CBD and Fitness: Can CBD Help?

Cannabidiol is believed to aid in the pre- and post-workout stages, both for energy boost and recovery – as a supplement. More importantly, the drug ban for CBD was lifted in 2017 by the World Anti-Doping Agency whose goal is to lead a global movement for doping free sport. In the past couple of years over 20 states in the U.S. has made cannabis legal so, you can smoke away in those state and get high. However, the real health benefit is not from the THC’s in marijuana that make you high, but in the extracted CBD. Lately there has been a lot of interest in CBD within the health and fitness community due to the large amount of anecdotal evidence of the many health benefits derived from CBD. These benefits range from reducing seizures to curing certain forms of cancer to pain reduction and healing properties for many maladies.

So, whether you’re thinking pre or post-workout, trying to stay healthy or gain muscle mass, it is possible that CBD may be able to play an important role in your goals, all without getting high. It has been touted by many as a wonder drug due to the over 113 compounds in hemp plants.

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As a pain reliever, CBD has excellent healing properties as an anti-inflammatory. It all stimulates a healthy appetite, which is great for that post-workout meal. And, for pain reduction after a grueling workout or even competitive competition. But, it doesn’t stop there, you can also use it pre-workout for nagging pains that linger from your last workout. The reason it works is because reduces cortisol in your system. By doing so, it can help you increase your workout intensity for more gain. Let’s explore cortisol just a little.

What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is generally called the “stress hormone” due to its connection to stress response within the body. However, cortisol is much more than just a hormone released during stress. Cortisol is one of the steroid hormones in your body and is made in the adrenal glands. Most cells within the body have cortisol receptors. Secretion of the cortisol is controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland, this combination of glands is most often referred to as the HPA axis.

What does Cortisol Do?
Because most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, it affects many different functions in the body. What’s that? You often workout intensely and do not know that cortisol can help control blood-sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist in memory formulation. Cortisol has a controlling effect on your body’s salt and water balance and helps also to control blood pressure. In women, cortisol support fetus development during pregnancy. All of these functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being. But, as good as it is, high-levels of cortisol can be harmful, and this is where CBD can help. The function is not entirely clear, but it helps in the interdependence of receptors, which spread both beneficial and harmful effects – negating overproduction of cortisol in the latter.

Problems associated with High Cortisol Levels
Sometimes tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands can contribute to a condition known as the Cushing syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by high levels of cortisol in the blood. If you get this syndrome, you will generally experience rapid weight gain in the abdomen, face, and chest. This can be noticed by slender legs and arms compared to core weight, i.e., the proportion of the latter is generally significantly more. The Cushing syndrome also causes a flushed face, high blood pressure, and changes in the skin. Additionally, osteoporosis and mood swings can accompany this syndrome. Therefore, high cortisol levels also can contribute to changes in a woman’s libido and menstrual cycle, even without the presence of Cushing disease. Anxiety and depression are sometimes also be linked to high cortisol levels.

The Effects of Low Cortisol Levels
Low cortisol levels can cause a condition known as primary adrenal insufficiency and if low enough, the Addison disease. Although rare, primary adrenal insufficiency is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the adrenal glands. You do not want the latter if you’re trying to build a great body or make progress in your fitness. Symptoms generally start slowly, but can be quite serious. Patients with primary adrenal insufficiency can experience fatigue, muscle loss, mood swings, weight loss, and other symptoms such as changes to the skin. Now, you begin to see the benefit of CBD as both a pre- and post-workout body-fuel component. Thus, CBD can also be used pre-workout to reduce pain sensitivity as well as reduce cortisol, helping you go harder during your workout.

CBD Benefits and My Exercise Routine?
Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the hemp/marijuana plants that is known for its many medical benefits. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC), CBD does not cause a high. Therefore, a great many people have begun integrating CBD into their fitness regimen, primarily, pre and post workout use. The main reason for this increased use is that CBD has many properties that make it a good supplement for the health conscious, which has been described in part above and in the other articles in this issue of My Health Express. Whether you use it as a pre- or post-workout aid for recovery, many push the benefits. However, the benefits may vary whether pre- or post-workout.

What are the benefits of CBD as a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Past research has indicated that CBD is an analgesic, which means it effectively relieves pain. Not only research, but large amounts of anecdotal evidence also suggest this. The ability to reduce sensitivity to pain can help one greatly increase intensity during a workout. And, after all, this is also one of the effects of steroid use, but without the ill effects. Thus, less pain signals from the muscles generally result in better gain.

In addition to pain relief, CBD also can be used as an energy and mood booster. This is because CBD acts as an antidepressant and demonstrates anti-anxiety effects. This effect helps one feel more invigorated, positive, energized and motivated. Not only will this lead to more intense workouts, but can help one shake the depression they may find themselves in. There is some evidence that those with manic depressive/bipolar disorder can benefit from CBD.

Additionally, CBD will act as an anti-catabolic during the pre-workout. The catabolic hormones act to break down muscle tissue. And, as you know, this is the opposite of what one wants during a workout. Interestingly, one important catabolic hormone is cortisol (described in detail above). Thus, as you now know, this is a huge benefit. In summary, the key pre-workout benefits of CBD include: decreased cortisol levels and thus, less muscle breakdown; reduces sensitivity to pain, increases your energy, and helps motivate you.

What are the benefits of CBD as a Post-Workout Supplement”
The post-workout is where most people use CBD. As a post-workout supplement the major benefits of CBD include reduced muscle soreness and inflammation, appetite stimulation, and body relaxation. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve pain, CBD can thus, help you recover faster after workout and often not only reduce, but eliminate the onset of muscle soreness. Although not clear at present, CBD appears to reduce lactic acid buildup among cells.

One of the primary factors in building muscle and keeping it is getting plenty of rest, especially the proverbial 8 hours of sleep each night. As a key factor of post-workout recovery, sufficient rest is imperative. And, you will be happy to know that CBD will help you relax and drift into that restful state more quickly at night as you go to sleep. Because muscle recovery takes place while you sleep, the effects from CBD can also help you build muscle. Finally, we all know the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of protein after a workout to help build muscle thus, for those that find it difficult to eat after a workout, the ability of CBD to improve appetite should help you in your quest to finally build the muscle you have struggled to obtain.

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