While CBD is considered as the new “it” aid for a myriad of conditions and illnesses, it can also be used as a fitness and wellness supplement. This is mainly because of how CBD affects the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is spread throughout the entire body. Being part of the nervous system, it plays a modulatory role in the function of the brain, endocrine, and immune tissues. The functions that include regulating hormone secretion, appetite, pain management, and recovery all play a part in feeling balanced and present.
Of course, no matter how you train or what your fitness goals are, being in tune with your mind and body is a MAJOR key to maximizing your workouts. Let’s go into some details on how CBD can improve a person’s fitness regimen.
Most of us have heard about the “runner’s high”. If you are not familiar with the term, it’s a rewarding and empowering sensation some people experience during longer workouts (it can be achieved in many forms of exercise, not just running).
From my experience, it feels like running turns into floating. Energy and stamina levels feel boundless and it feels like you can go forever! I love how the runner’s high feels because it pushes a person to work harder in their workout, and it feels good doing it! It’s an incredible positive feedback loop to ride while exercising and is what drives people to sign up for marathon after marathon.
Endorphins vs Endocannabinoids:
I used to believe that the runner’s high is caused by the endorphins that are secreted by the increased activity. However, recent research indicates that this is not the case. Endorphins are too large to pass the blood-brain barrier right away. This means it is very likely they do not have direct effects on the brain—rather, they work in the muscles to suppress pain. Endorphins help bring one to the peak, but they do not cause the “high” sensation.
Research from the University of Heidelberg suggests that endocannabinoids, which are also secreted during exercise, play a more substantial role in creating this high sensation compared to endorphins. This is due to their ability to cross the blood brain barrier. The evolutionary theory explains that our bodies release endocannabinoids to desensitize physical activity—which, back in the stone age, was essential for finding food and fleeing predators (survival).
So… if endocannabinoids are the primary reason for experiencing this sensation, that means CBD will help a person experience this sensation more often in their workouts.
If you are looking to maximize your fitness, being mindful of what you put in your body for fuel is essential. We all work with different diet combinations based on what works for us individually. Some of us have allergies or are sensitive to some foods, while other people can eat whatever they want and still feel great or stay lean.
Sometimes we fall into eating habits that our bodies do not necessarily agree with, especially when stressed. One of the most common unwanted eating habits is overeating. The last thing anyone wants to do when they’ve overeaten is to go workout, so this creates a domino effect that can stop anyone’s goals from being achieved.
How does CBD help a person gain control over their diet?
Unlike THC, CBD is not an appetite stimulant. In fact, CBD encourages satiety and fullness.
How does this work? Let’s cover a couple things first:
- A part of the brain, called the hypothalamus, controls appetite by regulating the secretion of two different hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
- Ghrelin stimulates the feeling of hunger and appetite. Leptin does the opposite; it creates the sensation of being full.
The neural circuit in the hypothalamus that regulates Ghrelin is stimulated by CB1 receptors (a type of cannabinoid receptor in the brain). THC stimulates CB1 receptors, which increases Ghrelin, and that is why we get the “munchies”. CBD does the opposite; CBD inhibits CB1 receptors which curves your appetite and vanishes the cravings. So if you are looking for help in reducing how much you eat in a day, CBD will help regulate those appetite hormones. (However, if you are looking to bulk, I’d recommend a high THC strain over CBD if THC is legal where you are. Just make sure you’re not downing cookies and chips by the boatload because that will obviously not improve your health!)
Another way CBD can improve your diet is by turning what you eat into energy. There are two different types of fat that food is turned into, white fat and brown fat. White fat is stored while brown fat is burned. CBD aids the fat browning process, helping you stay lean and fit.
Pain management and recovery:
As many of us are beginning to understand, CBD contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This is extremely useful for post-workout recovery as it speeds up the recovery process. Anyone who knows anything about fitness and athletics knows the training itself is only a small part of the equation when it comes to improving your performance. Recovery is a much bigger piece and where all the progress really happens. Additionally, this reduces any pain that comes with the muscle inflammation which naturally makes for a better and more efficient training program.
CBD vs Ibuprofen:
Many athletes and gym-goers use Ibuprofen/NSAIDs as their go-to fix to refrain the uncomfortable inflammation that can come after an intense workout. However, many people don’t realize that Ibuprofen can become really dangerous when taken regularly. It puts significant stress on the liver, majorly messes with gut health (the foundation of health). It can even be deadly.
Instead of NSAIDS, other fitness fanatics are shifting to CBD for their aches and pains. Its anti-inflammatory properties are just as powerful, if not more, than ibuprofen. While this can be helpful for health problems like arthritis, it is also excellent for workout recovery.
Something to remember is we are born with endocannabinoid systems, not ibuprofen systems. CBD and other cannabinoids work with the body, which comes with little to no unwanted side effects to worry about.
Other Potential Benefits:
On top of these great benefits, CBD also reduces muscle spasms and can increase concentration ability for your workout. CBD products aren’t addictive or harmful to the body like many steroids and pharmaceuticals are.
The phytonutrients in CBD give you a safe and strong burst of energy, enticing you to push harder, go faster and feel stronger. At the same time, CBD has analgesic effects that dramatically reduce pain, allowing to push through those muscle aches (just make sure to know your limits and not overdo it). And with no side effects, CBD is safe to use on a daily basis.
As long as you’re taking care of yourself and not pushing beyond your limits at a given time, CBD can be the extra boost that is needed to persevere and hone your fitness.
The last thing to note is all CBD is not created equal. In a world of novelty and booming attention, new products hit the shelves every day. These contain fake cbd, additives, fillers, pesticides and even heavy metals. The last thing anyone looking for health benefits would want.
It’s vitally important you use an oil that hits these marks:
Organic - Non GMO
A True Full or Broad Spectrum oil
Terpene rich if flower
Certificates of Analysis for each batch
Is an activated oil ready to be utilized by your body
Contains no additives, fillers, coloring or flavoring agents
Is pure, natural and whole flower.
Really good and thorough coverage of the benefits of the use of CBD balms and I use the exalted naturals balm for various reasons practically daily