It’s now March (at the time of publication,) which marks 60+ days past the day you likely set some 2020 fitness goals and resolutions. For many, this could be the ‘make or break’ point. You’ve either persisted with your routine, or you’ve slacked a bit here and there, but you know it’s time to get back on track. Because, let’s face it…swimsuit season will be upon us quicker than you can say “full body transformation.”
If you’re well on your way to hitting your goals, let me just take a second to congratulate you. Well done! Way to go!
If you’re struggling, though, I’d like to relay my own experience with CBD, as it relates to physical activity. And, full disclosure: yes, I am paid to maintain this website. But, also, I don’t see that as a reason to be less than completely honest with you. And I’ll go ahead and make another disclaimer. This is simply my experience. I’m not saying my experience will be your experience.
With that all out of the way, let’s discuss the main property that makes CBD such a popular compound. Cannabidiol has been shown to have varying degrees of effectiveness at minimizing inflammation. In other words, it can provide pain relief. In many cases, CBD oil is taken to combat chronic pain issues. But, that’s not my story.
I was a teenage skateboarder. For a few years, skateboarding was my everything. I was obsessed. But, as I got older and the injuries started adding up, I felt the time was right to give it up. So, for nearly 20 years, I barely touched a skateboard. And, for some odd reason, I decided to pick it up again.
Only, this time around, I was an overweight, fully grown adult. About as out of shape as possible, I learned quickly that the falls hurt much more at 39 than they did at age 14. It wasn’t only the falls that hurt, though. It was the whole thing. The pushing hurt. The landings hurt. Some days, just looking at my skateboard made me hurt. But, I pushed through the pain, because I was having so much fun in the process. It’s an extremely challenging activity, and there’s no feeling as exhilarating as landing a trick you’ve tried 100 times in a row.
I had already been taking occasional doses of CBD, long before this newfound love for skateboarding hit me. But, as soon as I felt that first bedtime ache, I reached straight for my Mile Marker No. 5 salve. These new aches and pains, which would become all too common for me, would almost instantly subside to much more manageable levels once the salve was applied. It really made me think, “you know, I bet the professional skateboarding industry is gonna get hip to CBD really soon.”
Throughout the next year or so, it seemed that all the most well-known pro skateboarders I was following on Instagram were starting to receive sponsorships from CBD companies. (Skate legend, Andy Macdonald has become a spokesperson for Extract Labs, for instance – one of our best selling brands.) I was not surprised, in the least. But, what I didn’t expect was the sheer number of professional athletes across multiple sports and disciplines that were either sponsored by these companies, or simply talking publicly about the benefits and use of CBD in their lives and routines. And throughout another year, I started to witness CBD tinctures being marketed specifically to the health and fitness demographic.
During this time, I had started to take larger doses of CBD oil before skate sessions that I predicted would be especially brutal. I noticed something, in doing so. Dosing beforehand had a pronounced effect on allowing me to “zone in” on my surroundings. I suddenly felt much more capable of determining how to best accomplish tricks I would try. As much as fear is an obstacle in landing a new trick, it became an afterthought. In short, I felt much more focused and tuned in to my body and environment. I also felt more flexible and felt more fluidity in my joints.
Being a naturally skeptical person, I wondered if my experiences were a placebo effect, or if they were shared with others. But, even more importantly, I wondered if there was any science to back up these effects I was feeling.
Unfortunately, I cannot yet find any substantial studies of CBD in regard to exercise, specifically. But, it bears repeating that numerous studies have shown CBD to be effective at managing pain. As Men’s Health reported:
According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.”
And, as I often say, we shouldn’t put all of our faith in anecdotal evidence, but we shouldn’t ignore it altogether, either. That evidence has become almost monolithic. The sheer number of professional athletes that are using CBD for recovery is overwhelming. As much as I can find these instances of CBD being used for pain and inflammation in sports and fitness, I struggle to find any mentions of the focus and clarity I feel from taking CBD. Lately, I’ve started to use it before extended indoor cardio (because, honestly, what’s more boring than being on a treadmill for an hour?) I’ve found that focus that I get from a dose really seems to help me keep my mind from wandering into that dangerous zone of “maybe I’ll quit a little earlier than I wanted to.”
So, what about you? Have you tried taking a dose before a workout? After a workout? What has your experience been? I’m very interested to hear from you all, especially in regard to the “focus” I’ve talked about. With CBD’s reported neuroprotective properties, I imagine it’s just a matter of time before we see data-backed evidence of this being a real, confirmed thing. Until then, drop me a line at email@example.com, and let me know about your experiences.