I’m a pretty strong advocate for living healthy. The whole mind, body, spirit thing does play a role in things. The best thing that I do after a good running session is I have a tall glass of water, a good protein shake and I begin to relax my mind. Now I’m starting to add CBD to that mixture.
The ever-growing CBD and hemp culture have seeped into the typical runner’s lifestyle, especially with long distance and ultra-marathon runners. Many of the professional athletes claim that they use CBD as a part of the daily post-workout routine. Although I’m not a professional runner, I do like to get my cardio on as frequently as possible.
Many of these professionals swear by the power of CBD, so I decided to check in on this and dig deeper, here are my findings.
CBD and Running
For those that don’t know, here are the basics about CBD. CBD is an abbreviation that stands for Cannabidiol. This is a natural terpene compound found in the hemp (cannabis) plant. CBD is the most abundant terpene, and there are about 100 more of these that are derived from the hemp plant. The oil has the ability to boost the body’s endocannabinoid system.
For those that don’t know, the endocannabinoid system is a “signaling pathways” system responsible for the control of the functions of many systems through the human body, the cardiovascular system included (this is a definition by Dr. Nicholas DiPatrizio, University of California).
CBD is not like the THC derived from marijuana, where the THC affects the mind and “gets you high.” Instead, this affects the body and it does not cause the high euphoric feeling to occur. Many people very familiar with running or those that are avid runners report that they have a similar euphoric mood boost achieved during their runs. Modern science still does not have a clear explanation of this phenomenon, and there are suggestions that CBD acts on a similar level and through similar signaling systems.
Now, I know you’re probably scratching your head right now, which is why I’m about to answer some CBD related questions.
Common CBD-related Questions
Legal status – all the hemp and CBD-based products sold within the market today are made from industrial hemp and they contain less than 0.3% of THC, which makes them legal. Even though there are no actual legal regulations concerning CBD-based products, these are in a grey area that the government turns a blind eye towards.
The rise of state regulations has loosened the laws against this substance and today it is legal to sell industrial hemp derived products across the USA. Good news for athletes – the hemp-derived CBD products are safe to use as they have been removed from the prohibited substances list of the World’s Anti-Doping Agency. In fact, there is an increased effort to separate this from the recreational use of marijuana completely. They’re putting forth efforts by having many professional athletes as spokespeople and advocates for the cause.
Popularity – The U.S. CBD market has been on a rise and it reached an amazing $200 million in 2017. Sales are projected to skyrocket even further in 2019. Most of the manufacturers are small operations, sort of like craft businesses that make small batches. This creates a healthy, competitive, high-quality market that gives consumers access to good products.
Taking It / Dosage – Most commonly, CBD is used as a tincture that should be taken sublingually for best results. There are many other CBD-based products like gel capsules, topical ointments, suppositories, and edibles. You should also know that there are CBD manufacturing companies that make specific products targeted for athletes like protein recovery powders, athlete-oriented capsules with CBD along with herbs that have other effects and don’t interfere with the effects of CBD.
Some companies sell CBD-based protein bars, CBD-based chocolates, and CBD-infused waters. The dosage is different and varies from person to person. If you are considering starting this type of regimen, you will soon find your correct dosage. Trial and error are best in my humble opinion. Find what works for you, then stick to it.
Medical Benefits of CBD
(Disclaimer: I am not saying that CBD can cure any health issue, I am simply conveying other people’s experiences and statements.)
Many satisfied users of CBD-based products have stated that they have seen an increase in the overall well-being of their bodies. They’ve seen stress relief, less anxiety, improved sleeping patterns, reduction of inflammation, beneficial effects with nausea and a variety of other improvements.
There is a good reason for such claims related to the endocannabinoid system. It’s due to this system being everywhere across your entire body. This system is responsible for a lot of processes. The main ones are food intake, energy balance, learning, memory, pain management and more. This is all according to research done by Dr. DiPatrizio.
Another MD, Hector Lopez, who works as a consultant for PlusCBDOil, says that the endocannabinoid system can affect the emotions, how we perceive pain, the function of the energy metabolism, the function of the brain, the immune system and even inflammation. The disbursement of the endocannabinoid system throughout the body means that there are very few things in the body it does not affect.
There is an FDA-approved CBD-based drug for treating epilepsy named Epidiolex. This drug helps the patients better manage seizures caused by two rare forms of epilepsy. Even though the FDA does not approve of any CBD-based product as a treatment/cure, they allow these to be advertised as dietary supplements and the manufacturers advertise these as “restoring vitality,” “improving wellbeing,” “help with relaxation,” “aid in sleep,” “stay healthy” and things like that.
Dr. DiPatrizio claims that there need to be more studies on this topic for conclusive and relevant results to be drawn, and the current claims are supported by the CBD manufacturing industry. Still, for athletes that are looking to take CBD-based products, they need to rely on subjective or anecdotal reports that have no hard scientific supported research.
Professional Athletes and CBD
Many professional athletes have had great experiences with CBD. The specific pains that only athletes can relate to having been treated with CBD-based topicals and the pain has subsided. All without the use of any pain killer drugs like ibuprofen or something stronger. Many professional athletes are devoted to using an abundance of natural ingredients (as many as possible), so CBD-based products fit right in this.
Once they surpass the initial skepticism about using a cannabis-based product, they are in for a surprise. Athletes have reported that once they have begun their regimen, they’ve noticed significant improvements in the quality of sleep, less anxiousness, improved recovery time and more benefits. The main thing to consider, according to Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlon competitor, is to separate smoking weed and using CBD, as these are in no way the same thing.
There are many professional athletes that support the recreational use of marijuana but still take CBD-based products daily because the effects of these two are different, and only in a small part overlap.
The CBD should be used by health-minded people, and the THC should be used for its psychoactive effect, a Colorado resident states. In any case, the daily use of CBD has been shown to increase the health effects, to reduce recovery time and improve the general wellbeing of the person, no matter a professional athlete or not.
After a lengthy learning period, a professional runner decided to take on the challenge of testing the effects on CBD and decided to use it daily for a period of thirty days. The experiment was done by only adding CBD, and not changing anything else in the daily routine.
The first thing the subject noticed was the immediate improvement of sleep. The type of sleep was better, more fulfilling, deeper, and in the morning the subject felt energetic and refreshed. The next thing that was noticed was the improved ability of the body to handle systemic inflammation that most runners suffer from. So, better sleep and lower inflammation led to better daily training sessions and a better feeling of the body overall.
The person that underwent this experiment had a confirmed meniscus tear that felt stiff. Daily use of CBD helped him with the pain, cramps, and twinges that were a constant presence have been significantly reduced.
He does have a clear recommendation, as he suffered a severe injury on his back and had to take stronger medications to manage the pain of the new injury. I’m happy to report that he’s still using CBD in his daily regimen as the other benefits are very good to forgo.
According to a physical therapist from Portland who deals with a lot of sports injuries daily, many of his patients have used CBD on their own and seen significant improvement in long-term issues. When combined with targeted treatments like massage, stretches, ice pack and mobility exercises, the CBD has shown as a great way for pain management and helping with other sports-related injuries.
Increase In Usage
Above I have covered why you should take CBD, and here I’ll cover how and how much to take. Since CBD comes in tincture, gel capsules, topical, powdered drinks, and other forms, I’ll tell you how much to take and when is the best time to take it for the greatest effect.
Any two people can experience different effects from CBD and different tolerances. The best way is through trial and error. You should always start at the bottom of the scale and slowly increase the dosage until you hit the sweet spot and find your exact dose.
The starting point should be with about 10-20mg of CBD per day, or a few drops of tincture and after four to five days increase the dosage until you feel the effects. If you are starting with gel capsules, then a dose of about 25mg per day is enough for beginners.
There is no severe adverse effect from taking too much CBD at once, but it’s recommended that you stick with what works for you and not overdo it, as overdosing is just abusing the body with no improvement. You’ll just excrete whatever your body cannot process.
The best time to start with gel capsules is at night, before going to bed. You will feel the first results in the morning and you can go about your day of training. And if you decide on a tincture, you can adapt the dosage per your daily requirements. And if you take powdered drinks infused with CBD, then you should take these after a workout, for boosting the recovery time.
How To Start
To properly adapt the dosage, you can begin with gel capsules that have strictly prescribed CBD concentrations and you can’t go wrong with these. If you select tincture, then you will need to know the concentration of the blend and estimation of how much CBD is per drop, so you can count the number of drops you need to take a day.
The CBD-infused creams and ointments are a whole different situation. These are usually highly concentrated because they get absorbed through the skin. But in this case more does not equal better, as the effectiveness of these depends on the other ingredients in the mix.
When purchasing a CBD product, it is better to go for the full-spectrum CBD products. The full-spectrum designation stands for a mix of compounds that are derived from the hemp plant and have additional benefits. This is not recommended if you get regular drug tests at work, because some of the compounds in the full-spectrum CBD oil may give false positives on a drug test. In this case, it is recommended that you use CBD isolate, which is the pure form of CBD, with no additional ingredients.
Always get your CBD products from respectable sources and those that have specific products intended for athletes. The respectable manufacturers use good quality control and perform lab tests in order to ensure the continuous delivery of a premium product. If you don’t know what is good, ask what is expensive. The same goes for CBD oil, and usually, the more expensive brands carry a better offer of CBD products.
The future of CBD is bright, it seems. For the industry, the athletes, the consumers, and the brands. I’d say the main concern today is the price of the products, and a month’s supply of good concentration tincture will cost you about $40-$70, depending on the manufacturer. The ointments and creams are a little more expensive, as they contain higher doses of CBD and they will set you back about $100 a month.
There is an expectation that the price will come down a bit in the near future or about 10-20%. This may be due to the increase of the growing of industrial hemp as a crop and facilitating the legislation related to its legality. Many farming states have increased the crops and the growing expenses have been significantly lowered, and they are going to drop a little more in the future. It could also be due to supply and demand. The more new brands come to market, the more competitive and the price will be a factor.
Many food retailers (restaurants) are feverishly looking to incorporate CBD and CBD-based products in their markets, so there is a place for everyone on the CBD table no matter how big or small production they operate, as long as they deliver high-quality CBD prod