patients who struggle with anxiety and stress-related sleep disorders have resulted in promising results. The study suggests that CBD “displays promise as a tool for reducing anxiety”. This is great news for athletes who are either using CBD or are planning to use it for daily stresses, anxieties, and recovery times.
What We Can Take Away From This
Despite the outlandish marketing claims that CBD and hemp-derived products are the miracle cure of the new millennium, it’s important to note how promising the anecdotal evidence and the short-term studies are. Here at Oki, we encourage buyers to look thoroughly into what products they’re buying and to inform themselves – with our help and guidance – on which type of CBD tincture or capsule to purchase, whether it’s for everyday stress or for more intense workout regimes.