Since cannabis-derived products have become more mainstream in the UK, it’s no secret anymore that a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue will have you reaping a whole host of wellbeing benefits. Cannabidiol can help minimise stress and anxiety levels, lower inflammation, boost focus, regulate the immune system, help you sleep better and improve skin health, all without harmful side effects. But CBD oil is suddenly trending for its fitness benefits too, as evidence from preclinical trials has come to light that the non-intoxicating cannabis compound may improve performance and aid in recovery thanks to several psychological, biochemical and physiological effects.
What’s more, CBD is regarded as a safe, natural supplement and contrary to some beliefs is not limited to use by professional athletes! Here are seven ways the cannabinoid can benefit you and your workout plan, whether you’re just starting a new exercise routine or amidst intense marathon training.
1. Performance Boost
Some users of CBD oil report that the compound gives them increased energy and focus which improves their athletic ability. While the research to back this up is currently limited, preclinical evidence indicates that CBD promotes wakefulness, and by reducing stress and anxiety, can contribute to clearance of the mind for improved concentration. Furthermore, by reducing inflammation and soreness and having a positive impact on sleep, CBD can minimise fitness-related muscle injuries so that you can perform better on workout days.
2. Relief from Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) affects us all, from gym novices to committed bodybuilders. But there’s no need for muscle soreness and inflammation to interfere with your fitness routine. Some studies have shown that the healing properties of CBD oil can contribute to muscle pain relief and reduced inflammation, meaning that you can get back to those reps sooner rather than later – even after leg day!
3. Reduced Inflammation
Minimising inflammation post-workout is important for optimal recovery. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore can help to reduce inflammation, preventing damage to the surrounding healthy muscle.
4. Improved Muscle Recovery
During an intense fitness session, your muscles suffer microscopic tissue tears (this triggers inflammation). The body sets out to repair the damaged tissue, while simultaneously strengthening the muscle. However, there are instances when tissue damage is taken too far; this can reduce the muscle-building process and even lead to injury. Using CBD can reduce the likelihood of this happening thanks to its healing and sleep-promoting effects (which contribute to healthy recovery).
5. Enhanced Mobility
Joint stiffness can be seriously frustrating when you’re keen to take on your next fitness session, and as we age, our bodies slow down and are increasingly likely to experience mobility issues. Whether a chronic issue or intermittent, studies show that CBD can help with mobility problems by reducing swelling and lessening joint inflammation, enabling more free and easy movement.
6. Better Sleep
There’s no denying the importance of a good night’s sleep for general wellness, but restful sleep is also vital for efficient muscle recovery and optimal athletic performance. By interacting with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD can encourage deeper, healthier sleep and help people with sleep disorders such as insomnia.
7. Stress and Anxiety Reduction
CBD is well-regarded as a stress- and anxiety-relief aid. By lessening symptoms of anxiety and stress, CBD can indirectly impact your athletic performance. It is natural to feel slightly nervous before a long run or a competition, for instance, and the overwhelming pressure and anxiety may negatively influence performance. By clearing the mind of anxious thoughts, CBD can assuage nervousness, while cognitive function and focus are dramatically improved.
Is CBD Approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency?
So, it’s clear there are a multitude of benefits of CBD oil for fitness. But is the cannabinoid legal and approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)? Yes, completely! CBD is a legal substance in the UK. Furthermore, it was removed from WADA’s list of prohibited substances in 2018, since the compound is proven safe to use and is non-addictive.
It's important to note that the psychoactive cannabinoid THC remains illegal in the UK and on WADA’s list of prohibited substances. Lawful CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC in the UK.
Will I Experience Any Side Effects?
Many people do not experience side effects when using cannabidiol, which is considered a safe supplement. However, some users report side effects such as drowsiness and diarrhoea, though this is quite rare. It’s important to note that CBD use may interfere with some prescription medications, so it is advisable to talk to your doctor before trying CBD, just as it is with any new supplement.
What To Look For When Choosing a CBD Fitness Product
By now, you should be clear on the benefits of CBD for fitness. But not all CBD-infused products are made equal, sadly! So it’s important to know what to look out for when buying. Legal CBD products in the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC to ensure there are no resulting intoxicating effects. Any reputable brand should be able to show third-party tested lab reports to prove that their products are pure, safe and high-quality, which will provide peace of mind.
When starting CBD for the first time, choose a product that is lower in concentration – you can build up the dosage gradually if necessary, but it is important to measure your tolerance for CBD initially.
Consider whether you are looking for a CBD oil to boost performance or enhance recovery primarily. Some brands such as Mission C have engineered premium-quality oils for both purposes, such as the Pre-Workout + CBD Oil to increase focus and performance, and the Post-Workout + CBD Oil for optimal repair after your fitness session.
Studies are in the early, preclinical stages but research so far indicates that CBD can enhance athletic ability by boosting performance and increasing muscle recovery. CBD is safe, legal, non-addictive and will not cause a high when used. It is therefore approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency, with many athletes now reporting the incredible benefits of CBD oil for their workout routine.