What to know about CBD and physical training
You’ve probably seen or heard some of the copious medical claims currently being made about CBD. Everything from how CBD helps with sleep to how it affects our mental state, and the reduction of anxiety.
But among its many benefits, did you know that CBD can actually improve training, workout, and recovery routines for endurance athletes? Think about how your life might shift if you could workout with more intensity, reduce recovery times, and improve your athletic performance?
Here’s how CBD interacts with the body to benefit athletes with strenuous workout routines.
CBD + Your Body
CBD is the primary active ingredient in hemp, arguably one of nature’s most glorious gifts to mankind. Once consumed, CBD is primarily processed in the liver. From there, CBD (cannabidiol) interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is a neurotransmitter system connected throughout your entire body.
Cannabinoids like CBD serve as signaling molecules, or neurotransmitters, that help the body communicate within itself. Many neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in response to things like health levels and environmental factors. They interact with and send messages to receptors found on the surfaces of cells.
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of millions of cannabinoid receptors as part of every mammal’s genetic makeup. It regulates a wide array of bodily functions, from appetite regulation to sleep patterns, moods, metabolism, immune response, and the lifespan of cells. This is the reason that CBD seems to effect such a wide range of conditions.
CBD Reduces Painful Inflammation
Pain during endurance training and racing is a given. Pain for athletes often appears in the form of inflammation, and inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury. But inflammation can also present itself in response to something as simple as overworked muscles.
The tired or damaged muscle cells release chemicals that cause the blood vessels to swell. Twenty years of research and countless studies have proven the anti-inflammatory benefits of phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids sourced from plants), such as cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is especially promising to athletes, as it reduces inflammation and pain without dampening the training response like aspirin or NSAIDS would. That makes it good for both sports injuries and the more generalized trauma of intense workouts. Athletes who routinely take CBD are reporting less injuries, less joint pain, and less muscle soreness in general.
By working to suppress the immune response mechanism that causes inflammation, CBD helps to reduce pain and allow your muscle tissue to heal faster.
Improve Athletic Recovery Time with CBD
As CBD has demonstrated a unique ability to help reduce painful inflammation throughout the body, it can also be useful in reducing athletic recovery time between workouts. CBD has shown to help relax the individual muscle fibers, decrease vascular tension, and increase oxygen absorption in the muscles.
One recent study revealed that CBD actually causes the walls of the body’s circulatory system to “relax,” making it easier for blood to flow throughout the body. This means your muscles get more oxygen, but it also reduces strain on the heart muscle, and reduces the risk for eventual heart complications.
CBD as an Adaptogen
One of the main purposes of endurance training is to stress your body such that it adapts to a higher level of performance. An adaptogen is defined as something that helps the body adapt to stress. Several studies have described CBD as a multitarget molecule, acting as an adaptogen.
This all supports the idea that CBD helps us adapt to exercise, a form of “good stress” in and of itself. The most effective workout plan carefully balances training stress and active recovery. In its role as an adaptogenic compound, CBD makes it easier for athletes to walk this fine line.
Taking things a step further, CBD reduces existing stress. It may even reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and the central nervous system exhaustion that accompanies it. Conversely, CBD also allows for a greater stress tolerance. That means you can train harder and bounce back faster without getting burned out.
Reduce Sore, Achy Muscles
We all know the feeling when your legs are buzzing between workouts. Standing up seems like a challenge, let alone lacing up for another run. Intense soreness is the result of our body’s triggered inflammatory response. The tissue around our muscles and joints swells to protect the affected area from additional external force and to warn us that we’ve pushed our muscles too far.
This type of muscle inflammation is the result of your body’s immune system kicking into high gear to respond to an injury or trauma. As a result, the damaged cells release chemicals (including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins) that cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. And while the inflammation does help isolate the tissue and thereby quarantine the problem, it also causes pain.
Muscle fatigue is nothing more than an elevated inflammation response by the body, so any type of remedy that can help reduce inflammation can work to reduce it. And as stated above, CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory.
CBD was discovered to encourage the production of the Adenosine Receptor known as A2A. It does this by acting as a direct antagonist of the receptor, essentially turning away the body’s chemicals that tell the A2A to shut off. In this roundabout way, CBD is able to increase the signaling of the receptor which results in a more efficient immune response and less inflammation overall.
So by supplementing your body with an increase of CBD as part of your regular fitness routine, you’re helping reduce muscle soreness and minimize those post-workout achy muscles.