What is cannabidiol (CBD)? How can it be used to enhance athletic performance? CBD may seem an unconventional choice to boost performance, especially since it comes from cannabis – the same plant as marijuana. Wait. Marijuana?
Before jumping to conclusions and simply shunning CBD, you may want to know more about this substance that has made some headway in the alternative medicine world. The best way to understand the compound is to differentiate it from marijuana.
Marijuana, or weed, is cannabis grown for high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is its psychoactive component. Without THC, the plant’s bioactive effects change to CBD – a substance that is safer and doesn’t possess weed’s psychoactive capabilities.
CBD is derived from cannabis plants cultivated to have low THC levels (less than 1%). CBD is also not illegal. Now that you know that CBD is safe to use, you’re probably raring to explore its benefits and how it can improve athletic performance. Well, before that, here’s a bit of its history and how the ancients used it.
CBD: A History
In Persia, about 2,700 years ago, the spiritual leader Zoroaster wrote sacred texts on 10,000 plants, including cannabis. He included lengthy details of hemp in his writings, including where CBD can be derived from,. The Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, also suggested cannabis extracts as treatment.
According to the Ethiopian Coptic Church, cannabis ranked very high in Judaic and early Christian rituals, particularly used in sacraments to remember occasions like God’s communication with Moses at Mt. Sinai and Christ’s transfiguration.
Sir Russell Reynolds, Queen Victoria’s physician, prescribed medical cannabis for menstrual cramps, for which the plant’s active components had proved effective. Sir William Osler, another renowned physician at the time, used CBD for migraines to positive results. Dr. Jean-Jacques Moreau de Tours, the Father of French Psycho-Pharmacology, used cannabis to treat depression.
Not only is hemp used for medical purposes, but the plant’s fibers can be used to make rope, fabric, and even paper. Copies of the Declaration of Independence were written on such paper. Hemp nowadays is used for medicine, biofuel, and construction materials.
The Benefits of CBD
- Cortisol Reduction
The popular form of CBD extracts, CBD oil, can effectively reduce stress. CBD is not like its cousin, marijuana, which can induce mania and anxiety and can release cortisol into the bloodstream. In a study, CBD was determined to interfere in cortisol’s secretion. Moreover, anecdotal evidence has shown that people using weed are known to supplement with CBD to reduce the effects of increased adrenal function and anxiety.
- Weight Management
Unlike THC, which promotes appetite, CBD does the opposite. If you want to lose weight and you find it difficult to decrease your caloric intake, CBD – as an anti-obesity agent – might probably be the answer you’re looking for.
- Restful Sleep
To get those rock-hard abs, you still need a fair amount of sleep. So, how can CBD help? CBD’s role in restful sleep is a bit complicated. In low doses, CBD activates the same adenosine receptors as caffeine, which can prevent sleep. At moderate to high doses, however, CBD has the potential to promote a good night’s sleep.
Inflammation can be linked to a shorter lifespan, as inflammation is responsible for a considerable number of life-threatening chronic diseases. However, for athletes, it’s more important for them to keep their bodies at optimal efficiency. Thus, their goal to reduce inflammation is not just to prolong life, although it can be a wonderful byproduct.
CBD can help relieve inflammation that occurs in joints as a result of constant use (injuries from wear and tear) and heavy weights. Inflammation leads to pain, which prevents you from training optimally for longer periods.
- Insulin Sensitivity Promotion
Even with an excellent workout program and an appropriate diet, your body can be stubborn and not get rid of excess fat. You may have low insulin sensitivity. Insulin should be low most of the time, and insulin works more the less it is used, and with a slight response. This means that eating one donut should not get the same response as eating five.
High sensitivity to insulin promotes storage of excess glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Low insulin sensitivity, on the other hand, leads to the storage of glucose as fat, creating difficulties in shifting glucose into muscle.
Mainly due to its CBD component, cannabis has been linked to lower body mass, and has been determined to lower insulin levels and reduce waist size. This may be the reason why those taking weed can eat a lot and not get fat.
Choosing from CBD Oils
When buying CBD in oil form, there are some factors to consider so you don’t chance upon low quality products.
- Extraction Process. Get oil that uses the CO2 extraction method, as the plant’s trichomes are not damaged during such process. The oil’s purity is preserved through the use of high pressure, low temperature, and carbon dioxide.
- Oil Sources. The environment where the source plant was grown should be maintained properly because of the plant’s ability to absorb soil’s contaminants. There’s also possible contamination if there are heavy metals in the soil. Taking CBD that’s loaded with mercury or lead can cause death.
- Bioavailability. This pertains to the amount that enters the bloodstream. People normally would want to get a product that can provide them with the needed dose to get rid of stress or pain. The bioavailability of CBD increases when it’s smoked, vaped, or done through rectal absorption via suppository.
A Note on Absorption
If absorbing CBD is an issue, and you don’t want to smoke, vape, or get it rectally, there are ways to enhance absorption through the help of black pepper and turmeric. The problem with this approach though, is that the oil won’t taste as pleasant.
The Bottom Line
Not only does CBD help you attain an ideal physique, but it can also improve health and overall wellbeing. CBD oil is also legal to buy and use, as its THC levels are within the approved range. You may not get the high experienced by those on weed, but your body’s functions, as well as athletic performance, would indeed improve considerably.
So, the only thing you need to do now is choose your product wisely. Get high quality CBD extracts in the form that you prefer.
“Alex Eriksson is the founder of AnabolicHealth.com, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out his guide on Manly Foods That Boost Testosterone.”