In a time where we’re practicing social distancing, physical activity may not exactly be the first thing on your mind. Your weekly exercise routine just got way more difficult without access to the gym, without your yoga instructor guiding you through your morning flow, or missing that accountability from your teammates in your HIIT group classes.
Food for thought: what if you could still exercise at home and achieve similar results? What if you could boost your mood, physically and mentally? Maybe even feel a better sense of focus for yet another work from home day?
Whether you’re aiming to get your steps in or wanting to join an online guided meditation class in your living room to relax, physical activity and CBD may be the tools you didn’t know you needed to get you through this quarantine.
Wait, CBD and exercise go together? Are there researched proven benefits?
Hang tight - one set at a time.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE
I’m sure you’ve heard exercise and physical activity used interchangeably, but do these words mean the same thing?
Physical activity can be defined as any bodily movement that is produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure. Exercise is defined as a planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness.
You can think of physical activity as the sky, with exercise being the clouds - it’s a part of the sky, but it brings its own fluff.
Studies have shown that exercise can help you both physically and mentally by helping you combat health conditions and diseases, manage your weight, improve your cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, promote better sleep, boost your mood and energy, and improve your quality of life, just to name a few.
For instance, a 2016 study investigated the need, benefits, and importance of daily exercise. Researchers concluded this study suggesting that exercise not only makes you physically fitter, but it also improves your all body health, sense of well-being, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases your brain power.
If there was an all-in-one happy pill prescription available to each and every one of you, would you invest? 98% of you would probably say yes.
What if I told you exercise is medicine, available as a prescription, to each and every one of you, would you invest in this too?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I EXERCISE
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it is recommended that adults (ages 18-65 years old) participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Or, adults can participate in vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 75 minutes per week.
Moderate-intensity exercise can be any activity ranging from brisk walking to mowing the lawn to cleaning the house. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity can be any activity ranging from running to strength training to dancing.
So while you’re on the verge of going stir crazy being stuck inside in your home, think about how you can use those milk gallons as dumbbells or those washcloths as foot pads for mountain climbers.
Anyhoo, not to get us off track too much, a quick change in gears is up next - how the heck does CBD oil come into play?
WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD)
Just one of the 100+ phytocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant is cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD. It’s the non-psychoactive component of the plant, meaning it won’t have you “feeling high” or “stoned”.
There have been consistent findings across clinical studies, exhibiting that cannabidiol is widely considered as safe, generally well-tolerated, lacks toxicity, is non-addictive, and is non intoxicating with no reinforcing properties, according to an opinion article published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
Not only is this magical herb making bold headlines around the world, it’s popping up just about everywhere - on social media, as advertisements on freeway billboards, in coffeehouse conversations, and nonetheless, research labs and publications.
THE ECS AND ITS ROLE
Cannabidiol supports the endocannabinoid system, for short, the ECS. Each and every one of us has a working ECS in our body. The ECS works with other organ systems, working to maintain a balance in homeostasis.
The ECS has two main receptors: cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Cannabidiol binds to these receptors indirectly, thus, you won’t get the “high” that is typically associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which binds directly with the receptors.
Evidence from clinical studies has shown that exercise increases endocannabinoid concentrations within the ECS, with potential therapeutic benefits including reduced anxiety and an elevated sense of well-being. The research behind exercise and endocannabinoids? Well worth running through your mind!
CBD AND EXERCISE: WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Now that we’ve “talked the talk” about CBD and exercise independently, it’s time to “walk the walk” starting with the research that brings them together.
A 2019 study investigated cannabis use in 1,161 active athletes. Athletes were given a survey asking about their cannabis use, including if they used cannabidiol (CBD) as well as how frequently or not frequently they used cannabis. Researchers reported that those athletes that used CBD exhibited the most benefit to improved calmness and well-being, with minimal adverse effects.
This study suggested that CBD may provide athletes the most benefit to well-being and calm.
Recently published as of March of this year, a 2020 research article discussed the research and benefits of endocannabinoids for athletes. Researchers pointed out that preclinical trials have shown CBD as having anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties. Thus, they concluded that CBD can be considered a promising compound to help athletes manage injuries, stress, or anxiety.
This 2020 article suggests CBD as a promising compound for athletes, helping them manage injuries, anxiety, and stress.
Let’s backtrack to 2004 - an endocannabinoid and exercise review was published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers discussed just how endurance exercise activated the endocannabinoid system, suggesting that there may be a new mechanism underlying exercise induced alterations of an athlete’s mental status.
This 2004 research review discussed findings that exhibited that exercise increased concentrations of endocannabinoids, suggesting that cannabinoids produce psychological states that closely parallel the “runner’s high”.
From 2004 to 2020, major strides have been made in the realm of cannabis research and their effects on athletes. Speaking of athletes, as of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took cannabidiol off the prohibited list of banned substances.
Are further clinical trial studies needed to be done? Absolutely. Do note though, major groundwork has been laid to make way for CBD in athletes’ lives.
WHAT DOSAGE DO I TAKE
Is there a recommended dosage?
Well, there isn’t a standard one-size-fits-all answer here.
The amount of CBD an individual may need will varying depending on their size, age, and sex. In most cases, it’s best to begin with a small amount of CBD to gauge your reaction. We like to recommend a “low and slow” approach. We recommend taking just one full drop a day and deciding how it impacts you. You can increase or decrease how much you consume, accordingly.
IS CBD FOR PRE OR POST WORKOUT
Up to you! CBD has been shown to be a wake-promoting agent, providing you a “boost of energy”, so to speak. If you’re looking for a pre-workout powder without the beta-alanine tingly-feeling jitters, we recommend our CBD Superfood Green Powder. Giving your body an instant boost with one of the most potent, nutrient-dense, and immune-enhancing powdered drinks available.
If you’re wanting a sense of calmness and relaxation after your workout, we’ve got just the thing. Our broad-spectrum CBD Energy + Recovery Powder contains a beautiful blend of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and 15 mg of phytocannabinoids per serving, supporting endurance, joint care, and skin care.
THE MOVEMENT BENEFITS OF CANNABIDIOL
You’ve made it this far - rad! We’re in the home stretch now!
Here’s the key takeaways for exercise and CBD:
1. CBD may increase the serum concentration of your endocannabinoids, suggesting that cannabinoids may produce a similar feeling as a “runner’s high”, after you finish exercising.
2. A combination of THC and CBD may provide you with a sense of calmness and well-being.
3. CBD may help you manage injuries, anxiety, and stress.
4. CBD and exercise may provide psychological improvements, including having anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties.
CBD AND EXERCISE: FINAL THOUGHTS
At the end of the day, one step in the right direction may be all you need to get you started towards where you want to go. Whether you’re a professional athlete looking for a sense of calmness prior to morning weights, an avid gym-goer wanting a new powder for your post workout shake, or you’re just wanting to get back in shape and are looking for an all-natural boost to get you there, cannabidiol and exercise can be your next power play.
Though more work is needed to be done, research is showing promise for cannabidiol and exercise.
Until next time in quarantine, see ya!
*DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
Nanocraft SciencesContent Writer | Professor | Physiologist
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Northern California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in teaching clinical and practical exercise and rehabilitation applications. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, holistic and lifestyle medicine, and health research and development. Her passion for alternative medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.
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Gamelin FX, Cuvelier G, Mendes A, et al. Cannabidiol in sport: Ergogenic or else? Pharmacological Research. 2020.
Zieger JS, Silvers WS, Fleegler EM, et al. Cannabis use in active athletes: Behaviors related to subjective effects. PLoS ONE. 2019.