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CBD Effects on Bodybuilding

Posted on August 13th, 2020

The history of bodybuilding dates back to the 1890s . Of course, plenty of people want to have fit bodies and chiseled muscles, but you can’t achieve those results without hard work and a lot of physical training. Plus, all of those training sessions put stress on your body, which is why so many of us look for ways to maximize the results of each training session. In recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as a useful product in the fitness space. This is because many of its potential benefits could improve the results of your workout. In this piece, we are going to look at the effects of CBD on bodybuilding, and how adding this supplement to your routine may help you reach your workout goals.

What Is CBD Oil?

Before you decide to add CBD to your workout program, you need to know more about this natural supplement. CBD is a compound that exists in all varieties of the cannabis plant, but most legal CBD is derived from industrial hemp strains. When extracted from hemp plants with THC concentrations below 0.3%, CBD is legal in most states and it does not produce the ‘high’ feeling associated with marijuana use.

Now, CBD is just one of many compounds, called cannabinoids, that we find in cannabis plants. The two most prominent ones are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both these compounds may produce an abundance of benefits within the human body. Still, THC also produces a mind-altering effect and is responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. THC is also the reason cannabis products were banned for a long time in the United States.

As scientific evidence uncovered the potential benefits of these cannabinoids, legislators moved to make room for their legality. So, in 2018, the law changed: today, it is federally legal to use CBD which contains less than 0.3% concentrations of THC.

This was great news for so many people. And especially for athletes, since CBD may have a wide variety of effects that are beneficial for bodybuilders. Why is that the case? CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vital part of the human body that is responsible for maintaining balance in many of your body’s natural processes. While your body naturally produces endocannabinoids to maintain balance, sometimes production falls short. And that’s where CBD may be able to help, by expediting the balancing process.

What Are the Effects of CBD on Bodybuilding?

CBD May Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a common condition in your body; it can develop due to illness, stress, or from several other triggers. Bodybuilders who engage in strenuous exercises are especially vulnerable to inflammation. The effects of CBD may reduce inflammation and help bodybuilders remain in top condition.

CBD may provide a potent anti-inflammatory effect by starting a process known as apoptosis. Apoptosis reduces cell divisions and suppresses cytokine production. (Cytokines are a type of protein that can address inflammation.) Aside from bodybuilding, CBD has shown promising results for people with rheumatoid arthritis who suffer because of inflammation. For individuals with certain chronic diseases, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could offer relief. And, for bodybuilders, they could help remove any roadblocks to weight training.

CBD for Stress and Symptoms of Anxiety

You might wonder how stress and anxiety come into the bodybuilding space. Well, these professionals have goals to reach. If they don’t meet their targets, this could cause stress and feelings of anxiety. Also, professional weightlifters may feel anxious before a competition, and that could derail their performances.

Studies show that CBD may alleviate stress and symptoms of anxiety. This is important, because the effects of stress, such as increased heart rate and increased cortisol levels, can lead to muscle breakdown. And that is the opposite of what bodybuilders want to see.

Can CBD Improve Digestion?

Most people relate cannabis use with getting the “munchies”. But did you know that CBD may go that extra step and improve digestion? To start, it may improve your appetite, but research shows that it may have various additional applications in our digestive system. We think that CBD addresses multiple digestive issues because of its interactions with cannabinoids throughout your body. Some of these receptors regulate nausea and stomach acid production, thus enhancing your digestion process.

How might this CBD effect help bodybuilders? Bodybuilders, like all athletes, need to eat well so they can build and maintain muscle mass. But at times, our digestive system struggles to digest certain foods. This may lead to stomach pain, bloating, and inflammation. Poor digestion can also interfere with nutrient absorption, meaning you won’t benefit from all the nutrients in your food. It is important for bodybuilders to consume and absorb enough nutrients to support muscle growth, and CBD may help with that process.

CBD for Increased Metabolism

CBD may increase the concentration and activity of mitochondria in your cells. While more research is needed, studies suggest that this can accelerate your fat burning fat process. This also may affect your appetite, meaning you need fewer calories to feel fuller.

Additionally, CBD seems to trigger a process called fat browning, that transforms white adipose tissues in your body into brown adipose tissues. Brown tissues burn more energy than white ones, which can help you build lean muscle in place of body fat.

CBD for Better Sleep

We’ve seen that CBD may help reduce anxiety and stress, which can improve your sleeping patterns. As a bodybuilder, you need quality sleep so your body can recover. CBD appears to improve sleep length and quality. It can also reduce insomnia, especially for those who are kept up by pain after a rigorous workout session.

It is also important to note that you build muscle while you sleep, making each night a vital part of the bodybuilding equation. This is the time when your body repairs its muscles. If you don’t sleep enough, it will be hard to make any meaningful bodybuilding progress.

CBD for Joint Aches

CBD may enhance the functioning of your immune system, which could be why it appears to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Exercise can help alleviate certain types of arthritis, but joint pain makes it hard to move.

Even for healthy people, workout sessions can be stressful on joints, leading to pain and inflammation. Using CBD oil regularly could go a long way towards reducing these joint aches and allowing you to stick to your workout schedule.

Why Choose CBD?

So many of the issues we discussed have challenged bodybuilders for years. Pain and joint inflammation are common, and many bodybuilders address this problem with chemical medications. However, many of these medications mask the problem, offering a false sense of well being rather than an underlying cure.

In contrast, CBD oil is a natural substance that interacts with your ECS to trigger a host of effects that may be beneficial for bodybuilding. It prompts your body to initiate a natural healing process, without the wide variety of side effects that are common with various over the counter drugs.

CBD has very few side effects. Those that do appear are typically mild, and only show up when you take higher than recommended doses. Still, you must remember that your body needs time to adapt to external cannabinoids. So, if you start experiencing minor headaches or drowsiness, speak with your physician for help finding a dose that’s right for you. Over time, your body should adjust to CBD and you may no longer experience these side effects.

Bottomline

The effects of CBD can be a great asset for those interested in bodybuilding. It has a wide array of potential health benefits that may improve the results of your workout sessions. Especially since it can help you recover from one training session and prepare for your next workout. Be sure to clear CBD use with your doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if you take any other supplements or medications. Once you’re cleared to use CBD, start with a low dose, explore the variety of delivery methods, and find the perfect form of CBD for you!

Let's look at the effects of CBD on bodybuilding, and how adding this supplement to your routine may help you reach your workout goals.

Considering CBD For Muscle Recovery? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Cannabidiol is having a moment. Though you may not recognize its scientific moniker, you’ve probably seen it referred to by its buzzy nickname: CBD.

CBD is everywhere these days, and in a variety of forms. You can find it in capsules, gummies, tinctures, oils, balms, cocktails, cookies—even coffee sold at small-town bakeries. Its market share in the health and wellness space will likely only continue to grow, with some analysts estimating its value will hit $2 billion by 2022.

CBD has a lot of purported benefits with a lot of anecdotal (and some scientific) evidence to back those claims. Everything from helping cancer patients fight nausea, to acting as a sleep aid for people with insomnia, to reducing seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.

While those seem like potentially huge breakthroughs, CBD is also said to help with smaller stuff, like helping you recover faster from workouts thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Before you dive into a pool of CBD oil, here’s everything you need to know.

Why are we sore after a workout anyway?

No matter how fit you are, sometimes you just feel it after a workout. Some workouts can leave you sore for days. That’s because, as the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) explains, working out causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Those muscles then become inflamed, which triggers the body to respond and repair, causing muscle soreness or stiffness.

Cool. So, what exactly is CBD again?

CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, which include both marijuana and industrial hemp. CBD is a close chemical cousin to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound found in marijuana that causes a psychoactive effect (AKA, the stuff that gets you high).

Though CBD is just one atom arrangement away from becoming THC, that microscopic difference is actually huge. No matter how much CBD oil you consume or how much CBD balm you rub on your body, you cannot get high from it. Which means.

I can legally buy CBD?

Yes. In December, President Donald Trump signed a new Farm Bill, which, among other things, legalized the growth, distribution, and sale of industrialized hemp, allowing it to be “cultivated for any use”—including the production and extraction of CBD.

There are a few caveats to the bill, but generally you’re now safe to buy CBD across the United States. Even professional athletes can use CBD, as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed it from its prohibited substance list in 2018. So relax, your gold medals are safe.

“Broadly speaking, CBD does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally.”

Can CBD really help fight post-workout inflammation?

“As a personal trainer and someone that works out every day and really pushes myself a lot, I noticed the biggest difference in inflammation and stress after a workout,” Tara Laferrara, a former sprinter and a NASM certified personal trainer, told MensHealth.com about her personal use of CBD.

Laferrara was introduced to CBD via friends in the fitness industry who tried it after cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014. Now, she’s a devoted user. (A CBDevotee?) “It basically manages and prevents my joint inflammation, that aching kind of feeling, that I’d get after a heavy lift day,” she says.

Is there scientific proof?

While Laferrara’s anecdotal experience is intriguing, you might remain skeptical. Perhaps the scientific findings will squash some of your CBDoubts.

According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.

“Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD, told MensHealth.com.

However, we can’t conclusively say that CBD will, without question, reduce inflammation—and in turn reduce muscle soreness—after another Eb & Swole workout. The empirical data just isn’t there yet.

But I’m good to start a CBD regimen?

CBD is commonly regarded as safe to use. Even the doctors published in Frontiers in Neurology said: “High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day and chronic use have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.” You shouldn’t need that much, though figuring out how much you do need can be tricky, as there is no “standard” dose.

One rule of thumb is 1-6 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on pain levels. Another is to start with 5-10mg per day and increase by 5-10mg until you feel relief. This isn’t perfect and requires trial and error, but it’ll help you find a starting point.

As with anything you plan to put into your body, discuss CBD with your doctor first, particularly if you take other medications. They can help you make sure your liver will have enough room to metabolize it all so as not to diminish the effects of either.

How should I use CBD for recovery?

Beyond CBD oils and tinctures, CBD is often sold in infused balms, lotions, capsules, edibles, vape pens, and more. Basically, you just need to decide if you’d like to ingest it or rub it on for relief.

Again, you’re mostly on your own to determine exactly how much CBD you should take to feel its effects. The dosing guidelines above should give you a good jumping-off point, but CBD is a subjective chemical that reacts differently in every body. Once you feel the desired effect, though, you won’t have to up the dose. Which means if you use CBD oil for recovery, you can just fill the pipette to the same spot every time.

To sum it up, if your doctor says it’s OK and you’re game to try CBD instead of popping traditional anti-inflammatories, go for it. Try it for a few weeks while varying the delivery method and dose to find what works best for you. Who knows? By tomorrow, you could be recovering faster from your workout and have one less excuse to skip leg day.

The cannabis product is said to help inflammation. So… can it?