Maybe you are putting together your marathon training plan; maybe you just started a new workout regimen, or maybe you’ve just been sore as of late.
No matter your fitness goals or status, you’ve likely heard about CBD. Often talked about like it’s a magic potion, CBD has become popular in the fitness and wellness worlds for the myriad of benefits it offers.
But what is CBD, and does it actually work? In this article we’re diving into what CBD oil is, how it can benefit us, and how to use it.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol oil, more commonly known as CBD oil, is one of the 113 phytocannabinoids that comes from the hemp plant. Unlike THC, another one of those phytocannabinoids, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not get you high.
The hemp plant produces two helpful components. The first, hemp oil, is rich in omega 3s and protein. And the second, CBD is what we’ll focus on here. While hemp oil is mostly nutritional, CBD is mostly medicinal.
How does it help?
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or potion that is going to fix all of your problems. However, research shows that CBD can help with a number of conditions.
How does it do that? In short, CBD mimics some natural neurotransmitters by interacting with our body’s receptors. In doing so, CBD can quell our body’s immune response that causes inflammation. In other words, it encourages our bodies to heal.
There is a lot of research around CBD, and there are many different claims surrounding what exactly CBD is capable of. The two benefits with the most support are inflammation resolution and sleep assistance, so we’ll stick to those.
CBD has been shown to help with delayed onset muscle soreness and with protein synthesis, the protein-rebuilding process your body goes through after a workout. If you are looking for post marathon recovery tips, or your post-run stretches are not getting the job done as far as recovery, CBD can be a great option.
In addition, if you are training hard for an upcoming race, or you’ve simply bumped up the workouts in other areas as of late, you may want to look into CBD to make sure that your body is recovering appropriately.
For example, when we strength train, we are creating small tears in our muscles that ultimately need to be rebuilt, making us grow stronger. CBD can aid your muscles in that repair process, specifically in the protein synthesis portion of recovery.
No matter what type of workout you are doing, CBD can aid with soreness and helps ensure your body recovers adequately and on-time.
Another benefit most people can get behind: CBD helps you sleep. More specifically, CBD help fosters better, REM sleep.
The faster you can get your body into REM sleep, and the longer it can stay there, the better off you will be. More REM sleep will allow you to feel more well-rested in the morning. In addition, better sleep allows more of the recovery processes mentioned above to occur and be effective.
Better sleep comes with a whole host of additional benefits. A recent study shows that getting more effective sleep at night leads to better dietary choices the next day. And often times, making better food choices has a much larger positive impact on your training results than simply training harder. As the old saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.”
In addition to better dietary choices, better also enhances your hydration levels, which again yields big positive results in your physical training. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can makes one more likely to be dehydrated.
And we can think of this on an even simpler level. If you feel well-rested, you might be able to cut out one cup of coffee in the morning, or even cut out coffee altogether. Now, where you used to be drinking coffee, you might replace that with an additional glass of water in the day.
In short, CBD enhances your sleep, and enhanced sleep enhances a lot of additional areas of your life.
A Few Other Benefits
CBD has also been shown to have other benefits, although the research is not as strong in these areas as it is in the benefits above.
Beyond inflammation reduction and sleep, CBD has been shown to help with:
- Pain relief
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing stress
- Boosting heart health
- Bone growth
- Bone healing
How Do You Use CBD Oil?
Now that we know how it works, let’s take a look at the different ways to take CBD. It can be taken orally, either through a pill or through a tincture.
It can also be applied topically through lotions, balms, and salves.
As for dosage, it is highly individual. Some research has shown that with as little as 5 micrograms per day, you can still reap the benefits of CBD.
If you are new to CBD, try starting with 5 micrograms, and you can go up to about 500 micrograms per day depending on your body’s needs. It’s better to work your way up, so start small and increase incrementally.
So when should you take CBD? The three times that have shown to yield the best results, unsurprisingly, are pre- and post-workout, and at night before you go to sleep.
Sublingual drops, meaning under the tongue, taken at night have been shown to give the best sleep assistance. Taking CBD at night can also help with anxiety from the day if you are someone who suffers from that. But again, choose the form that works best for you, and find the dosage your body needs.
I mentioned above that CBD can assist with pain relief. If this is what you are using it for, you may want to try a CBD-infused lotion to help with localized pain.
For How Long Should You Use CBD?
The research is not abundantly clear here, but with any pill or supplement, it’s always good to take a break after you start using it.
Most recommend taking CBD for 30 days so that you can really see if it’s working and adjust as needed, and then take 4 or 5 days off.
From there, you may only use it as needed. If sleep issues, anxiety, or muscle soreness start to creep in, then take it. If not, let your body recover and fall asleep on its own.
What Brand Should I Get?
The CBD industry is filled with different brands making various and often wild claims. The two brands backed by the most research seem to be Charlotte’s Web and Resilience CBD.
In addition, Lord Jones CBD is widely recommended for more topical uses.
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive byproduct of the hemp plant that can help with many problems. Whether your sleep is suffering, your muscles aren’t recovering, or you’re anxious from what life’s been throwing at you, CBD can help.
Do your research, start with a small dosage, and remember to take a few days off every now and again if you are using it regularly. Other than that, enjoy the benefits and use them to take your training to the next level!