CBD is capable of doing many things but could it make you stronger? Not literally. It may, however, help you get the results you want quicker. More and more professional bodybuilders and enthusiasts are reaching for CBD before or after their workout. Many claim it compliments a bodybuilder’s workout because it reduces cortisol levels, lowers pain, speeds up recovery and allows better rest. This all sounds beneficial, but how exactly does CBD accomplish these feats?
What Exactly is CBD & How Does It Work?
The cannabis plant has been used throughout time by ancient and modern civilizations for medicinal and recreational purposes. You see the cannabis plant has a ton of beneficial compounds each with their own specific abilities. These beneficial compounds are what we call terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids.
CBD is the popular term for Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that is extracted from the cannabis plant. More specifically, CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which is a cannabinoid made from a plant (in this case cannabis). Chances are, you’ve come across products such as CBD oil, CBD topicals, or even CBD gummies.
CBD and THC are two different cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. THC is the part in the plant that induces the “high” feeling. However, when CBD is extracted from the plant it alone does not create a “high”. Remember each compound has different capabilities.
So CBD does not get you high, but it does offer many other benefits without the intoxication that THC or marijuana (cannabis) gives you. CBD offers a wide variety of health benefits, it may help reduce cortisol, reduce pain, speed up muscle recovery, and improve sleep habits and more.
CBD provides these benefits through what scientists have coined the Endocannabinoid System or ECS for short. All humans and mammals internally have an ECS.
The ECS works to keep many of our bodies major functions in check, like sleep, pain, appetite, and more. It is constantly working to keep these functions working properly. The ECS accomplishes this by communicating to targeted areas within the body via interaction with internal cannabinoid receptors. To communicate with these receptors our ECS produces its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally produced by our body.
What’s interesting is that through science we have discovered that we can ingest phytocannabinoids and they will interact similarly to our own endocannabinoids within our ECS. So when we take CBD it can act as a boost the function of your ECS and help maintain it. So, how can it help bodybuilders?
How Can Bodybuilders Benefit From CBD?
CBD Reduces Cortisol & Improves Sleep
Most bodybuilders know that cortisol production destroys muscle mass and you need good rest to build muscle. CBD may help with both these aspects.
Cortisol levels can increase in our bodies when we feel anxiety or stress. Working out is stressful on the body, which also raises cortisol levels. CBD has shown promise in helping to reduce cortisol levels while providing better sleep. Better sleep also reduces stress by giving the body the time it needs to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate.
According to a study involving 72 participants “CBD displays promise as a tool for reducing anxiety” (which reduces cortisol levels). This study was preformed over a 3-month period and over this period “On average, anxiety and sleep improved for most patients, and these improvements were sustained over time”.
CBD Decreases Pain & Speeds Up Recovery
The terms “no pain no gain” and “bodybuilding” are basically synonymous. Pain and inflammation is simply is part of recovery process of bodybuilding. Many bodybuilders take painkillers to deal with recovery symptoms. Unfortunately, many of those painkillers can come with unwanted side effects, not to mention the risks of addiction.
However, thanks to cannabis many weightlifters are using CBD to help reduce their chronic pain and inflammation from constantly working out. In fact, one study reports CBD is “a non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects”. Simply put, CBD helps to reduce pain and inflammation via interaction with the ECS without getting you intoxicated.
Is CBD Safe For Bodybuilders?
CBD is considered generally safe for humans. However, you should be aware of the very minimal side effects if any arise. There have been few reports of nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and diarrhea. However it is important to note that these symptoms are usually only temporary. If you do show signs of any symptoms they generally reside shortly after your body becomes accommodated to the CBD.
There are mounds of anecdotal and some clinical evidence that CBD can help bodybuilders with reducing pain, inflammation, and stress, while also promoting better sleeping habits.
However more research is needed to be certain as to what degree CBD is capable of helping these bodybuilding symptoms. Although CBD is considered generally safe, it is always recommended you seek the advice of your physician before using any new supplement or drug.