As you round the corner to that final stretch of road before home, you’re flooded with a mixture of relief and pain. Let’s face it, the pavement isn’t always kind on your knees and legs, but “no pain no gain” right?
There’s no denying that a little discomfort is just a part of exercise but it doesn’t have to be the most noticeable part. Increasingly, athletes of all levels and fields are looking for new ways to manage their exercise-related aches and pains. Many of them are turning to the hemp-derived compound CBD and for good reason. When used effectively, CBD could be an excellent addition to your workout regimens and your recovery strategies.
When someone first mentions “cannabis,” their mind might first jump to classic stoner humor and tropes. We don’t blame them, for decades, this term has been used to describe a large part of drug culture. But in recent years, science has explored the myriad of uses that the cannabis family of plants has. In particular, hemp has been the source of a promising body of research. As such, modern hemp products are rejecting the classic cannabis stereotype, instead making compounds like CBD the go-to choice for post-workout recovery products.
So what makes CBD such an exciting part of so many exercise routines? The reasons are as complex and dynamic as the hemp plant itself.
Get to Know CBD
Whether you’ve seen it on the counter of your local yoga studio, on shelves at the running store, or simply in your friend’s gym bag, you’ve likely seen or heard about CBD in some capacity. That’s not surprising, as the hemp-based product has experienced an explosion of popularity in the last few years. CBD stands for “Cannabidiol.” It’s just one of the more than 100 chemical compounds that you can find in a cannabis plant. One of the reasons that CBD, and specifically, full-spectrum CBD has found such popularity is that it’s packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.
That’s in large part because your body is naturally set up to make use of cannabinoid compounds like CBD. Your body utilizes these compounds thanks to the endogenous cannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is notable for its two key receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors can be found in your nervous system, your organs, and your tissues. The CB2 receptors are found in the systems that support your immune system.
It’s because of the ECS that so many use CBD as a way to manage their aches and pains, unwind after a workout, or even just to help themselves achieve a more welcoming headspace. Since the ECS connects with critical systems, like your brain, hormonal glands, and muscles, it helps your body maintain homeostasis, and CBD could play a role in helping your body find that balance.
Talk a stroll down any supplement aisle at a store and you’ll see scores of options, all tailored to help you achieve your health and exercise goals. Of course, head to a local holistic wellness shop and you’ll find an equal number of natural alternatives. So with so many choices available to you, why would you choose CBD over something else? This cannabis compound has more to offer than you might realize.
CBD Could Help Accelerate Your Recovery Time
When you’re really dedicated to your workout routine, be it yoga, running, climbing, or cycling, often the only thing holding you back is your own body. After a few rigorous sessions, your body can feel achy and sore for days on end, keeping you from maintaining your schedule. Luckily, CBD could play an important role in helping your body recover.
CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory
There’s a growing body of research that suggests that CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory. When you exercise, you put stress on your joints and muscles, and your body becomes inflamed. In response, your body increases its production of the neurotransmitter Anandamide. This is the same neurotransmitter that helps you achieve that “runner’s high,” but if you’re not always getting that feeling, CBD could be used to help your muscles stay pain-free before, during, and after exercise. That’s because CBD interacts with the TRPV1 receptors in your body, which helps to control your sensations of pain, and regulates inflammation in your body. As an agonist to TRPV1, CBD essentially desensitizes this receptor, which could help your body experience less pain and inflammation.
CBD and Cortisol Levels
Exercise stresses your body both physically, and mentally. While you exercise, your body responds by temporarily spiking its levels of cortisol. With time, these levels fall on their own, but if you exercise too hard, too long, or too frequently, it can cause your baseline level of cortisol to increase, meaning that your recovery times become longer. With chronically elevated cortisol, you can begin to experience the symptoms of overtraining, like fatigue and reduced performance. CBD, however, may play a part in interfering with the body's secretion of cortisol. The suggested sedative effects of CBD can help your body leave its “fight or flight” state after exercise, helping your cortisol levels fall more readily.
CBD is Safe to Use
Not only could CBD be a great way to help your body recover, it’s an extremely safe way to do so. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Ibuprofen or Aleve, are a staple in any athlete or fitness enthusiast’s routine, but taking too many can have a negative impact on your health. They can lead to digestive issues, heartburn, and ulcers. They can also cause liver injuries, and may even raise the risk of heart conditions. Others turn to opioid-based pain relievers to help their bodies relax. But these drugs are addictive and have their own host of downsides. Finally, some turn to readily accessible options like alcohol in order to help their body relax.
When used in moderation and responsibly, these options can help, but each comes with a risk of overdose that could lead to death. CBD, on the other hand, has mild-at-best side effects, and there’s no risk of overdose. A study from 2018 found that even when individuals took 30 times the recommended dosage, they didn’t experience anything worse than nausea and dizziness. That means there’s no risk involved while you determine how much CBD you should take to achieve your desired results.
CBD Helps Create a Motivated Mindset
As much as our physical limits keep us from exercising as much as we’d like (or as often as we should) there’s also our mindset. When you’re struggling to get to the gym, can’t seem to find that motivation to run, or if even the promise of a cathartic yoga session isn’t enough, CBD may offer you just the boost you need to stay motivated.
Achieve that Runner’s High Sooner
We all recognize how demoralizing it can feel when you’re exercising and you feel weaker than you usually do. Routes you climbed the week before suddenly feel unattainable and you just don’t feel like you’re getting anything out of your latest gym trip. But there’s growing research that notes that your ECS may play a role in reaching that fabled “runner’s high.” A 2015 study found that a runner’s high isn’t possible if the ECS isn’t in balance. In effect, if your ECS doesn’t have the compounds it needs to maintain its network of CB1 and CB2 receptors, you might not get that boost of endorphins that the “high” has to offer. Taking CBD could help you push through your limits.
CBD Could Limit Anxiety
Are you struggling to go exercise due to worry? Maybe it’s about how you look when you lift, or whether or not you’re getting that form right, or maybe you’re just not comfortable going for a run with a group. Anxiety can impact your exercise performance, but that doesn’t mean it has to control how you exercise.
Across a number of studies examining a range of anxiety issues, CBD has shown promise in helping to manage these intense feelings. For instance, a 2010 study showed that CBD played a role in helping subjects feeling less anxious about being in social situations. Similarly, CBD has been shown to help minimize feelings of general anxiety as well. That’s because CBD has what’s called “anxiolytic properties,” which keeps our brains from reading our emotions as anxious.
When your feelings of anxiety around exercise are limited, you’re more likely to go do it. Sometimes a little CBD could be all you need to get on that wall and climb or to hop back on the treadmill and run.
Get Better Rest with CBD
The value of sleep is inarguable. Getting the right amount of sleep is a great way to ensure your body has the energy it needs to exercise and even just get through the workday. But adequate sleep also has a pronounced effect on your mental state. Getting inadequate sleep can exacerbate symptoms and feelings of depression, which can keep you from doing the things you care about, like exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. A lack of sleep can also make you prone to anxiety disorders, and insomnia can worsen anxiety symptoms.
But researchers are finding that CBD may be able to help you get to sleep faster. Simply put, when you’re in a better headspace going to sleep, your mind is calmer and allowed to rest completely through the night. Studies have found that CBD could help improve not only the quantity of sleep you get but the quality as well. A study from 2013 found that the amount that subjects slept after taking a dose of CBD increased, and that they spent more time in REM as well.
Just like you have specific exercises to reach specific goals, you have to use specific CBD products to best enjoy their benefits.
It’s important to look for full-spectrum CBD products. This means that the entire hemp plant is used to make a potent extract filled with valuable vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients that you need to keep your body healthy and strong. How the hemp is extracted also matters. Cold extraction yields a higher quality extract that is more effective. You’ll also want to take a careful look at how your CBD products are tested for potency and purity and labeled.
High-quality CBD treatments, like oils, liquid capsules, and relief creams are easy to include in your post-workout routines. Simply add a drop to a glass of water, take a capsule, or target specific aches and pains with the topical. You can also use something like a CBD powder to mix the cannabis compound into your workout recovery shakes.
When you use CBD regularly, you might find that this valuable hemp-derived product helps you reach your fitness goals faster. Axis Labs is your go-to source for premium CBD products. To ensure that you get nothing but the best, we send our products to a third-party lab to test them for purity. We then use proven ingredients to create easy-to-use products, like our CBD shots and gummies.
Whether you’re unwinding with some yoga, setting land speed records on your bike, or just hitting the climbing crag with friends, you’ll love having a high-quality CBD product on hand to make your recovery faster. Order yours today!