Being an athlete, your body is probably under a lot of stress. However, post-workout recovery is not any less important than proper training. Regardless of whether you go to the gym regularly or ride a bike on the weekends, recovery is essential to avoid physical trauma and get maximum performance.
As a result, you might be searching for solutions that can promote recovery. Current methods of pain management are effective but may cause some side effects. A trendy and natural alternative for athletes is CBD. In this article, we will highlight the benefits of using CBD as a recovery tool for sports.
What are CBD powers?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most well-studied non-psychoactive compound found in Cannabis Sativa plants. It is scientifically proven that CBD has lots of benefits and medicinal properties. The good news is that CBD doesn’t cause a “high” effect, such as another cannabis component – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD can stimulate the endocannabinoid receptors found on the surface of the body cells. The receptors are the main part of the endocannabinoid system, a sensor network that helps to keep the homeostasis of all physiological functions.The CBD products may be helpful for a range of health conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, seizures, inflammation, skin disorders, and insomnia.
CBD has no intoxicating effect even when exceeding the recommended dosage. However, high doses of CBD can potentially cause side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, or diarrhoea.
How may CBD be useful for sports recovery?
CBD is not customarily used before exercising to boost the performance. Pre-workout use is still up for debate. However, CBD seems to be a promising supplement for athletes recovering from injury or those that experience inflammation and suffer from workout-induced pain. It is beneficial for enhancing rest and recovery. You may consider it insignificant, but proper healing contributes to more effective training.
CBD products may be useful for a range of workout-induced symptoms and physiological functions:
Inflammation is a crucial survival mechanism of the immune system. It is a necessary process, as it promotes the body to produce inflammatory cells to heal an injury or fight off diseases. Blood vessels in the area of action expand to hold the immune system traffic and bring more fluid to the site of the damage. That is how inflammation occurs. Even though this process is accompanied by pain, it’s also a necessary body function. However, the inflammation may last longer than needed for physiological functions and cause too much discomfort. Excessive chronic inflammation needs to be treated with extra care because it causes significant damage to the organs and contributes to degenerative diseases.
A 2015 study published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry showed the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, which were beneficial after an intense workout.
There is also a suggestion that the same anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be useful in reducing the severity of traumatic brain injuries, common in high-risk sports. Consuming CBD may help reduce the severity of the injury. A 2018 study supported this idea. Its results suggested that the potential beneficial effects of cannabis may be useful in pain management protocol, including reduction of concussion-related symptoms. However, this theory needs further investigation and research.
Usually, pain is an accompanying symptom of inflammation. Athletes feel the pain when their muscles are fatigued due to microscopic tears and inflammation of the tissues. This is important for muscle growth as it helps the body to gain strength. Besides, if muscles feel sore, it may indicate that the body needs to restrict muscle contraction to prevent the damage. It is a healthy response of the body but can be detrimental to workout performance.
When in pain, athletes have the option of taking painkiller drugs. The medications can mask the pain completely, but give a false sense of recovery when you are injured. In most cases, the pain helps to not overstrain yourself.
CBD oil or CBD topical may become an alternative for gradual pain relief. CBD may help reduce the pain and inflammation to prepare the body for another workout. Moderating the signals sent through the body, CBD can regulate the reactions for muscle contraction, tightness, and cramps with no immediate effect. It helps not to overexert yourself.
Good night sleep is crucial for sports recovery and improving performance, especially if you would like to change body composition, increase muscle mass, or prepare yourself for a training session the next day. Sleep enhances the recovery of damaged muscle fibres through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. A series of studies in 2019 demonstrated that CBD could help lower anxiety and improve sleep quality.
CBD products may boost the immune system and help you stay healthy while you’re training, especially during the winter months, when the chances of getting ill are higher. CBD is high in antioxidants, which helps to lower the risk of infection and benefit heart health. Studies have found that CBD might act as a potent immunosuppressive agent and mediate beneficial effects in immune-mediated diseases. Studies have also provided a substantial amount of evidence for the immunomodulatory effects of cannabis in humans and animals.
Appetite and Weight Control
CBD works great for curbing the appetite and helping you take control of your weight. Choosing the best foods is crucial when increasing your longevity and performance. If you are struggling to stick to the specific diet or want to lose weight, CBD products may help with this intention.
A 2018 study suggested that stimulation of CB2 by cannabinoids might limit inflammation and promote anti-obesity effects by lowering food intake and weight gain. An older animal study from 2012 found that CBD could reduce appetite in rats and change their feeding patterns. However, more human studies are needed.
A 2016 study showed that CBD played multiple roles in how the body interacted with fat.
Not only did CBD could convert white fat cells into brown fat cells, but it also made the body break down fats more efficiently.
CBD has been shown to cause anti-anxiety effects that improve the body’s reaction to stress. Sometimes the body can perceive strong muscle exertion during training, which indicates stress. This may activate cortisol, the stress hormone, which signals the body to lower protein synthesis. CBD may increase the ability of the hypothalamus to sense cortisol and to not allow stress to last long-term.
Note, that even though starting at the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances, professional athletes should consult specialists before taking CBD products.