CBD as a supplement in bodybuilding regimens continues to gain traction with the public. This trend is based on in-depth studies that have been carried out on several athletes with encouraging results.
Regarding bodybuilding, CBD offers a broad list of advantages with only a few potential drawbacks.
Common sports issues, including muscular discomfort, injury healing, recuperation periods, and getting well-rested, are frequently managed with CBD. Terpene-rich full spectrum extracts are thought to be the most ideal for bodybuilding.
But before we query the use of CBD in bodybuilding, what is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds that exist naturally in the cannabis sativa plant.
The primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for the "high" frequently linked with smoking marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive like THC.
Due to this characteristic, CBD-based supplements are increasingly preferred by people seeking pain relief and other ailments without the psychoactive effects of cannabis or other adverse side effects associated with other prescription medications.
There have been debates about cannabis and bodybuilding in recent years. The main points of contention in the discussions on whether or not marijuana might aid a bodybuilder in reaching their bodybuilding objectives are testosterone levels, hunger, muscle recovery, and performance.
This is probably not what CBD lovers want to hear, but there's no tangible proof that CBD promotes muscle development. In fact, by reducing protein synthesis, CBD may slow down muscular growth.
However, it has an array of benefits that could help bodybuilders gain muscle mass.
CBD may reduce pain and inflammation
For example, it is believed that CBD may support post-workout inflammation and pain, thus helping athletes recover much faster.
This essentially means you could train more if you could recover faster. In so doing, you would most likely grow more muscle. This notwithstanding, the reality is that no bodybuilder will gain crazy muscle mass without working for it – CBD or no CBD.
A recent observational study investigating the prevalence of CBD among professional rugby players indicated that 25% of the athletes surveyed were using or had used CBD.
They cited pain relief and better sleep quality as the main reasons for using CBD. Interestingly, most players (80-90%) reported faster muscle recovery when taking CBD.
CBD may improve sleep quality
Moreover, anybody who wants to be healthy and grow muscle has to get enough sleep. In fact, sleep may as well be the most critical factor in maintaining your health. Gaining muscle and reducing body fat may be impractical if you don't get enough sleep.
Since sleep disorders like insomnia are so common, many individuals do not get enough sleep. According to research, as many as 30-48% of adults have insomnia. In the U.S. alone, some 70 million have a sleep disorder, and 35% of adults do not get the required 7-9 hours of sleep.
But why is sleep important to a bodybuilder?
Because during sleep, the body produces hormones that aid in disease prevention, growth, muscular development, and repair of physical injuries. Moreover, other hormones, crucial for growth and development, are released while you sleep.
CBD is a natural compound that holds much promise for its ability to enhance sleep quality, allowing you to keep achieving your fitness goals at the gym. After your workout session, CBD products may help you to relax more easily and potentially sleep better when you get home.
Other hormones produced during sleep influence other bodily functions like energy use, which explains why diseases such obesity are common among people who don't get enough sleep.
Sleep also affects performance. Studies indicate losing one hour of sleep reduces your focus and response time. Sticking to a workout routine requires laser-sharp focus and discipline, which is why redundant gym memberships typically outnumber active memberships.
So if you want to continue hitting the gym and gain muscles, it is important to sleep enough.
CBD may relieve stress and anxiety
Other ways CBD impacts muscle growth involves relate to stress.
Stress leads to the production of cortisol, which, among other things, modulates the "fight or flight" response mechanism. However, if released in large quantities, cortisol can slow muscle development. Fortunately, CBD may support in the reduction of stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels.
CBD has anti-catabolic qualities that aid in controlling the body's hormonal balance.
In a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, the researchers found that cortisol levels were much lower in subjects who consumed CBD oil.
This implies CBD may boost muscle development and protein synthesis during weight training.
CBD may reduce muscle spasms
Researchers looking for therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS)—an autoimmune disorder that affects the neurological system—have conducted a significant amount of studies on the use of cannabis for muscular spasms.
In essence, cannabinoids like CBD connect with cannabinoid receptors and inhibit the production of inflammatory proteins, thus reducing muscular spasms.
In a 2019 study, CBD and THC were combined to see if they could reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (spasms). Overall, the research showed that THC + CBD may reduce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and suppresses neuroinflammation.
CBD oil bodybuilding
Undoubtedly, the number of athletes using CBD is growing, be it in competitive or non-competitive sports. CBD comes in many forms, including lotions, creams, edibles, gummies, and oils.
One reason bodybuilders would prefer using CBD oil is its higher bioavailability. The oil is usually a carrier element that allows for the convenient use of CBD. Certain oils like MCT oil create higher quality CBD oil products because of increased bioavailability.
This is because MCT oil has medium-length fat chains, making it easy to digest compared to oils with longer chains of fatty acids. The implication is that a lot more CBD reaches your systemic circulation than if you take CBD gummies and edibles, for instance.
This mainly has to do with a process called first-pass metabolism. The process reduces the concentration of a substance that reaches systemic circulation due to partial absorptions in the gut and liver. It's often observed in oral administrations.
Because CBD oil is often taken sublingually (placed under the tongue), it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing hepatic and gastric acid enzymes.
When this happens, you get enough CBD in your system to:
- Help reduce muscle aches and joint pains so you can recover faster and continue training
- Help you sleep better, giving the body time to repair and heal
- Lower blood pressure to negate the effects of hormonal supplements noted to affect blood pressure
- Improve digestion because bodybuilders typically eat a lot! Poor digestion may lead to bloating, stomach pain, inflammation, and nutrient deficiency
It may require a balancing act to get CBD oil to work for you because, despite all the positives, this product also has properties that seem to work against muscle development.
For instance, CBD oil may decrease appetite, meaning eating lesser calories.
Losing weight is ideal for someone seeking to get into shape, but if you're working to gain mass, this CBD trait is one that you may want to find ways to overcome.
CBD and strength training
Bodybuilding is a high-energy sport which partially explains why bodybuilders eat a lot. CBD may also play a role in boosting their energy supply throughout the day.
A lot of things can affect our energy levels. Chronic health issues, including poor nutrition, stress, and sleep deprivation may all hinder your productivity. At the moment, there isn't much proof to suggest that CBD can boost energy levels.
However, like in muscle gain, CBD may indirectly boost energy levels by resolving the symptoms that typically affect them like supporting better sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, and managing pain.
CBD and working out
You need to be in the appropriate frame of mind and have the physical energy to put in a solid workout session.
Taking CBD before you start could be helpful by addressing the following:
Some individuals take coffee before working out to rev up their energy levels. However, coffee is potentially detrimental to your energy reserves due to post-caffeine crashes and dehydration.
A CBD supplement, on the other hand, may support your body holistically and stimulate constant energy flow throughout the day.
A lot of reasons can cause pre-workout anxiety. For example, you may worry you won't perform at your peak during the training session. Or, maybe you don't want to appear inexperienced using new weight equipment.
Regardless of your reasons, incorporating CBD into your pre-workout may help calm your nerves if anxiety prevents you from training as hard as you should.
Muscle aches and soreness
Sometimes, your muscles can be sore and achy that you struggle to work out. These are indications that the muscles are adapting to new activity levels, so it's a good thing.
However, if the pains and aches are too intense, you simply won't train. CBD may be helpful in such scenarios because it may delay the onset of pain and soreness.
It does this by aiding the restoration of the body to its normal state. You may not feel the initial signals of stress and exhaustion as strongly if your internal systems are functioning correctly. This can help you extend your workout by adding more reps or minutes.
Stretching and warming up before a workout is hugely beneficial.
Why? Because tension often plays a role in causing muscle soreness and stiffness. The good news is that CBD may shorten warm-up times before a workout session since it is known to increase blood flow and ease muscle tension.
Whether you take CBD before or after workouts depends on your challenges and goals. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence suggests many people benefit from incorporating CBD into their workout routines.
Weight management with CBD
According to preliminary studies, CBD may increase metabolism while decreasing food intake, which may help people lose weight. It is common knowledge that a faster metabolism enables us to burn more calories than we ingest.
The active ingredients in cannabis products help your body by improving the concentration and activity of cellular mitochondria. These adjustments enable us to burn more calories.
Moreover, when you take CBD, all these changes occur in your body, accompanied by reduced appetite. As such, you will require less food (calories) to feel satisfied. Therefore, it is easier to lose more calories than you take due to high metabolism.
Further, the capacity to trigger a process known as "fat browning" contributes significantly to CBD's effectiveness in weight management. CBD functions by converting the body's white adipose tissues into brown adipose tissues.
Compared to white adipose tissues, which often get stored, brown adipose tissues help burn excess fat.
Does CBD affect muscle growth?
Considering the preceding, it is easy to see how CBD affects muscle growth. It may not directly make you gain muscle mass, but its activities on the side go a long way in helping you achieve your bodybuilding goals.
Can CBD help athletes build muscle?
The key to gaining muscle mass is consuming more calories than you expend, meaning a net positive energy balance.
About 2,800 calories are required to add one pound of muscle to sustain protein turnover. This can be achieved through elevated training.
CBD can help athletes build muscles by helping alleviate the factors that hinder effective training (stress and anxiety, low energy levels, poor digestion, and insufficient sleep), allowing you to focus on achieving your weightlifting goals.
Best CBD products for muscle growth
As we mentioned earlier, CBD by itself won’t make you grow muscles. But, it can help treat a lot of other aspects that are linked to healthy muscle development. That’s why, we recommend you try some of our products to help you build muscle more effectively.
Our first recommendation is our Premium CBD Drops. These are the most straightforward way to get CBD in your system, either sublingually or mixed into your favorite foods or beverages.
These are great to use at any time of the day when you need to relax your mind and body. They’re available in 3 potencies and 5 delicious flavors so you can get the one that fits your needs.
If you’re more sweet-toothed, then our Premium CBD Gummies are for you. These delicious treats offer a nice dose of 25mg of CBD per piece and come in three mouthwatering fruity flavors. Just pop one in when you want a bit of relaxation throughout your day.
To help relieve physical pain, we suggets you try our Relief Cream. This topical combines 500mg of CBD with camphor oil to calm your pain; aloe, shea butter and arnica which help reduce inflammation; and eucalyptus, menthol and wintergreen oil that provide a sense of cooling relief.
Apply it 3-4 times a day on the affected area to melt your discomfort away. You can also use it without pain to prevent it from happening.
For something to impvoce your sleep, try FOCL Night. These capsules combine our premium broad spectrum CBD with a blend of five soothing botanicals including ashwaghanda, valerian, and passion flower, to give you the best all-natural sleep aid.
Take 2 capsules before bed and enjoy a night of deep, restorative sleep.