CBD for Athletes
Every day we take steps to keep our bodies well-nourished and healthy.
This journey's not always easy, but through it all we have a trusted companion: our endocannabinoid system. And the ECS doesn't just keep us healthy — it's also a worthy companion for our exercise routine!
That's because at the very heart of CBD’s ability to promote health... is its ability to reduce stress.
CBD = ECS health = less stress = overall health.
And the same stress-relieving qualities that, for example, may reduce one’s arthritic pain also make CBD a perfect antidote for another person's exercise-induced pain.
CBD may help your grandma get up a steep set of stairs, but that’s not the only thing it does. CBD’s just as likely to help the elite cyclist scale their next mountain or the swimmer crush their next swim meet. Let's take a look at a few of the major ways CBD may help athletes perform their best.
CBD vs. Opioids
On the path to peak performance, many athletes face a common enemy: chronic inflammation. This inflammation occurs when the stressed-out body, overwhelmed with exercise, begins to perceive itself as a threat to overall health. Chronic inflammation can lead to all sorts of detrimental stuff: fatigue, delayed onset muscle soreness, insomnia...even ‘overtraining system,’ AKA burnout.
To combat chronic inflammation, many athletes turn to conventional NSAIDs or opioids. And in the past, NSAIDs were the only thing they had to turn to.
Thankfully times have changed!
Today the diligent athlete has another tool up their sleeve; a conduit through which inflammation can be naturally reduced without causing negative effects elsewhere in the body.
The conduit in question, of course, is CBD. In one study CBD demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties 100 times stronger than aspirin; in another study CBD quenched the conversion of dietary fats into inflammatory cytokines. Further studies have clearly demonstrated that CBD may reduce inflammatory markers... it may even reduce the cox-2 enzyme’s ability to produce them.
How does all this work? It seems as though CBD increases the sensitivity of the immune system towards inflamed areas while also boosting endocannabinoid production in these areas. In a very holistic sense, CBD may help the body heal itself from inflammation-related disease and damage. Even the damage sustained by intense exercise!
CBD and The Athlete's Metabolism
CBD may also promote fat burning, and in fact it's not the only compound in hemp likely to have this effect. Many terpenes are also pro-lipogenesis in nature...many of them activate a muscle-building enzyme called AMPK.
When AMPK is activated, the body essentially reconsiders its energy flux status and shifts its metabolism away from carb-burning and towards fat burning. Fat, of course, is a much stabler fuel source than carbs...especially for all the endurance athletes out there.
Speaking of endurance athletes, we've been hearing some initial reports of ultra-endurance athletes taking CBD before long workouts with great results. In light of CBD’s effects on inflammation and stress hormones, we're not really surprised. Scientific studies are yet to confirm what the anecdotal evidence says...but we’re hopeful that scientific validation is coming soon.
CBD a secret adaptogen?
Okay, back to CBDs anti-stress qualities for a second. Did you know that stress can actually be a good thing? It's true — but only for people whose bodies have a certain level of resilience and vitality; those who have the internal reserves to rise up in the face of stress and overcome it.
In athletic terms this ability is called supercompensation, In layman's terms think that somewhat cliche term: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
One of the most tangible ways in which exercise induces stress? Through producing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down fat and muscle tissues — especially when energy demands are high and energy reserves are low.
Like inflammation, cortisol has its place. But chronic cortisol overproduction can see a person become stuck in fight or flight mode...unable to sleep, unable to digest food properly, and unable to fully relax.This is where CBDs’ anti-stress power comes in. For many athletes, CBD is great for sleep...and just for this relaxing in general. And if an athlete can get better rest, their body will have all the more time to overcompensate prior to the next training session, effectively allowing that athlete to get more bang for their buck and more adaptation out of every workout.