CBD Oil – Is It For Me?
CBD oil is one of the hottest new “health” trends on the market today. But what is it? What does it do? Is it “good” for you? How do you use it?
Let’s start with the basics.
What is it?
CBD is cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis. Unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high. It is not the same as hemp oil, though there may be CBD present in hemp oil, especially hemp described as “full spectrum” but there’s no guarantee as to how much. It’s best to purchase CBD directly from a reputable dealer – which often means buying online – so you know exactly what you’re getting.
What is it good for?
CBD has been proven in a large group of case studies to reduce anxiety and stress, and to improve sleep. Chronic stress, which trains your brain to feel anxious, can cause inflammation (the bad kind). Lack of sleep exacerbates a host of poor health issues, besides making us just plain miserable, as anyone with a newborn can attest! So if you’re looking for a non-pharmaceutical solution to reducing anxiety and stress, and improving sleep, CBD may be the answer for you.
When it comes to training, however, it is not as well-studied or clear cut. There is a growing but conflicting body of work that leaves things inconclusive for the moment as to whether or not you should take CBD to enhance physical recovery.
Many studies support the use of CBD as a recovery tool because of two main reasons – its ability to improve sleep and its efficacy in reducing inflammation. The sleep issue we introduced above. Sleep is one of the biggest weak spots for many of us. We sacrifice sleep in order to get more things done in a day, or we simply don’t prioritize sleep as essential to our health and well-being. But there’s no getting around it. If you want to improve your performance – in the gym, at home, in relationships, or at work – sleep is one of the most important things to get right.
When it comes to inflammation, it’s a bit more complicated. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. If you are someone who experiences a lot of stress in life, using CBD may help lower chronically high cortisol levels. But not all inflammation is bad for you. The inflammatory response is the healing response, and training adaptations occur in response to the inflammatory effect of exercise. CBD can blunt inflammation too much, reducing your training adaptations in the process.
So should I take it or not?
For sleep, anxiety, and chronic stress? Absolutely. To enhance your training? It depends. There is a lot more yet to learn about CBD and training. If you’re inclined to try it, the good news is that it’s relatively low-risk. Give it a shot and see what you notice. If it works for you, and you find yourself recovering more quickly, terrific! If you find that it’s negatively affecting your training, all you need to do is stop taking it. You’ll recover those gains in no time.
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