Today’s athletes are known to take CBD to aid in the muscle recovery process, but does it really work, what does the science say about it, and what physical problems might CBD help alleviate? In this article we will look at all this and more.
Muscle recovery is a fundamental part of any athlete’s routine. Whether you run or bodybuild, you need a way to relieve the aches and pains your body experiences after an intense training session.
There are many medications that aim to provide immediate relief, but they also have unpleasant side effects and possible damage to your long-term health. However, there is also an alternative that many experts have been investigating as the new solution: cannabidiol.
CBD and muscle recovery
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids contained in the hemp plant, just like the mythical THC. However, unlike the latter, CBD does not get you high and offers a number of potential therapeutic benefits.
When CBD reaches the body, it interacts indirectly with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) through the inhibition of an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, a cannabinoid produced by our body. This substance, also known as the “happiness molecule”, binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in our ECS and manages aspects of our lives such as our mood, appetite, pain perception and fertility.
The sensation upon contact with this system is similar to “runner’s high”, or that feeling of joy and stress reduction caused by an endorphin rush.
And speaking of runners, it might be a good time to delve into the use of CBD for muscle recovery in athletes. You’ve probably heard a lot about it but how exactly does it work?
Well, before we dive right into the main topic, we’ll first briefly analyze why we feel soreness after a workout.
You see, when a muscle works harder than normal, micro-tears can start to occur in the muscle fibers. This is recognized as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and is a completely normal part of exercise. As they heal, they become a little more adapted to the new activity, and the next round of soreness will not hurt or last as long.
However, the recovery process is still quite painful and uncomfortable; cold compresses and rest may ease the process, but some people rely on painkillers to keep them going. As we mentioned before, these medications can not only cause a number of short-term side effects, but also damage to internal organs in the long run.
With the possibility of these problems in mind, scientists have begun to study all possible alternatives to provide a higher level of safety. Hemp, and specifically the cannabinoids it contains, have become the main focus of study in this process.
When it comes to pain management, researchers have found that CBD could go a long way in mitigating inflammation.
What makes it effective is its relationship with cannabinoid receptors in the SEC. Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, it is believed to bind to TRPV1 receptors, which are responsible for regulating body temperature, pain perception, and inflammation.
As mentioned above, CBD has also been shown to prevent the breakdown of anandamide, which is a great help to people in pain management.
It has been shown that once cannabidiol starts working with the CB2 receptors in the SEC, it can reduce the production of cytokines, also known as inflammatory proteins that are activated when the body senses danger. CBD also appears to reduce the body’s response to pain to normal levels.
CBD may contribute to an increase in an athlete’s pain threshold and also reduce muscle cramps and post-workout soreness.
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