If you’re serious about lifting, you’re likely always on the search for new ways to take your physique to the next level. Pre-workouts, bath salts, protein shakes, and Creatine are all effective supplements, but what are the benefits of CBD for bodybuilding?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the THC compound, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. With no psychoactive effects, but with many medicinal benefits, CBD is the ideal supplement for athletes wanting to up their game.
The endocannbinoid system
You may be wondering how CBD works?! Well, CBD supports endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system has a direct relationship with other key bodily systems, like the immune system. By supporting the endocannabinoid system, CBD is able to benefit its users in a variety of ways.
Does CBD help to build muscle?
Ever since CBD exploded in popularity, the evidence is stacking up that cannabinoids aid athletic performance and muscle growth. If you’re looking to gain more muscle or improve your athletic performance, CBD oil may be able to improve your results. With that said, what are the benefits of CBD oil for bodybuilding and weightlifting?
Anti-catabolic – If you’re well-versed in the field of bodybuilding, you’ll know that being catabolic is a major no-no for maximizing tissue growth. Unfortunately, our cortisol levels rise in response to stress, whether that’s from an intense workout or from day-to-day environmental stresses. This is a major problem as cortisol is a catabolic hormone that reduces protein synthesis and prevents tissue growth.
A preliminary study published in September by the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that CBD interferes with cortisol secretion, where subjects experienced a significant decrease in cortisol levels in their blood. By using CBD to reduce cortisol levels, you can reduce the loss of muscle tissue.
Inflammation – Intense exercise can take its toll on the body. Who knew!?! CBD oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, which makes CBD an ideal supplement for weightlifting. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may also help to prevent pain from sore joints or injuries.
Sleep – Muscles recover and grow as we sleep, making sleep one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding. In fact, sleep is extremely important for everyone who wants to be healthy!
By taking CBD, we’re able to actively engage with the CB2 receptors in the limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain, the part of the endocannabinoid system responsible for regulating sleep and mood. With the support of CBD, users can experience more frequent REM sleep, allowing for maximal protein synthesis to be achieved.
Chronic pain – As an athlete, your body is subjected to high amounts of pressure. At the end of a long training session, it’s not uncommon to feel symptoms of fatigue and joint pain.
Does CBD help with weight loss?
Cortisol – Heard of cortisol? Otherwise known as the stress hormone, cortisol is a hormone that elevates under stress/pressure. Cortisol is also a hormone that has a direct relationship with fat – When you’re going through a stressful time, your body goes into ‘panic mode’ and will start storing fat in preparation for the worst.
With evidence that it lowers cortisol levels, CBD can be an ideal solution. This is a well-researched area of CBD, with studies showing the positive effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone, and cortisol.
Insulin – CBD has been shown to help turn around insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which play a big role in your hormone imbalances. This is supported by many studies, such as this one that looked into the critical role the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of food intake and energy metabolism.
Which CBD is best for bodybuilding?
CBD can be taken in a number of ways, but which form of CBD is best for weightlifting? It’s important for each fitness-enthusiast to personally discover how to leverage CBD’s bodybuilding benefits on their own physique.
Topical – Used for inflammation and pain relief, CBD creams are the most popular form of CBD within the bodybuilding industry. Topical CBD products allow you to target specific areas of the body, making them perfect for those people with injuries or achy joints. Click here for our recommended topical products.
Tinctures – This is the most popular way to take CBD. Tinctures are taken sublingually, which is usually done by placing a few drops of liquid underneath the tongue. You could also take your CBD oil with food or liquid, like placing a few drops into your post-workout protein shake.
Edibles – These are tasty food items that contain CBD. Ideal as a post-workout CBD snack, these tasty treats provide gym-goers with an easy way to medicate. Click here for our recommended gummy products.
Will CBD cause a drug interaction?
A drug interaction is a reaction between a drug and another substance. Unfortunately, drug interactions can cause unexpected side effects.
CBD and the Cytochrome P450 Enzyme System
CBD has been shown to inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize some medications, which can lead to higher levels of some drugs in the system at one time.
CBD won’t necessarily cause problems if you’re taking other drugs, but we recommend speaking to your doctor before doing so.
Topical does not cause a drug interaction since it isn’t digested and doesn’t make its way through the liver or interact with the cytochrome P450 system.
Should I take CBD pre-workout or post-workout?
While many individuals like using CBD after a workout to improve recovery, others have found that CBD acts as a performance-booster when taken pre-workout.
Pre-workout – Some athletes have found that activating the endocannabinoid system immediately helps their body to function more efficiently, thus improving gym performance.
Post-workout – Some have found that CBD causes a feeling of relaxation that does not mix well with their lifting, meaning they prefer to take their CBD once the workout is finished.
Essentially, it comes down to trial and error. Keep in mind that CBD affects everyone differently. To test, take a small dose before/after your workout. Make sure to do this over the course of a few days. We don’t recommend taking CBD for the first time during a weightlifting competition or important event.
Why I use CBD for the gym
As a hardcore gym-goer since the age of 17, I’m always looking for new ways to take my physique to the next level. As all natural bodybuilders will know, the first few years of weightlifting is where the majority of muscle is built. However, making gym progress after the “newb gain” phase is very difficult. So when I first heard about the benefits of CBD, my mind instantly started thinking about how CBD could give me an edge in the gym.
Now, I’m not like every guy who goes to the gym. Thanks to an incident that happened in the summer of 2014, I can’t lift heavy like I used to.
There I was, mid lift, when a massive pop echoes throughout the gym! Yes, that disgusting sound came from my lower back, which I later found out to be a herniated disc.
This brings me to the main reason why I use CBD for weightlifting – inflammation. I take CBD oil in tincture form first thing in the morning; this allows the CBD to reduce my inflammation and stiff joints from the previous workout. I also apply topical CBD over my body after my post-workout shower, making sure to be generous over my lower back area.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that CBD has some amazing benefits for your fitness, bodybuilding, and wellness goals. So whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or improve your overall performance, take a closer look into CBD supplements.
Have you used CBD for bodybuilding? We always love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or reach out via one of our social channels.