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Cannabidiol can be found everywhere. Its nickname, CBD, is becoming a bit of a buzzword, and it is no stranger to the sporting world. It probably comes as no surprise if you are a fitness enthusiast that many pro athletes are now adopting CBD oil in their fitness regimes. Its cannabis-derived origins may have put you off to begin with, but you can rest assured that there are no risks of a ‘high’ from this sporting aid.
CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis plants and is only one of many cannabinoids which have been discovered so far. CBD accounts for approximately 40% of the plant’s extract. It is made using an extraction method where the CBD compound is removed from the hemp plant and then diluted with a carrier oil (such as organic coconut oil, or hemp seed oil).
Although CBD comes from hemp plants, a member of the cannabis family, the extract does not cause any intoxicating effects associated with recreational marijuana (a different strain of cannabis Sativa). The cannabinoid responsible for causing that infamous cannabis high is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Most CBD products contain zero THC, and those that do only have trace amounts, not have enough to cause any adverse effects.
CBD is available in many different forms, so if you are not keen on the idea of ingesting or inhaling CBD, you can apply it directly to the affected area as a topical. CBD lotions have a light consistency, very similar to that of a standard body lotion. They are usually applied by massaging directly into the skin when a localised area may need a bit of attention. Many people have turned to CBD lotions as their topical treatment of choice, as it has great potential for helping with sore muscles.
This article will explore how CBD can be incorporated into your fitness regimen, and what it could do to help us reach our fitness goals. We may not be getting the most out of our workouts if we’re not making the most of the best natural products out there. Read on to discover what CBD lotion could do for you.
How Can CBD Lotion Be Used Before and During Exercise?
Although CBD lotion is most often used as a post-workout recovery supplement, it can be applied before, after, or during an exercise session. Here are a few examples of how it can be implemented:
- Before Exercise –Your CBD pre-workout routine should start the night before. Many people forget that a great workout session requires you to have a night of ample sleep. You must get enough sleep to get the most out of your exercise, and active people need more rest than those who have a sedentary lifestyle. Although studies into CBD for sleep are still preliminary, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that CBD may improve sleep quality. So, after a relaxing bath, try applying CBD lotion along with melatonin and other herbal extracts such as lavender to promote better sleep.
Fitness enthusiasts that use CBD lotions have weighed in various interpretations of when, how, and why they use these products before workout sessions. One of the more widespread anecdotal reports concerns how CBD lotion may work as an anti-inflammatory and inhibit stress hormones’ release. Some early research indicates CBD may have a sedative effect, so, although it may not be great for pre-competition prep, it could be helpful before a restorative yoga session.
- During Exercise – If you find your joints or muscles are starting to feel a little strained during a fitness session, it may be worth slowing down and applying some topical CBD lotion. Resting the affected area and giving it a short massage may help reduce the chances of further damage.
Applying CBD lotion during a workout may help alleviate a flare-up during exercise for those with symptoms of certain chronic conditions involving inflammation. It is worth noting that CBD does not work immediately, especially when applied topically. This is one of the reasons why CBD lotion is mostly used for post-recovery.
In the next section, we will look into why we get sore after a workout, and how CBD lotion may potentially be used to help ease the discomfort. After all, we don’t want the natural impacts of an active lifestyle to hinder our health goals, so let’s strengthen our fitness knowledge with some muscle facts.
Why Do We Get Sore After A Workout?
It does not matter how fit you are, or how often you exercise; sometimes, you can just feel excruciating soreness after a workout. The pain does not always kick in straight away; it can take a couple of days before it fully sets in. This is nothing to worry about; this is a very common condition known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
DOMS can occur when you embark on a new exercise programme, make some tweaks to your standard exercise routine, or start to push yourself harder by increasing the intensity or duration of your regular workout. When our muscles are made to work harder than they are accustomed to, or in a different way, it’s thought to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibres. This is what is believed to result in the muscles soreness or stiffness we often experience post-workout.
It is worth noting that DOMS is different to the pain we experience from lactic acid build-up. Lactic acid is a byproduct which the body produces during high-intensity workouts. When we exercise, our body undergoes multiple biochemical processes to keep us energised. The body usually produces energy through aerobic respiration, the process that relies on oxygen to turn food into fuel. However, when we push ourselves into an intense workout, our muscles sometimes require more oxygen than we can breathe in. Muscles then have to rely on aerobic respiration, and lactic acid is a byproduct of this process. Unlike DOMS, which can last between three to five days, lactic acid build-up discomfort is often short-lived and subsides once you take a short break during your workout.
So, is there anything we can do to treat DOMS? Unfortunately, there is no simple way to treat DOMS; but not to worry, the condition very rarely requires medical intervention. You can take a few simple steps to help prevent DOMS. For example, when starting a new exercise programme, build up gently and gradually. This will allow your muscles time to adjust to the new movements and help minimise muscle soreness.
Can CBD Lotion Help With Post Workout Soreness?
Although it is okay to continue to exercise with DOMS, it is worth showing your body a bit of compassion by including a post-workout TLC routine. One of the most helpful ways can be to treat your muscles to a gentle massage with CBD lotion.
There are many different methods to massage your body, and each has its own set of benefits. Here are the main three types of massage you can adopt in your post-workout regime:
- CBD Deep Tissue Massage -This massage method involves rubbing in CBD lotion while directly applying firm pressure to your sore muscles. It effectively breaks down adhesions and collagen fibres as it aims to get deeper within the layers of tissue. Adhesions and collagen fibres are the common causes of reduction in natural post-exercise recovery and onset of pain. Adhesions restrict muscle movement, as it causes them to tighten and muscle stress to increase. Using CBD lotion to potentially break down adhesions and collagen fibres through deep tissue massage may improve recovery by enabling increased muscle movement, which in turn may possibly reduce pain.
- CBD Therapeutic massage -To complete a therapeutic massage, a series of long strokes are used when applying CBD lotion to the body. A range of pressure is used with the aim of manipulating the body’s muscle fibres and tissues, creating a therapeutic effect. It has been found that therapeutic massage may help improve exercise recovery by increasing relaxation and reducing muscle tension. When we do not recover properly, it may also have a negative psychological effect. A CBD-infused therapeutic massage may help stimulate the release of positive hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones promote relaxation, reduce pain, and improve mood. Why not add to your workout recovery regimen by including a CBD therapeutic massage? It has the potential to benefit you both physically and mentally.
- CBD Remedial Massage -Similarly to the above two massage styles, remedial massage is a popular option to aid recovery. It involves using a range of pressures while rubbing in the CBD lotion. The amount of pressure will depend on how sore your muscles or joints are. The aim of a CBD remedial massage is to manipulate both the superficial and deeper layers of tissue, potentially improving the muscle condition and increasing relaxation to reduce symptoms of fatigue, weakness, and movement restriction in the muscles. Remedial massage may also help repair damage caused by a fitness regimen by reducing restriction, which lessens the symptoms of pain and potentially speeds up recovery.
All three massage styles have their potential benefits, especially when used with CBD lotion. By adopting a holistic approach to your post-workout massage, you may enjoy all the potential benefits of massage with the added possibilities provided by topical CBD lotions.
Are CBD Lotions Legal?
CBD topicals such as CBD lotion are legal in the UK, but they must meet some pretty stringent requirements. To ascertain whether the CBD lotion is permitted to be manufactured, sold, and used, it must follow the following Home Office CBD conditions:
- The product is not intended to administer THC
- The product cannot be used to obtain THC
- The product comprises no more than 1mg of THC per container
Due to the CBD industry’s lack of regulation, you must have your wits about you when buying any cannabis-derived product. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 includes the controlled cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as THC. It is illegal to supply or possess
THC unless it is in a product that meets strict criteria, such as an ‘exempted product'.
UK law declares that, for CBD to be sold and bought legally, the quantity of controlled substance (meaning THC) cannot exceed 1 mg per container. This means that no CBD lotion products can contain over 1 mg of THC, irrespective of the container size. For example, if you buy a 50ml travel-sized CBD lotion, the maximum THC content is 1mg. In addition, you may also want to buy the same product, but in a larger tub size (such as a 200ml) to keep it in your bathroom, it can also only contain a maximum of 1mg of THC.
If the CBD lotion is considered legal, you are permitted to use it. As a consumer in the UK, you can purchase CBD lotions without a prescription in pharmacies, high street shops,
and online retailers. There is a vast range of CBD lotions on the market, so finding
a high-quality CBD lotion to suit your fitness regime is easy if you follow a few simple rules.
How To Choose The Best CBD Lotion For Your Fitness Regimen
There is a vast selection of CBD lotions available on the market and choosing the best lotion for your fitness regime comes down to personal preference. For example, there are CBD lotions out there that contain cooling and warming elements to help ease muscle soreness and aid recovery.
The type you choose will depend on what you need the CBD lotion to potentially help with as part of your lifestyle. For example, suppose you have a sore back after an intense weightlifting session, you may want to try massaging in a CBD cream containing capsicum (chilli pepper) before bed. It will help warm up and relax the sore back muscles, allowing you to possibly sleep more comfortably.
On a hot and humid day, you may be keen to get out there and run but simultaneously a bit concerned about the sweltering heat. There are CBD lotions available that contain menthol (a natural substance found in mint), which could make your hot run more bearable. Topical menthol has been found to provide a cooling sensation due to the alterations it may in skin-level blood flow. It may also be effective in reducing sweat rates. One study found that menthol’s effect increased running performance by up to 6% in hot and humid climates.
Whatever the reason for using CBD lotion, some general rules are worth following to ensure you’re buying a high-quality product. It is essential to pay close attention to the CBD dosage and THC content found within the product. Remember, the maximum volume legally permitted in the UK is 1mg THC per container.
When choosing any CBD product, even topical ones, you must carry out some research. The CBD industry is currently lacking in many regulations, so it is up to you as the consumer to make intelligent choices. Not all CBD lotions are created equal, so you need to make sure only to purchase and use CBD topicals that have been tested by a third party and have a measurable amount of CBD within the product.
In a scandalous study conducted in November 2017, a team of cannabis researchers tested 84 CBD products, and found only 31% of them were accurately labelled with the correct CBD amount. One of the easiest ways you can make sure the CBD manufacturer you are buying from is reputable is to check the product includes a certificate of analysis (COA) for a third-party lab test.
Another way to get some additional reassurance that the CBD lotion you have chosen to buy is made of high-quality ingredients is to check which country the hemp was sourced from. Each country has its own set of agricultural hemp farming regulations. If the CBD company sources from a district with stringent farming legislation (such as regular soil testing or organic growing initiatives), you will be more likely to end up with a top-shelf CBD lotion.
How Much CBD Lotion Should You Use?
One of the best parts of applying CBD lotions to your routines is they are generally straightforward to use. You simply need to identify the area on your body you find is painful or causing discomfort and apply the CBD lotion directly to the area for localised supplementation.
When using CBD lotion as part of your fitness regime, it is a very similar process to putting on a standard moisturiser. The factor that differs is that you need to figure out the best CBD dosage so that the process aids your workout, whether it’s for pre, during, or post-exercise. The first step is to determine how many milligrams of CBD there are in the CBD lotion you are applying. As discussed above, a high-quality product will have the CBD quantity clearly labelled on the packaging. Once you know the amount, you can use trial and error to determine how much CBD lotion is needed to achieve your desired potential effect.
A topical CBD lotion with a low CBD amount may be less effective than those with a higher concentration, but this is not always a negative. It is best to start with a low (but still viable) CBD dosage and gradually increase the amount of lotion used until you achieve the optimal therapeutic relief.
Whilst you are figuring out the best CBD dosage for your fitness regime, there is no risk of having adverse effects due to using too much. There are no reports of someone using too much CBD lotion leading to a nasty reaction. This means you have the freedom to experiment until you get the possible results you may be looking for from CBD.
How Does CBD Lotion Work?
During the 1990s, there was a group of cannabis scientists conducting some research into psychoactive cannabis compounds. Their study discovered a sophisticated cell-signalling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is so complicated that, 30 years on, we are still trying to completely understand how it works. However, it is known that it has a significant part in regulating many bodily functions and processes. For example:
- Skin and nerve function
The endocannabinoid system is present and exists in our bodies, even if you do not use cannabis-based products. The endocannabinoid system comprises of three main elements: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
- Endocannabinoids – These molecules are cannabinoids created naturally by our bodies. Researchers have so far detected two main endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The two endocannabinoids help keep our internal functions running smoothly. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids as and when needed, making it very difficult for researchers to determine the typical levels for each.
- Endocannabinoid Receptors – These receptors can be found throughout the entire body. Endocannabinoids connect to the receptors so they can communicate with the endocannabinoid system to tell it to take action. There are two kinds of endocannabinoid receptors: cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Endocannabinoids may attach to either receptor. The outcome will differ depending on where the receptor is situated, and what manner of endocannabinoid it connects to.
- Enzymes – The enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids after they have completed their intended function. There are two enzymes that are mainly responsible for this activity: FAAH and MAGL. FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) breaks down AEA (anandamide), while MAGL (monoacylglycerol acid lipase) usually breaks down 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol).
So, what happens when CBD enters the body? When we apply CBD onto the body, it does not directly trigger cannabinoid receptors. Cannabis-focused scientists are not entirely sure how CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system. Still, they have figured out that CBD does not bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors, so it does not cause the famous “high” associated with cannabis, and has no certain adverse effects.
Some research has shown CBD may work by inhibiting endocannabinoids from breaking down. This means CBD has the potential to allow endocannabinoids to possibly have a more significant impact on the body. Other scientists believe CBD may bind to a receptor which has not been discovered yet.
Although CBD lotions are recognised as safe by the international scientific community, there are some significant scientific data gaps to back their anecdotally reputed effectiveness. More research is required to fully understand why there are so many individual accounts of CBD lotions supporting professional athletes and the general public with fitness regimes.
This is not to say CBD lotions are merely skin-level placebos. There is some promising research on the way, but we are still a long way off understanding the full possible impacts of topical CBD use. Most studies are only allowed to be conducted via animal testing, so the expected final human outcomes are pretty tough to determine.
If you find yourself aching from workouts, a CBD lotion may be just what you need to supplement your fitness regime. So, while we are waiting for the research to be completed, let’s make the most of CBD’s potential benefits and include it in our fitness regimens.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.