Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the hottest ingredients on the market today. You may have seen CBD stores popping up all over and CBD products being sold in grocery stores. The fans of CBD claim that it does everything from reduce pain, improve sleep and help manage anxiety. If you are an athlete, some of these claims may be quite appealing. Do CBD workout supplements work in the way they claim?
Benefits of CBD for Athletes
CBD is one of over 100 compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the most studied, but all of the cannabinoids may have potential health benefits. Most CBD products are not a significant source of THC, the mind-altering compound found in the cannabis plant. Most products contain less than 0.3% THC.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed the THC-free cannabis derivatives from the controlled substances list. When this happened, there was a flood of CBD-containing products on the market. But, this doesn’t mean they are safe for everyone or the right treatment for your anxiety or sleep issues. Everyone’s body is unique and the FDA believes there are many unanswered questions about the safety and quality of CBD products.
The potential benefit of cannabinoids, including CBD, is that they can directly interact with the endocannabinoid system. This may help the body regulate hormones, neurotransmitters and inflammation.
For athletes, the potential benefit of CBD workout supplements lies in their ability to reduce inflammation, promote better sleep and decrease exercise-induced stress.
CBD may be beneficial for managing joint pain or other types of discomfort related to exercise. It may also reduce discomfort and inflammation by targeting glycine receptors, which influence the perception of pain. The ability to decrease pain and discomfort caused by exercise may speed up recovery.
The body also does most of its recovery while asleep. CBD may be beneficial for promoting a good night’s sleep, which may help speed up exercise recovery so that you can get back to the gym faster.
CBD may also help mitigate the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone. Strenuous exercise increases cortisol, which causes you to hold on to excess body fat and prevents new muscle growth. CBD helps regulate the levels of this hormone, so you see an increase in muscle mass and faster fat loss.
However, one thing to mention is that there is no evidence that CBD enhances athletic performance.
Currently, CBD is legal for athletes. The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the “prohibited” substances list, although marijuana remains forbidden. Even though CBD may be allowed for professional athletes, it is best to use caution. The International Olympic Committee stated that the research is currently inconsistent, and the risks of using CBD workout supplements are unknown.
CBD and Whey Protein
Due to the surge of CBD products flooding the market, the FDA has started cracking down on companies that make claims about CBD or add it to food. This means that there is no such thing as a federally legal CBD protein powder, although many brands are selling these types of products online.
This means if you want the benefit of a CBD protein shake, you will have to add the CBD to your shake separately. CBD comes in oils or drops that can be easily added to make your own version of a CBD protein powder.
If you do decide to make your own CBD protein shake , the combination of CBD and whey protein would, in theory, help reduce inflammation and manage cortisol to promote the growth of lean muscle tissue. However, there are currently no studies yet that have evaluated this combination for its health benefits.
If you want to make a CBD protein shake as part of your daily routine, start slowly. Don’t mix it with other CBD containing products. Look for a quality brand of CBD that has invested in third-party testing, particularly for THC content and heavy metals. It is always best practice to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements, particularly if you are already taking medication.
The ideal dosage for CBD depends on the product and brand, so it is best to follow the instructions on the label. Use CBD with caution, as it can make you sleepy and should not be mixed with other substances.
CBD holds a lot of promise for its potential health benefits, but since it only became legal to obtain in 2018, the research has not caught up to the excitement just yet. Continue to seek scientifically-grounded information in the months to come and you can find the best way to integrate CBD into your life.