CBD is growing in popularity across the UK, and is often being used as an aid to general welfare. According to Vitality CBD, there are now over 1.6 million CBD users in the UK alone. As you would expect, this has translated into an increasing interest in how CBD products like oils and balms can be used to benefit fitness.
Let’s explore what CBD is, and whether it is worth considering as a supplement to a balanced diet and workout routine.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the natural compounds known as cannabinoids that are extracted from the hemp leaf. CBD is being added to a number of different products, including oral oils, creams and balms for a variety of purposes. One of many compounds found in hemp, CBD is being used for its ability to influence a variety of parameters in the human body.
When people think of hemp and cannabis, they can often jump to associating it with drug abuse. However, CBD is completely legal to buy in the UK, you’ll even find CBD products on sale in many gyms nowadays. Importantly, CBD will not get you high. It’s important to remember that CBD is psychoactive, but not psychotropic, which means it will not alter your state of mind and get you “high”.
The high associated with cannabis is from another compound known as THC. For a CBD product to be legal, it needs to contain only trace amounts of THC, around 0.01%. Reputable brands will have batch reports available on their websites, which will allow you to view the exact independent lab report from any product you buy from them.
Safety-wise, there have been no recorded cases of any illness arising from CBD usage. In fact the WHO said “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”. There have been some reported side-effects with CBD, which we will touch on later, but these are no worse than you’d expect from any mild medications.
How does CBD interact with the human body?
Before you buy CBD, you should know more about how it affects the body. The key to this is understanding the ECS, or endocannabinoid system. Everybody has an ECS, and it is made up of a network of receptors found throughout the human body. These receptors can be found in the nervous system, immune system and in many major organs.
The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or the natural balance of multiple parameters in the body. According to Healthline, the ECS regulates the following:
● Sleep and rest
If the ECS is underperforming, it can lead to the body perhaps not managing certain aspects of everyday life correctly. This can lead to tiredness, reduced quality of mental health, inflammation, muscle and joint pain and other problems that can be alleviated by CBD.
How does the endocannabinoid system work?
The body produces a number of compounds called endocannabinoids, which bind to the receptors in the ECS causing it to behave correctly. Endocannabinoid sound similar to the cannabinoids earlier? That’s because they are! Endocannabinoids are in fact named after cannabinoids, as cannabinoids were actually discovered first.
So, by taking CBD, you are actively introducing natural compounds that can support the ECS and all that it helps to achieve. The effects of this are hard to nail down, and there is still a lot of research going into CBD, but we can explore some of the potential benefits to fitness below.
How could CBD help my workout?
CBD could help improve rest
One of the most important parts of an effective fitness regime is taking ample time for good rest. This can aid in muscle recovery and growth, as well as energy recuperation. Sleep is one of the main cornerstones of good rest, and according to 2019 research around 67% of participants using low doses of CBD reported an improvement in sleep quality.
Sleep can also be interrupted by anxiety and other mental health issues which may be helped by regular CBD use combined with a solid well-being regime. A 2018 study found that CBD could reduce anxiety in men shortly before making a public speech. This was only a study involving 57 males, so far more research needs to be done, but it could be seen as a good indicator in CBD’s anxiety reducing properties.
CBD could help reduce muscle pain
Inflammation and muscle pain is one of the main problems of hard workouts. CBD, however,
is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so there is reason to believe that it may help
mitigate these issues. In an interview with Men’s Health, personal trainer, former sprinter and
CBD user Tara Laferrera claims that CBD “manages and prevents my joint inflammation,
that aching kind of feeling that I’d get after a heavy lift day”.
There is further evidence that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help in reducing post-workout muscle soreness. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness is mainly caused by inflammation, rather than lactic acid build up for instance.
So is there any proof that CBD really does reduce inflammation? Well according to this study into how CBD can treat inflammation and multiple sclerosis, CBD can reduce inflammation and markedly improve joint mobility.
CBD can be taken in multiple convenient ways, but for the purpose of exercise we recommend oils formulated precisely for working out. These products often include other useful vitamins that can complement a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are even CBD muscle rubs for helping to improve post-workout recovery.
Hopefully this will have given you a better idea of how CBD affects the body and what it’s properties can do to enhance regular exercise. There is still plenty of research to be done into CBD, but the preliminary findings are definitely something to be excited by.
Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true mission in life.
In his own fitness journey, Davie has athletically competed in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for Scottish and British titles, boxed for Scotland’s top amateur boxing team and competed internationally in Girevoy (kettlebell) Sport.
Diving into the world of sports and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own inner demons. He. overcame many dark times using his own unique method to complete his cycle of H.E.A.L.I.N.G.