Exercise and CBD: What does the science say about CBD, and how it can affect your performance and active life-style?
Written by: Dr. Jonny Lisano, Ph.D.
As an athlete, your lifestyle is largely focused on improving your performance both during training and in competition. Regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete like an elite triathlete, a casual competitor, or a weekend warrior, we all want to perform and feel our best. It might not come as a big surprise, but your performance is dictated by more than just the quality of your weekly training sessions. The quality of your sleep, state of mind and ability to recover following training and competition all dictate your performance. Recently, there’s been a growing trend of athletes, of all levels of competition, advocating for the use of cannabis products, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), as a part of their daily lifestyle.
What is CBD?
The compound CBD is what’s known as phytocannabinoid. The compound CBD is one of over 100+ compounds known as cannabinoids that are found within the cannabis plant, in particular hemp. These chemicals are extracted from the hemp plant and concentrated into products like: CBD oils, topical creams, and CBD isolate (pure CBD). The CBD in these products can then interact with the endocannabinoid system that is present in almost every tissue throughout the body. So this brings up the question; what effects does CBD actually have and how can you incorporate 6° Wellness CBD products into your active lifestyle?
CBD and Performance:
It comes as no surprise that how well you perform is based on more than just what you do the day of your competition or training. How well you perform is based on your capacity to recover (1), your quality of sleep (2,3) and your mental health (4). If you aren’t fully recovered from your previous training session or competition, you’ve been tossing and turning at night due to stress in your life, or performance anxiety is running amok, your performance is going to suffer. So how can the use of CBD affect your recovery, sleep, and mental health?
We’ve all been there, started a training session, felt great and were able to push ourselves beyond what we thought we were going to be able to do that day. It’s fantastic to push ourselves and leave the gym feeling accomplished, only to be hobbled by pain and soreness in the following days. This pain and soreness may even spill over to your next training session or competition, hindering your progress, or worse, missing your next competition entirely. Contrary to popular belief, this muscle soreness known as DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is not the result of lactic acid build up or accumulation. It’s actually the result of the mechanical stress of exercise causing damage to your muscles, initiating an immune response which results in inflammation (swelling) of the tissue. This accumulation of excess fluid in the tissue causes pressure on muscles and nerves in the affected area resulting in pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion. Your first inclination might be to reach for common over the counter anti-inflammatory NSAID’s (ibuprofen) or painkillers (Tylenol) to help relieve your pain and swelling. However, as of late, more and more athletes are reaching for cannabis products, like CBD, for their pain relief and recovery. Cannabidiol has been observed to interact with the immune system through the endocannabinoid system and modulate the inflammatory response (5,6). Suggesting that the use of CBD may support a healthy inflammatory response and maintain normal exercise recovery.
We’ve all been there, had so many different things going on in our lives that we get bogged down with stress. Come bed-time, this stress prevents us from shutting off our brains and getting a restful night’s sleep. Getting high quality sleep on a nightly basis is an integral aspect not only of exercise recovery but mental wellness and overall health. The use of CBD has been observed to maintain healthy sleep habits and sleep architecture (7).
Mental Health and State of Mind:
As any athlete knows we train hard, devoting countless hours to our training and competitions. That’s why it’s no surprise that when it comes to the competition itself, it’s not uncommon to get a little anxious. Sometimes this pressure and anxiety can be so intense that it harms our performance or prevents us from competing entirely. Recent evidence suggests that the use of CBD can help maintain mental health and related symptoms of anxiety (8,9).
Now that you know some of the observed effects of CBD on recovery, sleep, and mental health, it’s up to you to decide if you want to incorporate 6° Wellness products into your daily routine.
What makes 6° Wellness different?
Admittedly, there are many hemp derived CBD companies that advocate and advertise their products for use in athletes and the physically active population. So, what makes 6° Wellness different? Well, for starters we are the only hemp derived CBD company in the world that has someone on staff that has a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology. Our Director of Research, Dr. Jonny Lisano has three degrees in exercise science and exercise physiology and has specialized in researching cannabis use, immune function and performance in athletes since 2014. Our Founder and CEO, Dr. Helena Yardley, has a dual Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Integrative Physiology as well, and has been involved in cannabinoid research for the last 7 years. Both Dr. Lisano and Dr. Yardley are advocates of using CBD products to support their active lifestyle, and use 6° Wellness products on a daily basis.
Not only do we have experts on staff, but we also strive to continue to provide new and innovative research focused on our hemp derived CBD products and how they affect you. Plus, you have the added benefit of supporting our philanthropic “One for One” model. For every 6° Wellness product you purchase we donate to someone in need.
Legality of Hemp derived CBD:
Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family. While marijuana is legal to varying extents for recreational purposes across the U.S., hemp is legal in all 50-states and associated U.S. territories thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. Legally hemp is not allowed to have more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, so you won’t feel any intoxicating effects while using our products. All of our products are third party verified and we provide all our certificates of analysis online. So you can rest assured and verify for yourself that our products meet these THC requirements in addition to not containing any harmful residues.
WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency)
Athletes of a variety of levels are subject to being compliant with WADA standards and regulations. So, what is WADA’s stance on CBD? The use of CBD products in and out of competition is permitted by the current WADA guidelines. If you want to see for yourself just follow the link below and search for: Cannabidiol.
The use of CBD is also permitted by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) as they follow the same guidelines enacted by WADA.
What does the research say about what activities athletes and physically active individuals are using cannabis products with?
While there is currently no research available on how athletes and physically active individuals are using specifically hemp derived CBD products as a part of their life; there is one study (By our Director of Research) published in 2019 that assessed the types of activities that athletes and physically active individuals were using cannabis products with (10).
The most popular activities to use these products with were: running, cycling, resistance training, yoga, golf, skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing and hockey/skating. However, in total participants in the study reported using in combination with over 26-unique activities (10)!
When were they using in relation to their training or physical activity?
The majority of participants in this study advocated for using both before and after their training or physical activity
What were some of the reasons these individuals were using these products?
When individuals were using products within an hour prior to starting their training or physical activity were to: support pain relief, support calming of the mind or relaxing, support performance or to support enjoyment (10).
After their physical activity these athletes and physically active individuals reported that they used to help support: relaxation, pain management, recovery, and sleep (10).
How did these athletes perceive their use affected their performance?
In this study nearly 77% of participants reported that they felt the use of cannabis products with their training or physical activity had a positive effect on their performance. Only 3% felt that it had a negative effect (10).
How much CBD should I be taking?
Unfortunately, there isn’t currently any research on how much CBD you should be taking to support your physically active, healthy lifestyle or when you should be taking it. Until more research becomes available, we recommend starting out low at ~10 mg per dose (i.e. one full dropper of the 6° Wellness 600mg bottle) and adjusting as necessary until you experience your desired effects. You might find that you need a little more or a little less as you get more acquainted with our products. We recommend tracking how much you’re using, how often and how it makes you feel as a quick reference guide. Keep in mind it could take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to begin experiencing the short-term effects and a few days of consistent use to feel the prolonged effects.
Suggestions from our staff on how they use 6° Wellness products to support their active lifestyle:
The tried and true tincture:
The easiest way to use 6° Wellness products is using the oil as a sublingual tincture. Simply fill the dropper to the desired level and gently disperse underneath your tongue. Just be careful to not touch the dropper to your mouth, you don’t want to contaminate the rest of the bottle.
Fill the 6° Wellness dropper to your desired level and disperse into your cup of coffee prior to brewing or pouring it in. For best results we recommend mixing with a small amount of creamer
We all know it’s important to replenish and restore nutrients following a workout. One of our favorite and delicious ways to consume 6° Wellness products is to simply add it in to your post-workout smoothie. Add your desired amount as you would any of your other ingredients, blend and you’re good to go!
Bowl of Oatmeal:
If you’re not a coffee drinker, or you’re just not a fan of smoothies try adding it to your bowl of oatmeal. We suggest cooking your oats first then afterwards adding in your 6° Wellness product and stirring it in. You won’t even notice it’s there!
Keep in mind!
Don’t forget, that because 6° Wellness products are suspended in MCT oil they won’t mix very well with water-based products (hence why we suggest using creamer with your coffee).