Could CBD be Used to Aid Your Athletic Performance?
Competitive athletes from all around the world are looking for legal enhancers to help push their performance to the absolute maximum. The most serious of participants will spend their lives training for their competitive days all in the hope to be the first over the finish line. The difference between two athletes can come down to the smallest of margins, so every little does really help.
Supplements are commonplace for maintaining a healthy diet in this modern world and CBD is rightfully taking its place among them.
The claims being made about CBD are vast and a lot of them are unsubstantiated. So, let’s try and separate fact from fiction in this write up on how CBD can help your athletic performance – from amateur to professional.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that is currently being extensively researched for a vast amount of proposed medical benefits. Whilst lots of studies into CBD do back its use medicinally, the research is still in its infancy. It is derived from the cannabis plant and is completely legal for use as a supplement in the UK and is known for being used medicinally after being legalised for specific ailments on November 1st, 2018.
CBD interacts with the bodies own endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is known to regulate mood, sleep, memory, pain & inflammation amongst a variety of other functions. In the USA it has been used in some states to replace both prescription and over-the-counter pain killers ranging from opiates to ibuprofen. Research has been shown that it has potential benefits for both physical and cognitive health and it is theorised to help benefit the performance and recovery of athletes in multiple ways.
CBD & Running
Many people who regularly take part in any form of exercise, including running, will inform you of a buzz that they feel when both participating in running and for a certain period concluding the exercise. What most people don’t realise is that this buzz is caused in the most part by a naturally occurring endocannabinoid produced within the human body that interacts with the body’s own ECS called anandamide.
Anandamide is responsible not only for the “runners high” but also for causing participants to feel completely immersed in their activity. CBD decreases the degradation of anandamide the ‘bliss’ hormone which also makes it beneficial when getting intimate with your loved one. The common expression used is feeling “in the zone”. So, anandamide plays a very good part in the mental aspect behind running.
But, how does CBD relate to anandamide? Well, CBD has been scientifically proven to inhibit the degradation of anandamide, which means that when CBD is consumed and is floating around your system, the levels of anandamide will be higher than if CBD isn’t there. CBD stops anandamide from being broken down. It can do this by starting a series of chain reactions that reduce the concentration an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid hydrolase enzyme) which is responsible from breaking down anandamide. So, by extension, CBD can increase both the immersion and satisfaction of you participating in an activity compared to if you hadn’t taken any.
But this isn’t the only way in which CBD has been theorised as being helpful towards runners…
CBD Has Potential with Inflammation & Pain
Anybody who has engaged in a particularly intense day of training will have tales of the aches and pains endured on the following few days. It may just be standard muscular aches or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or you may have slightly extended a muscle or twisted an ankle. The consensus for these types of pains and injuries in the past has been pharmaceutical NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen.
No-one is doubting the effectiveness of NSAIDs in reducing inflammation. However, there is a vast amount of research concerning the negative long-term effects caused by NSAIDs when taken over a long period of time. The same can be said for medicines that are used for chronic pain relief, such as opiate-based medicines. These are extremely effective at reducing pain but are also causing users to become highly dependent on them, resulting in the potential for serious life-altering addictions.
A vast amount of research is currently taking place into using CBD as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medicine. Most of the research is in favour of CBD in this aspect but more needs to be conducted to fully confirm its effectiveness in humans. Currently, there is only really anecdotal evidence from sports stars who use CBD as pain relief, such as members of the NFL and UFC respectively, Derrick Morgan and Nate Diaz. These stars also report that CBD can help your frame of mind pre-competition.
Our Advice on CBD & Running
CBD has hit the market as a versatile supplement that is being promoted as a cure-all substance. Whilst the jury is still out on this, it could still have the potential to help you with your ailments and/or performance needs. We would always advise you to monitor how CBD affects you as an individual and to dose yourself accordingly, after all, we do all respond to different substances differently. It’s what makes us unique.
Only you will be able to determine what works for you and your running. It isn’t a one size fits all situation. Therefore, we recommend consulting your practitioner as well as taking your time with your dosing of CBD and keeping a log in a personal CBD journal.