CBD: A fitness regime for the fitness
Cannabidiol or CBD is well-known for its medicinal properties. Derived from the hemp plant, it contains less than 0.03% THC, hence making it non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and an anti-depressant.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
CBD is known to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors present in our brain. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) relies on a complex network of neurotransmitters that help in keeping your body's system balanced. An athlete's ECS is responsible for the following functions
- Muscle movement and neuroprotection
- Thermal regulation and metabolism
- Sleep cycle regulation
- Inflammation and pain perception
- Stress responses and mood regulation
- Circulatory and digestive processes
- Moods and emotions
- Functions of the endocrine system
- Immune system function
Fighting Pain and Inflammation without the Risk of Side Effects
You may have tried many medicines, but you may be unaware of their side effects on your health. Some of them are listed below
- Liver and kidney damage
- Stomach upset, indigestion, and vomiting
- Bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
- Ear ringing (tinnitus)
- Vision disturbances
- Skin Rashes
- Chemical dependency
For the symptoms of overworked muscles or minor strains and sprains, many athletes rely on CBD.
Beyond Inflammation and Pain Perception
Exercise keeps you healthy, but it also stresses you out. An intense workout can push your vital processes to their limits. Due to this strain, your body would require more cannabinoids. And that cannot be produced by it alone. CBD helps in restoring ECS and provides the following benefits:
Improves sleep quality
Your body needs rest after a workout session. Once you fall asleep, a growth hormone is produced that supports all metabolic functions. CBD has the qualities to improve sleep, reduce stress, and ease muscle soreness.
Challenging your potential can cause stress, physically and mentally. Stress causes your focus to drift and your muscles to tighten. The ECS regulates the emotions that impact your performance. CBD has shown effects similar to those medicines used to control anxiety. Reducing stress benefits your immune system function and bone density.
Promoting Healing Processes
During a workout session, you may experience lots of bodily injuries like sprains, muscle contractions, etc. Due to the lack of proteins, the healing process tends to become slower. CBD is high in vitamin A, C, and E as well as all 20 essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. It helps in quick recovery and allows you to get back to your daily routine.
Reducing Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms typically occur after an intense workout or during activities that test your endurance. CBD has the potential to demonstrate antispasmodic properties.
EXERCISE, INFLAMMATION, AND CBD
Any rigorous workout causes microscopic damage to the body's muscles and tissues, explains Dr. Alan Beyer, sports medicine doctor and executive medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in California. It's this inflammation that triggers the body's repair processes, allowing tissues to grow back stronger and fitter. However, too much inflammation left unchecked can contribute to excessive muscle damage and poor workout results. Inflammation is also a hallmark of exercise injuries including strains and sprains, he says
For this reason, athletes commonly integrate anti-inflammatory measures – such as eating antioxidant-containing foods and taking ice baths – into their workout routines to aid the workout process. They also try to curb achy muscles and joints through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, Beyer says.
While studies currently debate exactly when exercisers should try to curb inflammation and when they should just let the body recover on its own, they also suggest that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. For example, a 2018 review published in Frontiers in Neurology concluded that CBD is an effective way of improving pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis since it reduces inflammation.
"CBD for exercise-induced inflammation is absolutely the next big area we need to explore," says Thorsten Rudroff, an exercise scientist and director of the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory at Colorado State University, and the Frontiers in Neurology study co-author. "However, most of what we know about CBD and exercise is based on anecdotal reports," he says. "There's basically no research on the topic. We need to investigate CBD's effects on inflammatory biomarkers [compounds like C-reactive protein in the body that occur with inflammation in athletes and exercise recovery."
He explains that he has seen a dramatic increase in the number of older adults and collegiate and professional athletes consuming CBD edibles and oils. By taking them immediately after exercise, they aim to recover quickly and effectively. Some believe that CBD reduces the body's tendency to break down tissues and promotes muscle growth.
Meanwhile, Beyer posits that CBD is most promising as a way to help patients recover from exercise-related injuries. He often recommends that his patients apply CBD salves to the injured area.
"CBD penetrates transdermally to reduce inflammation in the injured tissues," Beyer explains, noting that overuse of NSAIDs, especially in conjunction with exercise, can damage the kidneys. For example, in a 2017 Emergency Medical Journal studying ultramarathoners, those who took ibuprofen every four hours during a 50-mile race were about 18 percent more likely to finish the race with acute kidney damage.
"I always want my patients to start with interventions that have the fewest side effects," Beyer says. However, he also adds that a lack of research exists on the long-term effects of CBD products. "We don't have data to know if it's efficacious or safe over the long term," he says.