Benefits and Disadvantages of CBD in Fitness and Training

When it comes to improving fitness and accelerating progress, the fitness industry is flooded with products promising to help you run faster, lift heavier, and recover more quickly. In reality, most of these promises are touched by marketing strategies, and it becomes challenging to determine what is real or an upsell.

In recent years, one compound that has gained a lot of attention in the medical field is CBD or cannabidiol. CBD is a compound without the psychoactive effect found in the cannabis plant. Most CBD products promise a decrease in inflammation and enhancement in physical performance, making it an appealing choice for many athletes and gym goers.

This article will explore the scientific benefits of CBD for training performance and other aspects of fitness and the things that you should consider to make an informed decision about your health and wellness.

CBD is one of the compounds found in cannabis.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana use, CBD does not produce any mind-altering effects.

Instead, CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that plays a crucial role in regulating everything from mood and appetite to pain and inflammation.

While CBD is often associated with the use of weed, most of the CBD products available on the market today come from hemp. This is because hemp contains higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC compared to marijuana, making it easier to extract CBD without the risk of psychoactive effects.

CBD products may come in different forms such as:

  • Oils
  • Gummies
  • Creams
  • Capsules

1. Reduces Inflammation and Pain

CBD can decrease inflammation, which may help reduce swelling and pain due to muscle and joint injuries. In a 2018 study, researchers found that CBD may help reduce chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and muscle and joint pain in conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Many athletes have reported using CBD topicals, such as creams or balms, to help soothe muscle soreness and speed up recovery after intense workouts. Some have even claimed that CBD helps them push through pain and discomfort during exercise, allowing them to train harder and longer.

To optimize recovery, you should pay attention to your sleep quality. During sleep, our body experiences enhanced muscle repair and muscle growth, which are crucial for improving athletic performance.

Research suggests that CBD has the potential to promote faster recovery by interacting with receptors in the brain that regulate the sleep-wake cycle, causing deeper and more restful sleep. Some studies found that CBD may help improve sleep quality and duration in people with anxiety and sleep disorders and even be effective in managing PTSD symptoms, including nightmares.

By promoting better sleep, CBD helps reduce muscle soreness, improve focus and coordination, and boost muscle growth and strength.

Although CBD has no mind-altering effects, it still can interact with different receptors in the brain, which can enhance our cognitive ability and lift our mood. Some people reported feeling more focused, motivated, and mentally sharp when using CBD, which could translate to better and more consistent workout sessions.

Early research studies suggest that CBD has properties that protect the brain, which can help improve cognitive function in people with social anxiety disorder. This can especially benefit people who struggle to maintain focus and have performance anxiety.

A positive mindset can lead to better adherence to training and more consistent progress in the long run.

CBD has shown promise in treating people with mobility issues such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, individuals struggling with stiffness or mobility during their workouts might benefit from integrating CBD into their pre and post-workout routine.

1. Limited Research

While the potential benefits of CBD for fitness are promising, it's important to keep in mind that research on this topic is still in its early stages. Most of the studies conducted so far have been small-scale, short-term, or animal-based, which means that we don't yet have a clear picture of the long-term effects of CBD use in humans.

Some experts have raised concerns about the potential for CBD to interact with other medications or supplements, particularly those that are metabolized by the same liver enzymes.

Most common side effects of CBD use:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Drastic changes in appetite and weight
  • Fatigue

Although the medical and recreational use of CBD looks promising, there is still a lack of regulation for this compound in the fitness industry. Currently, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA in the same way as prescription drugs or dietary supplements, which carries the risks of inconsistency, contamination, or mislabelling in some products.

According to recent studies, about 70% of CBD products sold online were mislabeled, containing either more or less CBD than advertised on the label. Some products were also found to contain higher levels of THC, which may lead to unwanted psychoactive effects and positive drug tests.

While the use of CBD products is not banned by most major sports organizations, some products may contain trace amounts of THC that could trigger a positive drug test. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances, but THC remains banned in competition.

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Athletes who use CBD products should be aware of the potential for cross-contamination and should look for products that have been certified as THC-free by a reliable third-party testing organization.

Even with these precautions, there is always a risk of exposure to THC or other banned substances. This is why it’s crucial for athletes to weigh the benefits of CBD against the potential consequences of a positive drug test and be meticulous when choosing CBD products to use.

If you're interested in trying CBD to support your fitness goals, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure that you're using it safely and effectively.

Here are some tips for incorporating CBD into your fitness routine:

When shopping for CBD products, look for brands that use organic, non-GMO ingredients and CO2 extraction methods to ensure purity and potency. Avoid products that make unrealistic or exaggerated claims, and always look for third-party lab tests to verify the CBD content and rule out contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides.

It's best to begin with a low dose and gradually increase until you achieve the desired effects. A typical starting dose is 10-20 mg of CBD per day, depending on your body weight, tolerance, and individual needs.

Try taking CBD consistently for at least a week before assessing its effects and adjusting your dose accordingly. Keep in mind that individual responses to compounds can vary, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Here’s a plan for women you should try:

And for men:

The timing of CBD use varies depending on your specific fitness goals.

For example, if you're using CBD to reduce pain and inflammation after workouts, you should take it within an hour after exercising. If you're using CBD to improve sleep quality and recovery, taking it in the evening before bed may be more effective.

As with any new supplement or treatment, it's important to talk to your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before starting to use CBD for fitness. They can help you assess any potential risks or interactions with existing medications and provide personalized guidance based on your individual health needs and goals.

While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, it's always better to be on the side of caution and get professional advice before making any significant changes to your health or fitness routine.

The use of CBD in fitness shows promise but should be treated with caution due to the lack of long-term study about sustained and consistent use of CBD products. It is vital to consult with a healthcare professional before starting use, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking other medication

Even if CBD has positive effects on fitness and physical performance, it is still best to master your own foundations when it comes to training, such as your nutrition and exercise routines. Supplements and performance-enhancing products are just adjuncts and should not dictate your results; they are completely optional.

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