The weight training industry is no stranger to trends and fads. A few years ago, bulletproof coffee was the go-to morning fix for weight lifters. We’ve also seen trends like HIIT combined with weight training to create the Crossfit hybrid.
When it comes to supplements the weight training industry is not immune, either. Many people have jumped on the whey protein bandwagon, using their protein shakers post-workout to help keep muscle fatigue at bay. And to grow muscle.
If you’ve been paying attention for the past couple of months, you may have heard early adopters singing the praises of another food supplement. CBD oil is a relative newcomer to the market, but it’s making quite the splash. One practical use of CBD oil is that it can be used to prevent muscle soreness after weightlifting.
CBD oil is the lesser-known compound found in cannabis plants. The more well-known compound is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the compound responsible for getting users “high”.
Research into the benefits of CBD oil are still ongoing, which might make some people wary. But early signs indicate that there are plenty of benefits and few side effects. At the moment, it’s possible to purchase it in the UK without a prescription.
The next time you’re in a health food store picking up your supply of whey protein and protein bars, you’re sure to see CBD oil on the shelves. From lattes to bath bombs, the industry is going mad for CBD products.
But can it really help your weight lifting?
What is CBD oil?
Before we launch into an analysis of the benefits of CBD oil for weight lifting, it’s important to understand what it is.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is one of many phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Another more famous phytocannabinoid is THC, which is the compound responsible for inducing the “high” when using cannabis products.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that it cannot get you high. Good news for those who enjoy a clear head while they are weight lifting! And because it isn’t psychoactive, it’s also completely legal in the UK. Provided you purchase your CBD oil from a reputable source, you should have no trouble when using it.
Research is ongoing into the full extent of the benefits of CBD oil. It is thought to interact with the endocannabinoid system which plays a part in maintaining many functions in your body across the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The system was only discovered in 1992 and research is still ongoing into the full extent of its impact on biological processes. It is thought to maintain homeostasis in everything from appetite and sleep patterns to pain sensation and memory.
Another key thing to note is that CBD oil can also be used to control and reduce inflammation. Inflammation is usually the culprit when it comes to sore muscles. Not only can CBD oil help to reduce inflammation, but it can also manage your pain response. So you won’t be forced to skip workouts due to sore muscles.
Is there any research to support this?
There is anecdotal evidence that it can help people fighting a number of conditions. In 1990 there were 200 articles on Cannabis research on Pubmed. There are now over 20,000 such articles.
Retired NFL players have also cited CBD oil as a key part of their pain management protocol. Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis cited CBD oil as the only treatment that has helped with his joint pain and migraines. He believes in CBD oil so much that he launched his own line of CBD infused sports performance drinks.
How can I take CBD oil?
CBD oil is available in many different forms but the most effective are either the oils or water soluble products that are taken orally. You can also apply it to your skin as a balm, or add it to your food.
According to the study, CBD is “anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective.” These are all positive signs for those looking for a post-workout pick-me-up.
When it comes to dosage, there is no standard rule. It will affect everyone in different ways, so it’s down to the user to determine how much they need to use. The chances of suffering an “overdose” are almost non-existent, as CBD oil has been found to be safe up to doses of 1,500mg, which is far higher than you would ever need. The starting dose is more likely to be around 15-20mg.
Is it safe?
With all supplements, you want to make sure you are taking the right amount for your body and tolerance level. Someone unfamiliar with creatine could suffer adverse side effects if they were to start taking too much, too fast.
But unlike other supplements, CBD has very few side effects. And any adverse side effects will be short lived. This means that you can simply stop taking it or reduce your dosage if you experience anything unpleasant.
Side effects can include symptoms such as lightheadedness and drowsiness. To avoid any side effects, the best approach is to build up your use of CBD oil. By gradually increasing your dosage every day, you will be able to determine when you have had enough and avoid any adverse side effects.
If you do experience any unwelcome side effects, simply stop taking the supplement and you will soon feel fine again.
Is it legal?
All this talk of compounds derived from cannabis plants tends to make people nervous. The good news is that CBD oil is completely legal. But not all CBD oil is created equal.
In order to stay on the right side of the law, you need to make sure you source it from a reputable supplier. For CBD oil to be legal in the UK, it cannot contain any THC. A good supplier will offer a composition analysis which outlines the purity of the product.
While CBD oil and CBD products are legal in the UK, be careful if you are planning to travel with it. The same rules for travelling with liquids will apply if you are travelling by plane. And remember that not all countries allow people to carry and use CBD oil.
Russia is one country to outlaw the use of CBD oil. In the United States, rules vary by state, so it’s best to check before you travel.
How can I use CBD oil to help my weight lifting routine?
If you’re convinced that CBD oil could be the right choice, you might be wondering how to include it in your weight lifting routine.
You could use CBD in your pre and post-workout routine in a number of different ways.
Add it to your morning smoothie
If you like to get the day started with a delicious and nutritious smoothie, you could consider adding a few drops of CBD oil to your glass. This will set you up for the day with a clear mindset and a positive outlook.
Try a few drops before a workout
Before you head to the gym, you might reach for a protein-rich snack such as yoghurt or a banana. Try adding a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue before you head to the gym. This will help to prepare your body for the workout ahead.
Apply a balm after your workout
When you are done in the gym and you’ve hit the showers, try running a small amount of CBD balm onto the muscles and joints that you worked out that day. Not only will the balm leave your skin looking and feeling great, but it will also help to deliver the anti-inflammatory properties to where it is needed the most.
This kind of topical application can be combined with foam rolling or myofascial release to help release any tension and prevent your muscles from seizing up the next day.
Try it before bed
If you workout in the evening, you might find it more difficult to switch off and fall asleep at night. This is where a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue can come in handy. Create a calming nighttime routine and use CBD at the heart of it. Switch off all screens for about an hour before bed and enjoy a cup of herbal tea and a few drops of CBD oil.
When you are working out on a regular basis, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough high quality sleep. If you find you’re not achieving the results you would like, despite eating well and working out, your sleep patterns could be to blame.