Athletes, weight lifters, runners, competitive sports people - whatever form of exercise that appeals to you, there are some overarching themes, ideas and protocols that apply to all forms of serious exercise. The details regarding how to train changes from sport to sport, as well as the goals you aim for. One aspect that is often overlooked is ‘recovery’ - if recovery is not taken seriously then the risk of injury increases.
From protein shakes, to cryo-therapy, recovery is now a hot topic, and cannabis-derived Cannabidiol CBD is the new product getting all the attention! In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances, as did the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis plants, THC is still prohibited, which is important when discussing CBD products for use by athletes.
WHY IS CBD OIL USED IN ATHLETIC RECOVERY?
Intense or prolonged exercise naturally causes damage to our body’s tissue - weight lifting demonstrates this well: You create small tears in the muscle fibres that trigger your body to repair, and build back stronger to deal with these increased workloads. Any damage does, however, cause a degree of inflammation and muscle soreness, which lets the body know there is damage that needs repairing.
Cannabidiol works to improve the signalling pathways by regulating neurotransmitters, which means that the right amount of chemical messenger is used, preventing overstimulation of receptors. Also, CBD helps to reduce inflammation by reducing the levels of pro inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and interferon.
The psychological effect of CBD also serves to help athletic recovery. CBD reduces the breakdown of the endocannabinoid anandamide - nicknamed the ‘bliss chemical’. Anandamide appears to affect signalling at CB1 receptors where pain-related input’s access to the central nervous system is controlled. This is likely to help getting to sleep if you are sore after a workout!
HOW DOES CBD OIL HELP WITH ATHLETIC RECOVERY?
- Sleep Quality - A large part of your recovery occurs when you sleep, and the CB1 receptor that CBD acts on plays a role in inducing sleep, so in this way, CBD can aid recovery by potentially improving the quality and length of sleep.
- Relieves Stress - CBD helps to regulate the transmission of dopamine - the reward chemical - at specific sites in the brain, as well as prevent the breakdown of anandamide - the bliss chemical. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Relaxes Muscles - The action of CBD to regulate the body’s neurotransmitters results in less of the chemicals being used to fire the synapses, and clearing up of the remaining neurotransmitters to prevent continual activation.
- Pain Relief - CBD can reduce inflammation by regulating cytokines, and reduce the breakdown of anandamide - both of which contribute to pain relief.
- Controls Appetite - The CB1 receptor signals to maintain ‘whole body energy homeostasis’, so CBD plays a role in energy metabolism and feeding behaviour.
- Heart Health - Animal studies have shown CBD has a protective effect on the heart through its anti-inflammatory properties, and reduces risk factors for heart attack through its antioxidant properties.
DOES CBD OIL HAVE AN INTOXICATING EFFECT?
Professional athletes are permitted to use CBD products, with discrepancies between countries and sports regarding whether THC is permitted, and at what levels. CBD itself does not have an intoxicating effect, and using CBD isolate products or broad spectrum CBD means that the THC has been removed - only full spectrum CBD doesn’t remove the THC. That means, for all you pros out there, it may be best to avoid full spectrum CBD if you are subject to drug testing.
It is worth noting that CBD is well tolerated in most individuals, but the most common reported side effects are tiredness, diarrhoea, and changes in appetite or weight. There is also some indication that it could interfere with other medications, as well as impact our reproductive systems: there is some indication that CBD can reduce sperm production, and cause the death of an embryo or foetus - so make sure to consult a doctor before you start using CBD.
RESEARCH AND STUDIES DONE ON CBD
More and more studies are being conducted into the utility of CBD, and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties CBD appears to provide makes CBD a great candidate to aid in sports recovery.
Endocannabinoid receptors are positioned throughout our pathways that signal pain, and the CB1 and CB2 receptors mediate the antinociceptive effects - the blocking of pain detection. CBD may reduce the amount of neurotransmitter released, reduce the excitability of neurons, reduce the inflammatory response, and activate pain inhibition in the supraspinale pain control pathways.
This ability to reduce pain, encourage the muscles to relax, and encourage sleep, are the main ways that CBD can help recovery. It also plays a role in appetite regulation, so CBD could help if you are eating too little and aren’t fuelling your body with enough nutrients to recover; or if you’re eating too much!
HOW CAN YOU INCLUDE CBD OIL TO YOUR SPORTS RECOVERY REGIMEN?
There are a number of ways to take CBD - for specific muscle soreness, a topical cream can be effective to get right to the site of pain as the CBD is absorbed through the skin.
As far as CBD dosage is concerned, there is only a single medical CBD product approved by the FDA and this is Epidiolex, a treatment available only by prescription for severe types of epilepsy. The dosage used with this medication is a starting dose of 2.5 milligrams per kilo of body weight to be taken twice daily, which some people increase, after a week, to 5 milligrams per kilo of body weight, taken twice daily.
Other CBD products are not considered medical treatment (yet!) and so there are no official guidelines for dosage. According to a report from the World Health Organisation, CBD doesn’t affect bodily functions or behaviour in monkeys unless administered orally at dosages higher than 30 milligrams per kilo of bodyweight every day for 90 days. That would be the equivalent to a 70kg human consuming a little more than a whole 10ml bottle of 2000mg CBD every day for 90 days!
SELECTING THE BEST CBD OIL FOR SPORTS RECOVERY
Is there a specific CBD product that is considered best for sports recovery? The answer is that it probably depends on you and your needs. What does matter is that the CBD product is one that you can trust - an article from Brent A Bauer, M.D., mentioned a study that examined a sample of 84 CBD products bought online and found that more than 25% of the products contained less CBD than stated on the label, and THC was found in 18 of those products!
This demonstrates the need to buy from a reputable brand, one that provides a certificate of analysis for their CBD products (or their manufacturer’s), and evidence of third party testing, showing you their products are subject to, and meet, the standards in place.
At SMOKO, our CBD products are made from hemp plants (cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC) responsibly farmed in Oregon, USA, and use a cryogenic extraction process to bring our customers a high quality CBD product they can trust - have a look at our product testing certificates for yourself!
CBD FOR ATHLETES - A GREAT SOLUTION FOR SPORTS RECOVERY CONCLUSION
There is a growing body of evidence for the utility of CBD, and this is down to our endocannabinoid system - one of our bodily systems that plays a role in many aspects of our health.
When it comes to sport, the evidence and clinical trials suggest that CBD can potentially aid by reducing stress, relaxing the muscles, improving sleep quality, reducing inflammation, and may even positively impact your eating habits - so what are you waiting for? Check out SMOKO CBD today!