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Cannabidiol or CBD is proving to be an effective treatment for a variety of ailments. However, research is also suggesting that the cannabinoid goes beyond an herbal remedy, it can be used to boost athletic performance and enhance the muscle recovery process.

With so many products out on the market, choosing the correct CBD formula, knowing how much to take, and when to take the product can feel sort of like a shot in the dark.

If you are an athlete that has been using CBD to optimize your physical performance and haven’t seen satisfactory results, are you sure you are using the cannabinoid correctly?

Before we elaborate on that further, lets breakdown CBD and exactly how it works in our bodies.

The Endocannabinoid System

When we ingest, inhale, or topically apply cannabidiol to our bodies, it activates the endocannabinoid system. This wonderful structure we have integrated within our cells is made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors that promote homeostasis in our bodies. It is said that our endocannabinoid system helps to regulate functions related to sleep, appetite, cognitive function, and immune response.

When we take CBD, our bodies function more efficiently. This is why many will say that CBD has effectively treated their symptoms related to anxiety, depression, inflammation and more.

Unlike THC, another molecular compound found in cannabis, CBD is non-hallucinogenic and will not give you a mind-altering high.

Why are THC and CBD different?

Well, for one, they have different molecular structures and interact with the endocannabinoid system in different ways. While THC directly affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD indirectly works with them. This is one of the main reasons why there is no “high” induced when CBD is ingested or inhaled.

Another difference is that legal CBD comes from a different cannabis plant than THC.

Cannabidiol is derived from industrial hemp, a federally legal substance. THC is extracted from marijuana, a federally illegal plant. While both hemp and marijuana are species of cannabis, hemp only contains 0.3 percent THC but is rich CBD.

Is 0.3 percent THC enough to get you high?

No. Not even if you took a whole lot of it.

Image: Athlete drinking a protein shake

CBD and Athletic Performance

Now that we have established what CBD is and how it works with our bodies, we can address the cannabinoids uses for athletic performance.

Research shows that CBD is great for treating the symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation. If you are an athlete, you may be all too familiar with these conditions.  While many athletes swear by the cannabinoid to enhance their workouts and speed up your muscle recovery time, be aware that there are a few technicalities that come into play that allow CBD to be the most effective.

Before reading, please be aware that this is not to be taken as medical advice as everybody’s body is unique and may react differently to the hemp extract. However, these tips are based on research and testimonials from athletes that use and swear by CBD.

1.    Don’t Take too Much CBD Before a Workout

One of the superpowers of CBD is that it has helped people with sleep disorders like insomnia. Research shows that taking a little bit of CBD can have an energizing effect while taking larger doses may result in a biphasic effect that helps relax the mind to prepare for shut-eye.

Fitness gurus that use CBD recommend using a small amount of CBD before a workout to reduce pain and inflammation while giving you energy before a workout. In fact, some even say that it is more effective (and way healthier) than traditional pre workout supplements that contain caffeine.  However, too much of the cannabinoid can get you feeling a bit too relaxed before a sweat session.

2.    Don’t take CBD Just as Pre-workout

CBD is extremely effective as a post workout remedy as well! Not only does the cannabinoid speed up muscle recovery (who doesn’t love gains?!), but it will significantly reduce the pain associated with muscle soreness so you can hit the gym the following day to work out those arms!

Similarly, if you are a night owl that likes to get on a sweat in the evening hours, CBD will relax you so that you get a proper amount of shut-eye without feeling too energized to fall asleep!

3.    Incorporate Salve

CBD salve works absolute wonders on all parts of the body. Even celebrities like Mandy Moore use it on their feet before walking on the red carpet in stilettos! Utilize this god-sent topical treatment on your muscles and joints before and after a workout to instantly reduce inflammation and discomfort!

4.    Don’t use Marijuana Before a workout

As previously mentioned, marijuana is a species of cannabis and does contain CBD; however, it also contains THC, which can produce intoxicating effects. While there is research that proves THC and CBD work together wonderfully to treat ailments, in no way is it an efficient source of pre workout. In fact, it will likely make you feel ready for a nap as opposed to pumping iron.

Make sure that you are using CBD products derived from industrial hemp as opposed to marijuana if you want to optimize your gym session.

5.    Use CBD in Your Post Workout Protein Shake

This point is all about efficiency! Many athletes forget that CBD can be added into your protein shake after a workout! Instead of putting another step into your post workout ritual, we recommend putting a few drops of CBD into your smoothie or meal after a sweat session! Not only will this save you time, but you will find that CBD will further enrich the nutrition in the supplements or meals you are already consuming!