CBD For Bodybuilding – Can It Really Help With Recovery And Growth?
We think that CBD has the potential to revolutionize the world of fitness. It has certainly been growing rapidly in popularity all around the world.
Anot not just any type of fitness, though the plant compound is likely good for general health and wellness too. No…CBD might just be the perfect natural tool for bodybuilders trying to gain muscle and recovery faster.
What is CBD? If you haven’t heard already, it’s the hemp plant’s primary active compound. Short for cannabidiol, CBD possesses a myriad of health benefits, most of them thanks to its ability to active the endocannabinoid system that each and every one of us has.
“In simple terms, CBD just works — which explains why it’s so popular.”
While the endocannabinoid system already works throughout the body to promote balance and homeostasis, sometimes it can use a little help. That’s where CBD comes into play; it supplement internal systems in order to encourage the body to heal itself.
As a former pro athlete, I’ve witnessed firsthand CBD’s ability to improve athletic recovery and promote muscle growth. Are you ready to position yourself to experience these same CBD-fueled benefits?
If so…read on. But first, it’s important to note that there are many rate-limiting factors that hinder our ability to lift weights, gain muscle, and push to the max in any given exercise.
Some of these factors are good (ie, they prevent cardiac damage), while others (like lactic acid buildup) are worth trying to overcome. CBD tends to alleviate and/or improve upon many of these physiological limiters — and that’s exciting for virtually any bodybuilder.
CBD For Muscle Growth: Great in Theory and Workable in Practice
In theory, CBD is fantastic for muscle growth. It seems to indirectly boost growth factors like IGF-1, which has been definitively implicated in building muscle. CBD may also optimize (generally by raising) levels of a hormone called leptin.
When leptin is higher, muscles become more relaxed on a deep level, so much so that high leptin is correlated with greater lean body mass.
Fighting Inflammation at Its Source
One of CBD’s most general effects is its ability to reduce inflammation. It’s also one of the compound’s most important — especially for bodybuilders.
Chronic inflammation means reduced recovery time, which necessitates reduced training volume, which reduces time under tension, which means less stimulus for muscle growth, which means…less muscle.
Not good for any type of athlete, especially not for bodybuilders who are constantly trying to max out their genetic potential.
Perhaps most impressive about CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities is that they’re localized. In other words, CBD reduces inflammatory markers like interleukin-6 only in the specific areas where they’ve been too high for too long. A little inflammation is needed to promote adaptation, after all.
CBD As a Post-Workout Supplement
CBD isn’t your typical post-workout. It’s not a mecca for fast-absorbing carbs or anabolic proteins; in fact, it doesn’t contain many calories at all!
But take CBD in conjunction with your typical PWO, and things get exciting. That’s because CBD promotes insulin sensitivity, meaning that any calories taken in during that critical post-workout window will get shuttled to exactly where they need to be.
CBD: A Muscle’s Best Friend
CBD may also promote optimal electrolyte balance. After all, the endocannabinoids it helps mediate are produced, in part, due to calcium levels. As stress in a muscle increases, so does its intracellular calcium content.
This triggers a chain reaction where endocannabinoids are pushed out of the cell membrane and propelled onwards to send their messages. Since CBD helps with this process, it’s likely to help promote muscle PH and reduce lactic acid buildup, as well.
Does CBD Reduce Cortisol?
Yes! According to this 1993 study, CBD reduces cortisol more powerfully than almost anything else found in nature. That’s important, because chronically high cortisol is the single toughest barrier to athletic performance there is. Left unchecked, cortisol hurts sleep quality and promotes catabolism, or breakdown, of muscle tissue.
What About CBD’s Impact on Testosterone?
Research is unclear in this area. Early testing done with the psychoactive cannabinoid THC showed reductions in testosterone levels, but that hasn’t really been observed with pure CBD. As we stated earlier, CBD reduces cortisol, which generally increases testosterone, but it seems like individual results may vary.
Fighting Muscle Cramps with CBD
Cramps are usually caused by one of three things: electrolyte imbalances, lactic acid buildup, or neuromuscular misfiring. CBD might just help with all three!
It seems to play a role in mediating calcium channels; it promotes fat metabolism, which produces less lactate than carb burning does; it even functions as a neuroprotectant, which may help the CNS stay functional during intense exercise. Not bad at all for a single molecule.
CBD Cream for Muscle Pain
With effects like these, it’s only natural to become interested in how CBD is best applied. While CBD oils are popular for good reason, topical application may be ideal for sore muscles.
A 2016 study found that transdermal creams are best because their CBD content penetrates deeper into muscles and quickly ‘quiets down’ pain receptors there.
Healthy ECS = Healthy Hormones
CBD is good for hormone health in general. It potentially boosts leptin, lowers cortisol, regulates insulin, and reduces the risk of low testosterone. Don’t forget that CBD’s gentle activation of the endocannabinoid system is behind it all.
Is CBD illegal?
No, CBD derived from the hemp plant is totally legal in all fifty States, thanks in large part to the 2018 Federal Farm Bill.
Ready to Try for Yourself?
While there’s already some impressive research out there, we’re just scratching the surface of understanding CBD’s impact on athletic performance. Any scientific discovery goes through several stages, and usually human experiences — not clinical trials — are the firestarter for this process.
Besides, many medical professionals aren’t aware of what’s already out there in the existing research. According to Dr. Ethan Russo, “research […] remain so controversial in the U.S. despite the incredible body of evidence surrounding the discovery of the endocannabinoid system.”
But the experiences of athletes speak for themselves. Though not a bodybuilder, it’s telling that strongman Eddie Hall recommends CBD oil. One of the best powerlifters in the word, Eddie says this of CBD: “…it can reduce pain, it can reduce inflammation, massively…genuinely amazing.”
If that’s not a strong statement, we’re not sure what is. Ready to try CBD for yourself?