CBD and Fitness: Combining the Two for the Ultimate Workout
For most people, the use of CBD is usually limited to treating specific medical conditions. Like many other forms of medicine, most people consider CBD as only something you take when you absolutely need it.
However, it turns out that CBD has a number of beneficial qualities outside of treating specific conditions, most notably improving your fitness level. Whether you are looking to perfect your physique in the gym, or just simply looking to improve your fitness in general, CBD can have a massive effect on your body’s fitness progress.
How Can CBD Help My Fitness?
Due to the medicinal reputation of CBD, it is easy to assume that CBD has no actual applications in the gym. For those looking to improve their workouts, they are more likely to gravitate towards protein powders and high-calorie foods rather than a medicine, right?
Well, CBD isn’t like other forms of medicine – its uses and effects aren’t just limited to one specific area of the body. When you take CBD, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and causes a myriad of effects based on its triggering of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors help govern a remarkably large number of different functions, including your cellular regeneration and a whole host of neurochemical releases in the brain.
All of these effects add up to produce medicinal effects in the body, but they can also work towards helping you have the ultimate workout. Let’s take a look at a few ways CBD helps improve your fitness sessions.
Fighting the True Enemy: Recovery Time
For those who have dabbled slightly in working out, know just how important recovery time is, especially if you are looking to build muscle. For those who don’t understand this concept, recovery time is the amount of time you need in between sets of your workout to allow for your muscle fibers to relax and restore themselves to their original resting position. The idea behind it is that it not only helps avoid unnecessary injuries caused by overtaxing your muscles, but it also encourages a better development of new muscle tissue. By allowing your muscles to return to their resting position, they can be challenged all over again when you resume working them out. However, if you are a frequent gym goer, you likely loathe this period of waiting.
Instead of working on your glutes, you are forced to stand there, awkwardly scrolling through your phone and waiting for your muscles to calm back down, always ever-watchful for anyone who might try and steal your gym machine. If you have ever been in this position, it is likely you will give anything just to speed it up.
Well, it turns out that CBD is actually excellent at helping reduce recovery time, both in its ability to help combat pain and due to its effects on your muscle cells. CBD is well known as an effective pain reliever, with a collection of studies out there (such as this study by Dr. Ethan Russo) demonstrating that CBD is able to help diminish both physical and neurological pain.
This is perfect for helping reduce your recovery time, as by diminishing the pain caused by overtaxing your muscles, you are able to work out just that little bit harder and longer. A good deal of the pain caused by overworking your muscles is merely your body warning you that you might be approaching a point of no return, so by blocking this immediate pain, you can keep working out for longer. What makes this even better is that CBD’s pain relief isn’t absolute – instead of completely shutting off your pain receptors, it instead diminishes them. Making it easy to ignore small pains, but allowing you to still be aware of the major pains that could cause injury.
For those that have already managed to hurt themselves with too much working out, there is a solution as well – CBD not only helps recovery time, but it also helps with muscle fatigue after your fitness regime.
How does CBD help Muscle Fatigue?
Everyone experiences it at some point – you have hit the gym just a little bit too much, lifting weights, or in general, pushing yourself too far. Now you are left with intense soreness and the frustrating feeling of not being able to lift your arms over your head.
Besides the regularly recommended routine of resting and taking warm baths, there is sadly nothing you can do about making the process speed up. But in actual fact, you could be using CBD to help reduce the amount of time you spend away from the gym. The reason for this is twofold – not only does CBD work to help reduce the pain that is typically felt, but it also helps your body rebuild muscle cells and put itself back together.
This is because CBD is able to help control the inflammation response, which is a typical reaction caused by the body striving to protect itself. And when you injure yourself, or a part of your body is damaged, it strives to inflame the area, which both cushions it from further damage and stops you from using it. By triggering the CB2 receptor in the ECS, CBD can help reduce inflammation by essentially shutting off the parts of the nervous system that cause the inflammation response.
The other reason it helps the body heal itself is through CBD’s interaction with the body’s cellular regeneration. The rate at which cells regenerate is in part governed by the ECS, as well as by the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that by stimulating these receptors, your body is encouraged to produce new and healthy muscle cells to replace the ones damaged by working out too much.
By replacing the damaged muscle cells with healthy ones, your body can heal an injury a lot faster, making the time you have to spend away from the gym that much shorter. There is one final way in which CBD can help improve your workouts, but instead of it concerning your muscles, this one is all about your blood.
How does CBD affect Vascular Health & Blood Pressure?
Though it isn’t given much thought to a lot of gym goers, your heart and your vascular system are vitally important to getting a good workout. Everything in your body needs oxygen to flourish, and without an adequate supply of oxygen, you can’t expect any kind of good returns on your workouts.
CBD is great for your vascular health due to its vascular relaxant properties. A study by Jadoon et al. found that, when dosed with a suitable amount of CBD regularly, the circulatory system’s blood circulation was improved, as well as patients generally experiencing lower blood pressure. This happens because CBD triggers the CB2 receptors and encourages the walls of your arteries and veins to, in a sense, loosen up and relax. When your vascular system is relaxed, it exerts less pressure on your blood supply and thus taxes your heart a lot less. By making the lining of your arteries more elastic, your circulatory system doesn’t need to work as hard to pump blood around the body.
Additionally, another study by Batkai et al. discovered that CBD helped reduce cardiac contractility caused by hypertension. This helps your body normalize its blood pressure and acts as a great weapon against chronically high blood pressure. When you are working out in the gym, your muscles need more oxygen than in day to day life, forcing your heart to work overtime in trying to get the oxygen delivered everywhere it needs. By taking CBD, you not only improve your heart health in general, but you also aid your muscles in receiving enough oxygen to allow them to excel.
This means that you are not only making your ultimate gym workout session that much more efficient, but you are promoting your long-term heart health.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD for Fitness
The idea of combining a medicinal substance with your workouts has often been considered with scorn – likened to taking steroids or other physical enhancers, many people try to steer clear of any kind of external, third-party substance that could alter their body. However, in the case of CBD, you aren’t in any way at risk of damaging yourself or making your workouts worse; the only thing you are doing is improving your workouts.
With regard to side effects, the only real things you have to worry about are the decreased sensation of pain and the impact on your blood circulation if you already have low blood pressure. The first is only a problem if you are both frequently overtaxing yourself and dosing yourself with CBD, which may result in you hurting yourself. As long as you keep an eye on your body’s limits, you won’t have a problem.
The second is only an issue for those with chronically low blood pressure; if you already have exceptionally low blood pressure, you risk damaging yourself by making it even lower through CBD. However, this effect isn’t as noticeable or dangerous when compared to other medicines that affect blood pressure – so unless you have a diagnosed low blood pressure, you should be fine.
Though it might seem strange to combine a cannabinoid with your gym sessions, CBD can seemingly help make your fitness regime more efficient, more pain-free and overall more pleasant.