By David Kranker, Op-Ed blogger
Whether you run competitively, to stay in shape, or just for fun, you are likely all-too-familiar with the pain and soreness that often accompanies a long run. There are lots of ways to deal with these issues, like ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers. But you may be wondering if there is a better option to boost your recovery.
Enter CBD. After the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the industrial production of hemp in the United States, products containing CBD became incredibly popular, including with runners. Many in the trail running and ultramarathon communities quickly integrated CBD into their training regimens.
There is a wide range of claims surrounding CBD and how it can benefit athletes. If you’re like most people, you want to know as much as possible about a product before using it – especially when that product goes on or in your body. Below, we break down the science behind CBD, and how runners may use it to alleviate pain and soreness naturally.
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is the common shorthand for cannabidiol, which is one of more than 100 different compounds (known as cannabinoids) found in cannabis. Preliminary research indicates that CBD can boost our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). Importantly, unlike another cannabinoid, THC, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that you won’t feel high if you ingest it.
The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that has three components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids as needed in order to bind to receptors located throughout the body. When the endocannabinoids carry out their function, enzymes break them down.
This system is thought to be responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Scientific research has associated it with a number of processes, including appetite and digestion, chronic pain, mood, learning and memory, muscle formation, and sleep. Endocannabinoid deficiency may be responsible for certain treatment-resistant syndromes.
It isn’t exactly clear how CBD affects the ECS. However, numerous studies have indicated that CBD may benefit health and wellness. This may be due to the way in which CBD – a type of cannabinoid – interacts with the ECS.
In the United States, CBD is produced from hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant. After the hemp is harvested, then the extraction process begins. This involves pushing a solvent through the plant material to pull out the CBD, essential oils, lipids, and other beneficial compounds. The solvent is then removed, leaving an oil that is high in CBD.
Because almost all commercially available forms of CBD are made from industrial hemp, which contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, it is legal in the United States. For competitive athletes, CBD is also permitted. CBD is no longer on the World Anti-Doping Agency or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s lists of prohibited substances.
Can CBD Really Help Me After a Run?
Runners may use CBD for a variety of reasons, including to improve their sleep or boost their digestion. Many use CBD to aid their recovery after a long run or when training for a race. A number of studies have shown that CBD may help to alleviate pain and soreness.
CBD may help to reduce pain and inflammation by affecting the activity of endocannabinoid receptors. In one study involving rats, injections of CBD reduced the pain response to surgical incision. A separate study involving rats found that nerve pain and inflammation was significantly reduced by the administration of oral CBD.
Other studies and reviews have found that CBD may be effective in:
- Overall pain management, with minimal side effects;
- Arthritis relief;
- Reducing migraine pain; and
- Reducing the body’s inflammatory response.
While this research is preliminary, it indicates that CBD may be useful for runners, particularly when it comes to the aches and pains that often come during training. As with anything that you take that may affect your health, be sure to talk to your doctor before adding a CBD product to your regimen.
How to Use CBD
If you have made the decision to use CBD, your next question may be the best way to take it or use it. CBD comes in many forms, from tinctures to edibles to topical creams and lotions. The best form for you depends largely on your needs.
For example, if you experience muscle soreness after a particularly lengthy workout, you may want to rub a CBD cream, balm, or transdermal onto the affected area. In this way, you can get targeted relief. Because your skin isn’t as permeable as the membranes in your mouth, you will want to choose a product that has a higher concentration of CBD.
However, if you’re interested in whole-body benefits, a tincture, spray, or oil might be for you. By placing a drop or two under your tongue, the product will absorb quickly, with more CBD preserved because it doesn’t have to go through the digestive tract. Capsules and edibles offer similar whole-body effects, although they won’t start working as quickly as sublingual CBD products.
When choosing a CBD product, focus on items that have been independently tested by a third-party laboratory. CBD products are not currently regulated by the FDA, so this is the best way to know exactly what you are putting in your body. Companies that do independent testing should put the results on their website, or make the results available upon request.
You should also look for CBD products that are made from industrial hemp grown in the United States. This hemp is highly regulated, and cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC. Choosing American-grown hemp can help ensure that you are getting a high-quality product.
The Best CBD Products For Runners
With so many different product options out on the market, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which products may be best for your needs. We’ve compiled a list of products below that we feel are best tailored to meet the needs of runners.
cbdMD Freeze Roller
The cbdMD Freeze Roller is the perfect travel companion for runners. Simply apply the roller to areas of inflammation, soreness, or pain and the CBD will absorb into the skin to get to work. The roller is infused with 750mg of broad spectrum CBD, which means it contains no THC.
Medterra Dissolvable Sleep Tablets
Trouble properly resting or rehabilitating after strenuous exercise is a common problem in the running community. Medterra’s dissolvable sleep tablets may be able to aid in helping you get more restful sleep. The tablets contain 25mg of CBD along with 10mg of melatonin per softgel. The combination of CBD and melatonin provides a perfect recipe for rest and relaxation.
Method Organics Water Soluble CBD Tincture
The water soluble tincture from Method Organics 1,000 mg of CBD into a 30ml bottle. This product is very popular for its potency and rapid onset. It’s well suited to help with chronic pain related to running.
Social 24 Hour CBD Patch
Patches are a good option when you need targeted relief in a certain area on the body. The Social Isolate (0 THC) patch releases 20 or 60mg of CBD (depending on which patch you choose) over a 24 hour period. While the patch lasts up to 24 hours, you can continue to feel relief for up to 34 hours. Patches are sold in packs of three to provide combined relief of up to 72 hours.
Wyld CBD Gummies
If a tincture doesn’t sound appealing for everyday use, edible gummies may be to your liking. Wyld CBD gummies are broad spectrum (0 THC) and infused with real fruit. They are made with no artificial flavors or coloring. The gummies come in lemon and raspberry flavors. Wyld gummies allow you to get the CBD you’re looking for with a taste you can look forward to.
Interested in Trying CBD? We’re Here to Help.
There are many reasons why runners and other athletes may want to try CBD, including reducing pain and soreness. While additional research is necessary to determine exactly how CBD works, early results show promise when it comes to the beneficial effects of CBD.
At Green Wellness Life, we aren’t doctors or pharmacists, and can’t diagnose or treat any health condition. What we can do is share the latest science on CBD to empower you to make the best choice for yourself. All of our products are independently tested and made from industrial hemp grown in the United States.
If you’re interested in learning more or in trying CBD, we are happy to work with you. Our product finder is a great way to start the process. If you have additional questions, we are available by phone at 866-244-4223 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or you can email us at any time.