Cannabis has long been used by humans, for thousands of years in fact, for medicinal purposes. Ongoing research is still uncovering how useful CBD oil may be for a variety of health benefits. A current trend is to use CBD to aid recovery, boost energy, and enhance athletic performance. But does it really work? The evidence is mixed but mostly positive, although the hype may be exaggerated.
Reducing Pain and Inflammation
One important way in which CBD oil may help athletes is by possibly reducing pain and minimizing inflammation post-workout. Anyone who works out and exercises regularly knows that inflammation can result from a hard session. You also know that pain is not unusual after particularly hard exercise.
Any reduction in inflammation can reduce the pain associated with normal muscle pain after a tough workout as well as injuries. There is plenty of research that states CBD may help reduce pain.
Aiding Muscle Recovery
It is the ability to reduce inflammation that may make CBD oil a useful recovery supplement. Rigorous workouts and competitions during which you go all out cause tiny tears in muscle tissue, which in turn trigger inflammation. The body then goes to work repairing the damaged tissue, building it up to be stronger muscle tissue.
This is normal and leads to gains, but there are definitely times when you push it too far. The inflammation and muscle damage in these instances is no longer useful and can even reduce fitness gains and cause injuries. For recovery from difficult workouts, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil may be helpful in healing the damage.
We can all work out better and perform better when we sleep well, right? So if CBD oil can improve your sleep, it can indirectly improve your athletic performance. A review of research involving all types of cannabinoids and sleep found that there is evidence that CBD may directly affect sleep by interacting with related receptors in the brain. More research is needed, but there may be potential for CBD to help people who struggle with sleep disorders and insomnia get more and better quality sleep.
Relieving Stress and Anxiety
Another indirect way that CBD oil may boost your athletic performance and confer some fitness benefits is by possibly aiding in managing anxiety and stress. Most athletes know the nervousness that comes ahead of competitions and the stress that can be caused by putting a lot of pressure on working out and succeeding.
These bad feelings may be alleviated by CBD oil. One study found that in people with anxiety disorders, treatment with CBD oil might have reduced nervousness, discomfort, and anxiety, and possibly improved cognitive function ahead of a performance as compared to people who did not receive CBD oil.
This is where the fitness benefits of CBD oil become a little contentious. Some people will claim that CBD gives them more energy and increases their athletic performance abilities. Research to back this up is pretty limited.
However, CBD may reduce pain and inflammation, which in turn can lead to a speedier recovery from injuries and workout-related muscle damage. This improved recovery can help you work out more and longer, so in that way, you could say that CBD oil may support fitness gains. And, the possible effects on sleep and stress may also help you perform better, especially on competition days.
Pros and Cons of Trying CBD Oil
CBD oil may be useful for athletes and people who work out regularly. However, the proof isn’t perfect and the results may be different for each person. Before you try CBD oils in an attempt to perform better, and certainly before you suggest it to clients, know what the risks are, the cons, and how they may or may not outweigh the pros.
CBD Oil Side Effects and Interactions
As with any supplement or medicinal product, you need to weigh the benefits of CBD oil against its drawbacks. That includes considering side effects. Some people may experience no side effects, while others get them to some degree or severely. Potential side effects reported with CBD include fatigue, appetite changes, and diarrhea.
There can also be interactions between CBD and medications. This is one reason it is so important to talk to your doctor before trying any new supplement. An interaction may cause your medicine to be less effective or may even trigger a harmful reaction.
CBD Products Vary
A con to using CBD oil is that there is no regulation in place to ensure you get what you are paying for. Labels on products may claim pure CBD, but what you get may be much less. One recent study found that just 31 percent of CBD products sold online contained the levels the amounts claimed. Some products may even contain significant amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Be careful of the source of any CBD oil you try.