CBD for Optimized Exercise
A simple google search on cannabidiol (CBD) for workout recovery yields well over a million results. With CBD recently enjoying national legalization, athletes are using it more than ever to help recover after exercise. This article will examine what CBD is, the pros and cons of CBD for athletes, and the best methods of application.
CBD is a cannabinoid, or a chemical compound unique to the cannabis plant. When cannabis makes flowering buds, the buds produce compounds which include cannabinoids like CBD. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating (it doesn’t make you feel high), and it’s not used recreationally. For this reason, CBD is regarded as a wellness supplement rather than an intoxicating drug, and many people who use CBD regularly have no desire to get high.
When taken in significant amounts, CBD can induce noticeable effects which vary from person to person and may include relaxation, sleepiness, calmness, happiness, or nothing at all. Many people who experience chronic pain notice alleviation of the symptoms, similar to taking an OTC pain reliever (this is where CBD comes in handy for workout recovery). CBD is also known to help improve sleep quality, which is vital because most physical recovery happens during sleep. Not only does CBD work directly to help the body recover after a workout, but it promotes auxiliary functions like deep sleep and relaxation that are doubly advantageous for recovery.
For a more in-depth look at how CBD works, we need to understand the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). Throughout our central nervous system are receptor sites for cannabinoids like CBD, which compose the ECS. These receptors are located in the entirety of the body, including in the brain, immune tissues, organs, and muscles. The ECS controls the uptake of cannabinoids produced naturally within the body, so when supplemented by cannabinoids like CBD, the functioning can be tonified or optimized. The ECS also controls a wide array of physiological functions, including the regulation and modulation of pain, the regulation of appetite, sleep, memory, and other processes. This is likely why many people who use CBD experience a sense of general wellness and uplifted mood, because the harmonic functioning of the body, known as “homeostasis,” can promote wellness at the cellular level. However, because CBD can cause relaxation and sometimes sleepiness, it’s best to use CBD after, rather than before, a workout.
There are a variety of ways to use CBD, including smoking or vaporizing flower, drinking tincture or infused beverages, consuming capsules or CBD-infused edibles, or using topical products. The type of product you need is influenced by the results you’re looking for and the specific kind of recovery your body needs. Sore muscles can be alleviated with a topical or CBD consumed internally, although in my experience, a combination of both works best. Restful sleep is essential after a workout, and while topicals are unlikely to make you sleepy, a CBD gummy or capsule can have a long-lasting effect throughout the night to help you stay asleep. Smoking or vaporizing CBD provides a more rapid onset, which is helpful if you have trouble falling asleep, rather than staying asleep. Some products are formulated to help with specific conditions and may include other ingredients like valerian root for sleeping or willow bark for pain relief. Ask your budtender for recommendations based on the specific results you need.