Some of the best-selling post-workout supplements on the market are those that contain glutamine. And this is for good reason as glutamine has been shown to improve immune function, stimulate recovery, and preserve protein stores in the body when taken immediately after an intense workout.
Of course, those who are serious about getting the most out of their gym sessions, which often means getting stronger and building even more muscle, are always on the lookout for new supplements that can help them craft the physique of their dreams, become a better athlete, or achieve what they believe is their personal best.
Although not a post-workout supplement per se, many individuals have now started looking to products that contain cannabidiol (CBD), particularly oils, tinctures, and salves, to help them reach these same goals and many more.
For those who are not as familiar with CBD, it is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa plant, which, coincidentally, is the same plant that contains THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana that produces a euphoric high when smoked or consumed as an edible.
However, this is where the similarities end; CBD contains properties that have been proven to be effective in resolving a wide range of health problems, such as chronic pain, diabetes, and even neurological disorders.
Also worth noting, in 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication prescribed to treat seizures brought on by Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome.
To further put into perspective the health benefits associated with CBD and CBD-based products, a study published by the New York Times revealed that 60 percent of individuals use CBD to combat anxiety while 80 percent use it to relieve chronic pain.
Now, the health benefits of CBD are presenting themselves in a big way in the fitness industry, according to several recent studies.
In short, CBD has been shown to interact favorably with the body's endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system that plays several critical roles in the central nervous system. More than that, the endocannabinoid system helps with several metabolic functions, such as energy storage and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
When used after a strenuous workout, CBD has been found to work in conjunction with the endocannabinoid system to regulate metabolism and also ease pain and inflammation, all of which can speed up your post-workout recovery and get you back in the gym that much sooner.
Now that we have a general understanding of how CBD can help speed up your post-workout recovery, let's take a closer look at what makes this particular cannabinoid a compelling choice for those who want to get the most out of their workouts:
While regular exercise can benefit your overall health, it can also cause inflammation. And this same inflammation can give way to pain and, worse yet, injuries. In short, when you exercise, small micro-tears occur in the tissue that makes up your muscles. These micro-tears eventually cause what is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which explains why so many people feel sore within hours or days after an intense workout.
That said, the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD can help reduce inflammation, which, in turn, minimizes or even eliminates DOMS. Something else to note, in a 2017 study published by the National Institute of Health, CBD was found to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation brought on by arthritis.
Although reducing inflammation is generally enough to ease painful symptoms brought on by an intense workout, CBD takes things one step further. According to a 2016 study published by the National Institute of Health, CBD gel was effective in blocking pain signals that would otherwise travel to the brain and was able to do so while producing little to no side effects.
Most exercise physiologists will agree that getting enough sleep is a great way to speed up your post-workout recovery. And CBD and CBD-based products can help you in this regard as well, according to a study conducted by the University of Colorado. In the study, which included 72 participants, those who admitted to finding it difficult to get a good night's sleep and took CBD capsules experienced a 67 percent improvement in sleep quality.
Along with pain and inflammation, many people report experiencing cramps and muscle spasms following an intense workout. Fortunately, the natural anticonvulsant properties in CBD can help relieve these symptoms as well, according to several scientific studies.
Several studies show that CBD can also benefit those who play football and other contact sports where head trauma is a common occurrence as CBD contains neuroprotective properties that have been proven to help individuals struggling with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
For those who are not familiar with CTE, it is a neurodegenerative disorder commonly associated with repetitive head and brain trauma. That said, CBD has been shown to help ease the following CTE-related symptoms:
In summation, CBD is an excellent alternative to many of the post-workout supplements currently on the market as it provides significantly more benefits and causes little to no side effects. Furthermore, CBD has been shown to contribute to better overall health even among those who do not exercise. As a result, CBD is not only growing in popularity but also in terms of accessibility as more retailers have begun carrying multiple products that contain the health-boosting cannabinoid.