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If you’ve walked into a health shop, a vape store, or you follow too many Instagram influencers, then chances are you’ve heard about the wonderful world of CBD oil.
But did you know that many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting? Let’s take a look at why.
And no, you won’t be stoned at the gym.
CBD Oil comes from marijuana and hemp plants, specifically the sativa version of the plants. These are the same plants that are often used for recreational/medical marijuana and hemp products.
These plants produce compounds called “cannabinoids” – 2 of which are very popular. The first type is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive part of marijuana that gets you “high” or “stoned” depending on your choice of lingo. (1)
However, the second type is called CBD (cannabidiol), and this does not have any “high” effects.
In fact, it’s usually extracted from hemp plants which are bred to have a THC content of less than 0.3%.
In other words, you could get a tiny, tiny bit high from using CBD oils, but nowhere near enough to get your feet off the ground.
CBD oil is good for bodybuilding and muscle growth in the sense that it eases inflammation, helps with muscle recovery, and reduces pain after workouts.
This makes it easier for you to increase your muscle mass without putting your body under too much stress. The naturally relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD help your muscles to recover more quickly, thus promoting steady muscle growth.
When you get home after your session at the gym, CBD products also help with sleep and reduce anxiety levels, so you can rest more easily. (2)
Essentially, CBD products have many of the “chill out” effects associated with recreational and medical marijuana, but without the high. This means that you can use them throughout the day as it suits your plans.
During a weightlifting session, if you push yourself and try to increase your muscle mass, you may notice muscle soreness and pain.
This is caused by microscopic damage to your muscle fibers which needs to be repaired.
Recent studies have found that those who use CBD can reduce inflammation following exercise and even improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. (3) It also helps to reduce pain following exercise and it's anti-catabolic properties ensure you can build muscle more steadily.
Moreover, CBD can help to regulate your catabolic hormones, as incorrect amounts of catabolic hormones can lead to too much cortisol in your body, making it harder for your muscle mass to increase.
Furthermore, research has shown that cannabinoids have antispasmodic properties, meaning that they reduce muscle spasms following a painful new workout at the gym.
Personal Trainer Tara Laferrara also noticed a "big difference in infalmmation and stress" after her workouts when taking this supplement. At first, taking CBD to lower cortisol levels sounded nice only on paper, but I needed more convincing. That's until I saw this video about how CBD oil helps in muscle recovery and pain relief according to expert opinion.
Unless you can't stave off the munchies, CBD can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite in the long term.
It also encourages more "brown fat" within your body. This refers to the type of fat that our bodies use for heat energy. Essentially, it’s fat which is quite healthy and good for us. (4)
Results from new studies also suggest that marijuana users tend to weigh less than non-marijuana users.
When you think about people who partake in the smoking of the cannabis plant (i.e. stoners), you probably picture them eating 50 bags of Doritos a night, but alas they are defying the clichés.
Of course, CBD oil is not the same as marijuana, but CBD is still present in regular weed, so it’s likely to play a part in this weight loss relationship, whether it’s due to behavioral factors or chemical factors.
We found that [marijuana] users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight. Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.
- Omayma Alshaarawy, Fitness Author
There are many benefits of CBD oil aside from bodybuilding, whether you’re trying to regulate your blood sugar levels or improve your sleep and diet. Let’s look at some of the main health benefits in more detail.
1. Pain Relief - Similarly to medical marijuana, it’s thought that CBD supplements can help to reduce chronic pain. Current evidence is quite anecdotal, but it seems promising and researchers are optimistic. Using CBD oil for muscle building can potentially reduce post-workout pain significantly.
2. Anti-Inflammatory - It appears that CBD products can have significant anti-inflammatory effects, helping bodybuilders and fitness fans to exercise their socks off without suffering from too much inflammation afterward.
3. Reduce Depression And Anxiety - Research has shown that CBD can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, hence calming the minds of people with these conditions. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I noticed a huge difference when I started putting CBD oil in my vape. I also weaned myself off of nicotine addiction, which was an added bonus in the health department.
4. Improved Heart Health - Due largely to its relaxing effects which reduce stress and anxiety, CBD could help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore improve heart health. Stress is intrinsically linked to high blood pressure, so bringing down stress has positive physical effects on the body.
5. Neurological Treatment - Along with medical cannabis, CBD is thought to be able to assist people with neurological conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
6. Acne Reduction - Because of CBD’s ability to better regulate the sebum levels that our skin naturally produces, it can help to reduce skin conditions like acne, eczema, and sensitive skin. (5)
7. May Reduce Cancer - Just to be clear, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD definitely reduces cancer. However, there are some studies that are pointing in the right direction. For example, one study indicated that cannabis users had a 45% less chance of developing bladder cancer than non-smokers. It’s not a smoking gun, but it’s optimistic.
Bodybuilders should take between 2.5mg to 10mg of CBD oil per day.
This is in line with general guidelines about how much CBD a person should take on a daily basis if they want to boost their general health, fitness, and wellbeing.
According to most doctors, you cannot really “overdose” on CBD just like you cannot really “overdose” on cannabis.
As such, there is leeway for members of the CBD oil bodybuilding community to come to their own conclusions and preferred doses.
Still, if you’re not sure about how much to take, do speak to your doctor. It's better to have an expert's say than following your own medication.
You can take CBD oil before OR after a workout depending on your desired effects.
Taking CBD oil before a workout will help your body to function efficiently during your workout, reaching new reps and weights more easily.
On the other hand, taking it afterward will help to reduce any pain, muscle soreness, and inflammation you experience after the gym.
Those who use CBD also report they reduced their reliance on painkillers and medications after enduring a painful or demanding gym session.
Since all supplements can have different effects on us, you can try taking this before and after your workout to see the difference on yourself. From there, decide whether what's best for your routine.
There are very few side effects associated with CBD oil, and most users never experience any noticeable problems.
Nonetheless, some users may experience:
Personally, I’ve never known anyone to experience these effects, but it’s best to stay vigilant.
A lot of people don’t know the difference between CBD and THC oils, which is hardly surprising because there’s so much misinformation out there.
To be fair, all these various versions of weed with various effects and legalities do become a hippie cluster bomb of confusion after a while. So, is THC in CBD oil?
First of all, medical marijuana has THC in it, the compound which gets you “high”.
If you smoke medical or recreational marijuana, it will get you “high” and you will be mentally impaired for a while.
So, does THC oil get you high too? Yes, it does. THC oil is banned from being sold in many regions due to its strong psychoactive effects, and even The Netherlands banned THC oil despite their long-time association with the tolerance of regular weed.
On the other hand, CBD oil comes primarily from hemp plants which naturally have a very small (< 0.3%) amount of THC. This means that CBD oil has such as a small amount of THC that it’s considered negligible.
CBD’s effects on your body/mind tend to last for up to 4 hours, but the CBD can stay in your system for several days afterward. Generally speaking, CBD stays in your system for up to a week after taking it. This is in contrast to smoking regular weed, which can be detected in your body and hair up to 90 days after use.
Because of its obvious association with Mary Jane, there is a lot of caution and scaremongering surrounding the legalization of weed.
However, many states and countries around the world have legalized CBD oil for recreational and medical use.
The good news is that CBD oil is legal in all 50 United States, but there is a bunch of asterisks attached to several of the states' rules.
Basically, if it comes from hemp, it’s probably legal, but if it comes from marijuana plants, it probably isn’t. This YouTube video goes into more detail.
Provided that certain criteria are met, CBD supplements are legal in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and all of Europe apart from Slovakia. There’s still a bunch of caveats, though.
It’s not surprising that tons of CBD oils have emerged in the market in the past years. Considering the benefits, many brands take advantage of the demand.
Sadly, many of these CBD oils tend to over promise and leave its consumers discontented when they underdeliver. You’ll see what I mean if you read CBD oils reviews online.
Our team, with our dietitian, dived deep into the details of the commercial CBD oils.
After comparing these products, we unanimously agreed that one of the best in the market today is the Endoca Raw Hemp Oil.
A few of our bodybuilders in the gym have used it to nurse post-workout muscle soreness. Some reported improvement in physical performance, including agility and muscle endurance. While a few also mentioned that it helped them sleep like a log at night.
Endoca contains full spectrum hemp oil and has 5mg of CBD per drop.
Another favorite of ours is Rena’s Organic®. This company produces a wide range of CBD products from ciders all the way to creams.
It used to be that stoners would try to convince non-stoners that weed was a holy cure-all plant that descended from the heavens.
We used to laugh them off and think “silly stoners, what do they know?” while chugging down beers.
But as time goes by, it seems that those stoners were onto something, with medical weed and CBD showing more and more potential as holistic medicines and sources of wellbeing.
It seems that CBD can indeed help, whether you’re trying to sleep better or maximize your weightlifting potential.
Next time you’re feeling sore after the gym, maybe break out some tinctures of CBD oil and see if it helps. You won’t turn into a hippie, honest.
Peace and love my brothers and sisters.