There's been a lot of talk about CBD oil this year and its potential for helping people with sleep issues, stress and inflammation (not to mention beauty and skin care benefits), but you may not know about the potential benefits of CBD on endurance and overall fitness. The claim sounds crazy considering CBD is one of the main chemical compounds in cannabis (found in both hemp and marijuana varieties), which isn't usually associated with energy boosts or healthy eating. Before we explore the topic, however, it's important to hash out the legal issues of the compound, which depend largely on the source of your CBD.
If you get CBD from marijuana, you'll have to check with your state to see if it is legal, as laws vary by state and country. "In the U.S. it's becoming more legal to buy marijuana for medical and recreational use, but it's still illegal federally and in some states," says Brandon Nolte, owner of Healthy Hemp Oil. On the other hand, CBD from industrial hemp is legal to buy and sell in all 50 states in the U.S. "That's because industrial hemp contains low levels of THC (the chemical responsible for the high feeling). These levels are so low that there's no chance for you to get high. If you live in a state or country where marijuana is illegal then you should look for CBD products made from industrial hemp," Nolte says.
Now that the legal disclaimer is out of the way, let's talk fitness. CBD has long been said to help with sleep, which ties into athletic performance, but beyond that, it can also help with inflammation.
"Recovery is the name of the game for any sort of impact on the body, whether that be an everyday workout or, to the extreme, endurance training for professional athletes. CBD has proven its ability to aid in a faster recovery time, which is why it's an essential boost for the active lifestyle routine," says Emily Heitman CMO/COO of Leef Organics. "CBD reduces inflammation and the quicker we can recover and shorten the inflammatory response time, we reduce the impact or toll that is taken on the overall body."
CBD salves, in particular, are popular for reducing muscle aches and pains in specific locations, Nolte says. These CBD products are easy to use: apply the salve directly to your pain spot. It may take an hour or so to feel the effects, but they last up to five hours. However, if you're looking to reduce overall inflammation, Nolte suggests taking something orally. These, too, will take up to an hour to feel the effects, and then they will last for 4-5 hours. CBD edibles also last up to 4-5 hours.
Another option is vapes. "Many athletes enjoy using CBD vapes because it's the quickest way to feel the effects of CBD because the vapor goes quicker into your bloodstream," Nolte says. "The tradeoff is that the effects of CBD vapes don't last as long." CBD tinctures fall somewhere in the middle. "They're quick to absorb because they go under your tongue, but they also last longer than vapes because the rest of the spray is swallowed and digested by the stomach. You can feel the effects of tinctures in 10-15 minutes and they can last 3-4 hours depending on the strength," he adds.
We saved the best for last: CBD coffee! It's not quite the new matcha but let's give it a year or two. Wellness-minded places, like New York City's popular Clean Market, are increasingly offering the option of adding CBD shots to your coffee.
"CBD coffee merges two of my most favorite things, but also doubles as a protective powerhouse," says Heitman. "Both ingredients have been shown to positively impact the mind, body and soul, protecting from outside aggressors and promoting overall health and wellness."
No matter which avenue you opt for, it's important to remember that like with most things in life, consistency is the key. According to both experts, it can take a little while for your body to get used to CBD, so give it at least a week before you form an opinion either way.