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Can CBD Reduce Recovery Time and Boost Performance?

mental training for crossfit

CBD could hold the key to cutting down your recovery time and helping you hit new PBs in the CrossFit gymStaying healthy, managing niggles and optimising recovery is part and parcel of CrossFit. So what is CBD oil good for and how can it benefit you?

Anyone with their ear to the ground regarding alternative health options will surely have heard of CBD oil. In recent years, CBD product popularity has surged as more and more studies show just how beneficial it can be for health and wellbeing.

However, CBD is not a new phenomenon. In reality, the cannabis sativa plant has been used for thousands of years to help relieve pain and soothe stress. And that sounds like the perfect tonic for dedicated Crossfitters who love to train hard and maximise time in the box.

Is CBD the same as THC?

Some people are wary to use any product derived from the cannabis plant due to the stigma attached. For some people, the words ‘cannabis’ and ‘marijuana’ are interchangeable. But in fact, while marijuana is the illegal drug with psychoactive properties, cannabis is simply the name of the plant from which many products and compounds are derived.

CBD is one such compound, and it does not possess any psychoactive effect. CBD will not get you ‘high’ – instead, it has been shown to help relieve many of the symptoms involved in common health concerns. That’s why CBD is gaining such momentum in the health and wellbeing world.

We’re going to take a look at some of the key benefits CBD has to offer, as well as the studies delivering the results. From whether CBD oil can help recovery after exercise and reduce inflammation to whether it can aid sleep, let’s find us: what is CBD oil good for?

CBD oil for pain relief

Although is has been used for millennia, there has been a lot of recent research into the benefits of CBD for pain relief.

For CrossFitters, pain can be the enemy of progress. Not only does pain lead to discomfort, it can also mean being out of action for a while, taking a toll on your fitness regime and skill building. While it’s important to state that you should never ignore genuine mobility issues, tears or strains, we’d all like to wave goodbye to DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) – or at least take the edge off that soreness.

CBD works to fight pain by impacting the endocannabinoid system. This is a specialized system involved in regulating a range of bodily functions like sleep, appetite, pain, memory and immune system response. 

Studies have shown that CBD can help to reduce pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity. One study published in the Journal of Pain Research in 2018 found that CBD can help to alleviate many different kinds of pain, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.

Another study, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2017, looked at the effect of CBD in rats. They found that CBD injections could significantly reduce pain response to surgical incision, while another study — published in the European Journal of Pharmacology — also explored the impact of CBD on rats and found that it could help to reduce both pain and inflammation.

cbd oil crossfit fitness results

CBD and sports recovery

Any dedicated adult P.E. fan will have encountered a sports injury or two in their time. Whether it’s a minor bump, a sprain or an accident that puts you out of action for a while, sports injuries are uncomfortable, painful and frustrating.

From your average box-goer to those at the elite level, CBD has been shown to offer several key benefits when it comes to recovering from a workout.

CBD can help to speed up the recovery process, as research has shown a lot of potential for CBD in suppressing inflammation, swelling and soreness. One review published in 2015 in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry explored the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Reviewers found that CBD can reduce inflammation through several key pathways, helping to reduce the severity of a sports injury.

Other studies have shown similar promise. A 2018 study published in Neurology found that CBD binds to and desensitizes receptors, reducing pain and inflammation in the process.

For athletes, this means a shorter recovery period, which in turn means more opportunity to work on perfecting skills and technique. Every training programme should include recovery periods, as this is the time when your body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place.

Recovery is about replacing energy stores and repairing damaged tissue. The faster this takes place, the more progress can be made. 

Simple changes like drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced diet that includes enough protein and getting a good night’s sleep are all key to recovery, and CBD can help to support your body through this process. 

When to take CBD oil for sleep

Speaking of sleep, CBD has been shown to help improve both sleep quality and quantity. 

We tend to associate success with not getting enough sleep, but for athletes, the opposite is true. Sleep plays a major role in performance and recovery. Sleep provides energy to both the brain and the body, and when sleep is cut short, it becomes more difficult for the body to repair itself effectively.

This has been shown in countless studies. One 2014 study of adolescent athletes aged 12 to 18 found that those who slept less than eight hours per night were on average 1.7 times more likely to have been injured over a 21-month period than those sleeping eight or more hours.

And research has shown that CBD can help to improve your sleep quality over time. Research published in The Permanente Journal in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Within the first month, 79.2% of participants reported lower anxiety levels and two thirds (66.7%) of participants reported better quality sleep.

Incorporating CBD into your daily routine can set of a chain of positive events that could see your sports performance improve. CBD can mean better sleep, which in turn means better recovery. This can then lead to fewer injuries and more time to enjoy the extreme sport you love. Try taking CBD oil once or twice per day as a way to improve your sleep quality. 

Choosing the right CBD oil can make all the difference

CBD oil is already showing promising results when it comes to health and performance, but choosing the highest quality product is key. Some of this is down to personal preference, such as choosing between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate oils — CBD isolate oils contain just CBD, while full spectrum products also include a range of compounds, proteins, flavonoids and terpenes which can provide further benefits.

There are many online suppliers of CBD, but choosing trusted brands is key to obtaining the highest standard of the best CBD oil for your pain relief, recovery and sleep. Suppliers such as SmartCBD offer only 100% organic full spectrum CBD oil, preserved with advanced technology and delivered in ethical green packaging.

By choosing the right CBD oil for your needs, you’ll get the most out of your products and reap the healthy rewards. So be sure to do your homework and research around the products before making your decision. That way, you give yourself the best chance of seeing your sporting performance benefit as a result.

Smart CBD is one of the leading suppliers of 100% organic full-spectrum CBD oil. To find out more about the brand’s easy-to-take range of drops and balms, visit their website by clicking here.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.