CBD & Sport
Despite past concern over combining the two, we now know that cannabinoids and sport are intrinsically intertwined.
When we exercise, be that at an amateur or professional level, our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids to help boost performance, endurance and recovery. In fact, many experts now believe that the famous ‘runners high’ we experience when pushing ourselves to the limit (in a good way!) is actually more to do with these than other chemicals like endorphins. So, it makes sense that CBD can be used as an exceptional sports supplement.
Thankfully, this has now been so widely recognised that CBD is officially legal to use in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations, particularly products certified by the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) – a program which checks for 276 drugs on the WADA Prohibited List and 220 over-the-counter, illicit, or prescription drugs, as well as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and microbiological agents.
If you’re thinking about adding CBD to your fitness routine or sport of choice, you’re probably wondering what this supplement has to give. After all, how can something used as a sleep aid also serve as an energy stimulus? And is the muscle recovery potential all it’s cracked up to be? We’re here to explain all.
Using CBD to support muscle recovery
You know those savage muscle aches you can get after an intense workout? That’s something called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, which occurs when your muscles are healing, strengthening and growing. It’s to be expected, and through the pain many even find it strangely enjoyable to some degree. But, past a certain point, it can be somewhat debilitating and even prevent you from making gains and reaching goals during your next session.
However, CBD oil (or transdermal CBD products) may help take that pain down from unbearable, to satisfying. This occurs via multiple mechanisms:
The Endocannabinoid System
As you’ll have already learned by reading our deep dive into the endocannabinoid system (ECS), this complex network that spans the entire body is our homeostatic regulator. Its receptors can be found just about everywhere, from every skin cell, into our muscles, throughout our other physiological systems and right down into our mitochondrial cell walls.
This system plays a vital role in not only getting the most out of your sports performance, but recovery too – in a variety of ways. And its function is supported by CBD oil.
ECS receptors can be found throughout the immune system, which controls the inflammation response. Because of this, the activation and workings of the ECS plays a big role in reducing the inevitable inflammation caused by intense physical exercise (resulting in muscle pain).
Our ECS can be activated by both our endocannabinoids (Anandamide & 2-AG), and phytocannabinoids from the hemp plant CBD oil is derived from.
When you exercise, you produce endocannabinoids to help bring your body back into balance – this is actually now thought to be the main thing behind the euphoric ‘runners high’ sensation. When you take CBD, you also support the natural synthesis and release of both endocannabinoids. By using a full spectrum product, which contains a range of cannabinoids including CBG and sometimes even THC at a very low level, you also directly the ECS with phytocannabinoids for an extra helping hand.
By reducing inflammation and supporting the healing process, you will still reap the benefits but in less discomfort.
Anti-Oxidants for Sports Recovery
As well as producing anti-inflammatory effects, the widespread distribution of our ECS receptors with endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids may also regulate oxidative stress, therefore producing anti-oxidant effects. Some experts believe taking anti-oxidant supplements or enjoying an anti-oxidant rich diet can help relieve muscle soreness and restore muscle function.
Encourage Muscle Growth
Taking a regular dose of CBD oil could also assist with building muscle – something most of us are striving for when working out to achieve a strong, healthy body, not just body builders! Research has indicated that when the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is activated, it produces an anti-catabolic response which prevents the body losing muscle mass.
Some studies have shown that CBD can reduce muscle spasticity and accelerate muscle recovery via transdermal products.
An unexpected energy boost
Although CBD is perhaps best known for it’s relaxing capabilities, this molecule can be used to boost energy – particularly when combined with stimulating terpenes and other adaptogens. In fact, Canabidiol (CBD) was dubbed a potential ‘wake-promoting agent’ in a 2014 study published in Current Neuropharmacology.
Further research needs to be conducted to fully understand why this is, but experts believe it’s likely to be down the way CBD directly activates serotonin and dopamine receptors, the support of a bliss-inducing flow of endocannabinoid anandamide, while the activation of the ECS helps to regulate of blood sugar levels and cortisol release.
Incredibly, this is really just touching on the ways that CBD oil can support a better workout and balanced body overall! It’s no wonder that so many professional athletes all over the work are making this supplement a mainstay in their gym bag.
CBD & MOOD
When you think of CBD, one of the first things that comes to mind is likely to be its purported effects on mood. Millions of people all over the world use CBD products on a daily basis to help maintain an air of calm and happiness – something which can be a challenge in the face of modern day stressors, particularly after the year we’ve just had.
But does CBD really make a difference to our emotional balance? And if so, how?
As with every studied benefit of the cannabis sativa plant La Rue Verte CBD oil is derived from, it’s clear that the CBD molecule and 120+ other cannabinoids work in various unique ways with the human body. There’s not one action cannabis has which restores equilibrium in the mind and body, but many. In this blog we’re going to take a look at a few mood-balancing mechanisms that have been discovered in the incredible 41,000 studies now conducted on cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.
Did you know?
There have been more studies delving into the inner workings of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system than any pharmaceutical drug or physiological system.
The Bliss Molecule
We’ve said in before and we’ll say it again – one of the most amazing things about the cannabis plant is the way cannabinoids (like CBD) nudge the body into proper function. Through a completely unique interaction with the endocannabinoid system, CBD oil gives you the support you need to sort things out, naturally. This leads to our natural state of homeostasis, unlike many pharmaceuticals which often replace what’s missing or supress something that’s overactive eventually leading to further imbalances down the line.
When it comes to mood, this action which plays a huge part in reduce stress and enhancing joy. Upon taking a dose of CBD oil, the CBD molecule swiftly attaches to certain receptors through our in-built endocannabinoid system. But rather than fitting like a lock and key to trigger activity (like THC) it binds ‘imperfectly’, meaning it blocks the entry for its usual inhabitant – our own endocannabinoid anandamide (also known as the bliss molecule). Now, although this may sound unhelpful, in actual fact it’s this mechanism which then supports the release and longevity of anandamide in our bloodstream. This is further sustained by CBDs inhibition of the FAAH enzyme which would ordinarily (rapidly) break anandamide down.
So, what happens when we allow our bodies to enjoy an extra surge of anandamide? Stress is not only reduced, but our ability to manage stressful situations can change (read more about that is our blog covering Stress Management. Our mood is elevated, thanks to a rush of bliss that anandamide imparts. And perhaps most importantly, we are presented with a chance to replenish depleted levels of endocannabinoids, which cannabis expert Ethan Russo believes lies at the root cause of many, many mental and physical ailments.
CBD & Serotonin
Although CBD sits imperfectly in ECS receptors, it does fit like a lock and key in others, including serotonin receptors. This gives the go ahead to release feel-good chemical serotonin, which is responsible for regulating a variety of functions, including mood, sleep, digestion, sexual function and memory. Having healthy amounts of serotonin released in the body is vital for stable mood and an overall sense of wellbeing.
One little known fact about serotonin is that, although it’s considered to be a brain chemical, the intestines make about 95% of your body’s supply of it! Because of this a healthy diet, along with food supplements like CBD, can go a long way in ensuring appropriate serotonin levels.
Can CBD be used with SSRIs?
There is still a big question mark over interactions between CBD and pharmaceutical drugs, but as time goes by and more studies are performed we are starting to form some cogent answers. Most medical cannabis experts believe that CBD is safe, non-toxic and fine to use alongside most medications, although there is evidence to suggest that CBD in very high doses may slow down the metabolism and flushing of pharmaceutical drugs. This is caused by CBD inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes.
However, there is a lot of ‘real world evidence’ to suggest that taking CBD with SSRIs presents no issue. They’re a very common combo, given CBD’s well-documented, positive impact on stress, depression and anxiety and plenty of doctors and researchers who know their stuff about cannabis happily prescribe the two together.
The choice is ultimately yours, but as ever with CBD the key is to start low and go slow – build up your dose gradually, keep a journal of your experience to note any changes to your mood and overall wellbeing, and find the amount that works best for you.
Want to know more about CBD dosage? You’ll find everything you need to know here.
A lot about the past year has been extremely challenging. The unprecedented lifestyle changes we have all adopted out of care and consideration for ourselves and others. The uncertainty of the future we face. Not to mention the anxiety which now bubbles up for so many on a daily basis. But in amongst the tough times, there have been glimmering beacons of light – of kindness, of progress, of incredible transformational change and of a reconnection to nature. And one of those ever-brightening torches of hope, offering a lifeline to those who could do with a helping hand getting their wellbeing back on track, is CBD.
In more usual circumstances, we’d now be looking forward to the upcoming Christmas break as a time for unwinding with loved ones. But given the uncustomary events of this year, and as a result the restrictions we are all facing during the festive period, it’s likely that if anything many of us are feeling more anxious – not exactly what we need to get into the holiday spirit!
Although CBD can’t take away the problems of the world or give you your family sitting down for Christmas dinner, what is can do is help you maintain a sense of balance in the face of this unfamiliar landscape.
Help your mind and body relax
There’s no point pretending that you’re not anxiety-riddled if you are – according to mentalhealth.org.uk, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope during the past year. This isn’t something you should feel the need to hide, or believe is out of your control. There are many ways you can help yourself, so together, let’s face stress head on with a mission to find healthy ways to soothe your mind, organise your thoughts and support your body.
When you’re under a lot of pressure it can seem beyond the realm of possibility to take some time out, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is one of the best things you can do – even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. We can all find that time somewhere.
Ayurvedic coach and Neom’s resident sleep expert, Alison Franci explains ‘Our brain during waking time is usually in Beta waves (busy daytime brain waves). That’s very tiring for the mind when there’s literally no downtime. We’re constantly wired. We grab the phone as soon as we wake up to check emails and we’re still there in the evening doing the same thing in-between all the running around.’
She continues ‘The brain needs to quiet down in order to connect to creativity and truth. When the brain is in that state, it’s in Alpha waves. That’s not watching TV or scrolling Facebook on the sofa, it’s time when you’re just being present with no distractions.’
Crafting, reading, meditating or enjoying a screen-free game or crossword are all perfect examples of the downtime we need to reconnect with the part of the brain where we process emotion and experience. By doing this, you can drastically reduce stress and give even the most anxious mind the much-needed opportunity to relax. According to NASA scientists, 26 minutes is the optimum time needed to dramatically improve mental and physical health and personal relationships and unleash new bounds of productivity and creativity! But getting to the point where you feel able to just stop and prioritise your own wellbeing when you’re burdened by stress can be tough. And this is where CBD steps in.
CBD – the natural support you need
Taking a little CBD oil during times of acute stress or anxiety can help restore balance right away. This is partly thanks to this molecules direct activation of serotonin receptors and its ability to support the release and spread of ‘bliss molecule’ anandamide. This endocannabinoid (a cannabinoid created within the body) acts a bit like a gatekeeper for stress signalling – when enough anandamide is present in the brain and bloodstream, it will regulate the release of stress hormone cortisol and only let it out when really needed.
Better still, if you’re prone to stress and overwhelm on a regular basis, taking CBD every day can help to keep your stress-responses in check overall, preventing the unnecessary triggering of the fight or flight response in the first place.
Making CBD a part of your daily routine, ideally through microdosing (taking small amounts throughout the day) can help your physical and emotional wellbeing return to neutral. This gives you a much clearer path to begin working on your wellbeing in other ways, like the down time mentioned above, as well as helping maintain a sense of calm and relaxation, even in high pressure situations.
CBD oil drops are not the only option!
Did you know you can also get CBD infused bath bombs to make your unwinding bathing rituals all-the-more relaxing? Take a look at our range on lrvskincare.co.uk for some luxury offerings.
Want to know more about how CBD can support you? Take a look at our other blogs for all the info you need!
When you think of cannabis sativa, alertness, energy and focus probably aren’t the first things that come to mind – but the more we learn about this wonder-plant, the more surprises we discover. As it turns out, the CBD molecule in hemp has shown promise as a ‘wake promoting agent’, providing an all-natural jump start and focus-puller to those who need it.
But how is this possible? You’d be right in thinking that CBD is extremely popular for inducing a restful slumber, so it seems beyond the realm of possibility that this phytocannabinoid could serve as a pick-me-up – but for many, it does.
Although not officially classed as an adaptogen, CBD and a variety of other phytocannabinoids in the hemp plant do appear to behave in an adaptogenic manner. These molecules are now believed to have a range of different affects through multiple pathways in the brain and body, and what’s more, these can be different from one user to the next depending on a number of factors, including:
- What your body is lacking or overwhelmed by.
- Production of your own endocannabinoids.
- Your metabolism, which can differ dramatically from person to person depending on what your body is breaking down and how it deals with each thing.
- Your weight, blood volume and age.
- Which terpenes are present – either naturally or infused in a CBD oil.
But today, let’s look at CBD on its own and explore the theories on how it impacts energy and focus…
Increased Blood-flow to the Brain
We’re at an extremely exciting point in history with cannabis research. The more we gain (and spread) awareness of the potential this plant holds, the more perceptions change and the more studies are able to take place. Over the past 20 years, the pace has really picked up and now we’re starting to see fascinating results from long-haul studies, as well as new ideas opening up for exploration.
A very recent study, published in August 2020 by UCL researchers, indicated that CBD can increase blood flow to the Hippocampus – the region of the brain associated with memory, decision making and emotion. It was also noted in the study, in which participants were given 600mg of CBD, that no significant blood flow increase occurred in other parts of the brain. When held alongside other neuroanatomical studies into the hippocampus, which have indicated a direct link between this part of the brain and energy regulation, this makes for a very exciting discovery! And certainly begins to paint a clearer picture too, in terms of why CBD may increase energy levels.
Activation of Serotonin Receptors
You may know a bit about how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, but did you know that this molecule also directly activates serotonin receptors?
The link between serotonin and energy has been very well established within the scientific community – higher levels go hand in hand with higher energy and positive mood, while lower levels can contribute to low energy and depression and are often seen in patients suffering chronic fatigue and central nervous fatigue.
Natural Dopamine Boost
Cannabidiol (CBD) has also been shown to directly activate dopamine receptors, which has been of vital importance to researchers exploring potential therapeutic use for those with ADHD.
ADHD is one of the most common behavioural problems in the UK (present in 8% to 12% of children, and 4% of adults worldwide) and is characterised by a number of behaviours and symptoms, including finding it very difficult to focus. There are working theories which suggest people with ADHD tend to have an imbalance of dopamine, a key hormone and neurotransmitter. One small study published in 2013 found that Ritalin significantly increased levels of dopamine in the brain of ADHD patients, with the result of improved attention in participants with and without ADHD.
Unfortunately, Ritalin (which is widely prescribed for ADHD) has a raft of unpleasant side effects and hefty potential for abuse. CBD, on the other hand, does not – according to the World Health Organisation.
A ‘Wake-Promoting’ Agent
A 2014 study published in Current Neuropharmacology dubbed CBD a ‘wake-promoting agent’ after repeated testing showed increased alertness after administration. The group hypothesised that dopamine release may play a role, as could the supported release of our own endocannabinoid Anandamide, but further investigations need to take place before we can fully understand the mechanism.
But don’t worry! If you’re hoping to get a little shut-eye after taking your CBD, this study still showed that despite wakefulness at around the hour mark after taking, the rats tested on did still experience an enhanced total percentage of sleep overall.
As time goes on, we will learn more and more about how CBD impacts the brain and body, and hopefully we can soon start to fully understand not only the mechanisms by which it works, but how best to use it.
CBD & BIOAVAILABILITY
Finding the perfect dose of CBD for you is a very personal thing. It comes down to why you’re using CBD oil in the first place, how old you are, how much you weigh, your genetic sensitivity and, of equal importance, the method of taking CBD you’re using.
If you’d like to get the most of of our CBD products (who wouldn’t?) and adjust the dose to suit your specific needs, it’s vital to understand the difference between all the different goodies available to try out. Vapes, oils, capsules, edibles/drinkables, patches and even suppositories – there are so many different options out there. Each come with pros and cons and varying levels of bioavailability.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability is the amount of a substance (in this case, CBD) which enters the bloodstream when introduced into the body. This has a big impact on how long a product takes to work, how long it lasts, and how much CBD you’re actually getting.
The mg amount listed on CBD wares advises the amount in the actual oil itself. When you take CBD, be that through sublingual absorption (drops under the tongue) or a square of chocolate, the mg amount that actually gets to work in your system is considerably less.
Here’s a rough guide to the percentage of CBD content which makes its way into your body. Some studies results are taken from are looking at THC, although there is substantial evidence to suggest the bioavailability actions of CBD and THC are very similar:
Vaping/Smoking/Nasal Spray: Up to 56%
Inhaling CBD is the fastest way to get cannabinoids into your bloodstream, first into the cannabinoid receptors situated in your lungs, heart and brain. You’ll feel the effects within a few minutes, which is partly why many people try this method for nausea and acute anxiety.
Sublingual oil: Up to 35%
The amount of CBD you absorb via your sublingual gland rides heavily on how long you hold the oil in place for. Ideally you should aim for between 30 – 60 seconds under your tongue. This is great way to take CBD if you prefer a slightly slower build up (most studies find that you’ll starting noticing effects at around the 20-minute mark, but of course this varies for each individual), but still decent bioavailability.
CBD Capsules/CBD Edibles/CBD Drinkables: 10 – 20% (although some studies show as low as 6%)
Oral administration has possibly the lowest bioavailability rate, but that doesn’t mean that these should be ruled out as an option for you. Although the amount you end up with after the product is broken down by digestion is considerably less than what’s indicated on the packaging, it does appear to stay in your bloodstream for longer. Over time, cannabinoid levels are believed to accumulate, making this method a popular choice among those with chronic conditions. Access to the receptors in the gut and liver (which would be less concentrated via other methods) also makes this a firm favourite for certain uses despite low potency.
CBD Topicals/CBD Skincare: Unknown
CBD topicals offer a wonderful way to directly target the cannabinoid receptors in skin cells, which is thought to strengthen the ECS of the skin, reducing inflammation and balancing sebum production. However, this form of CBD won’t get into your bloodstream.
CBD Transdermal topicals/CBD Patches: Unknown, although brands offering these can (and should) be able to provide public data demonstrating how well the CBD is absorbed.
Transdermal CBD products are specifically designed to gradually release cannabinoids into the bloodstream, however only reaching the peripheral nervous system and muscles tissue. This method takes a long time to get going (patches are usually made to be worn for a couple of days) but the slow release should mean the cannabinoids hang around for longer.
Elimination Half Life
The percentage of CBD that gets into your body with every dose is not the only thing to take into account when choosing a product to suit your needs. Elimination half life (the time a substance stays active in your body) is also a point to consider.
– If you’re after something which hits hard and fast but wears off pretty quick too, CBD vapes are usually the go-to as this method allows the cannabinoids to reach your receptors within minutes. Most trials show the effects wear off after around 2 hours.
– If a slightly softer onset and longer active life suits you, you might want to give CBD oil drops a go. The interaction with cannabinoid receptors is generally found to be fairly even around the body, with effects starting at around the 15-minute mark (although up to an hour in some cases). Via this method, the CBD should be out of your system within 6-8 hours by which point it will have been metabolised or eliminated by your body.
– You might not notice the effects of capsules and edibles right away, as the CBD that reaches your receptors after being digested and metabolised by your liver kicks in after around 2 hours, and is much lower than via other methods. However, after taking capsules consistently for a while you will start accumulating cannabinoids in your bloodstream, as they can stick around for up to 12 hours.
– As CBD topicals and CBD skincare do not enter your bloodstream, you can apply as often as you like until you reach the desired result.
– CBD transdermals are thought to offer longer lasting results and accumulation in the body, but without going through the digestive process and only in the peripheral nervous system.
– If you ask a chef who specialises in cooking with cannabis, they’ll tell you to always mix it with fats. This is because CBD (and THC) are fat soluble, meaning that taking your CBD after eating something fatty (a spoon of mayonnaise, for example) should aid absorption.
– Some studies have shown that brushing your teeth or eating right before taking CBD drops can increase the absorption rate, potentially due to high blood flow to the mouth.
Stress may be extremely common, but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem for those having to deal with it. Whether it’s particular moments that get you worked up or more of a chronic, underlying stress issue, many of the 6 million people who have tried CBD find that a regular dose of a high-quality product is all they need to not only cope in times of acute stress, but modulate their overall stress responses too. The same could be true for you – for a variety of reasons.
Due to CBD being a pleiotropic (something which affects various processes through multiple molecular pathways) there are all sorts of ways CBD interacts with the body which are currently at the forefront of theories as to how CBD oil can help modulate stress. As it stands, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is starting to be considered as one of the most integral regulators of stress response.
Anandamide – the gate keeper of stress
Although a lot of people use CBD to tackle stress as and when it arises, most evidence suggests that the accumulation of cannabinoids in your body will be what really makes the biggest difference. Chronic stress is speculated as being one main contributors to an ‘endocannabinoid deficiency’, something which occurs when your own, internally produced cannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG have fallen into short supply. The result of this is a wholly unbalanced body, which can lead to issues such as fatigue, illness, skin conditions and, in a word, disease. On top of this, a lack of anandamide can equate to an excessive release of stress hormone cortisol, resulting in an easily triggered or constantly active fight or flight response – even at times when this reaction isn’t required or appropriate.
According to a 2016 Neuropsychopharmacology research paper titled ‘Neurobiological Interactions Between Stress and the Endocannabinoid System’, a decline in anandamide appears to activate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis – a process which ultimately results in increased levels of cortisol in the blood. In a balanced body, this is a vital part of survival instinct, but when your endocannabinoid levels are off kilter this can occur not only in times of acute stress, but at the drop of a hat. Long-term, this elevated stress can end up in any number of physical and mental ailments, including adrenal burnout, which then leads to a further demise of endocannabinoids. And round and round it goes.
When you take CBD, a range of things happen all at once. When it comes to stress, one of the most important actions is the inhibition of enzyme FAAH, which breaks down anandamide. As a result, higher levels of anandamide are allowed to flow freely around your body, making its way to the brain where it can influence the HPA axis – our central stress response system.
If CBD oil is taken on a regular basis, studies currently indicate that its accumulative nature means an overall higher levels of anandamide which can then block the unnecessary release of cortisol. A stress gate-keeper we could all do with.
CBD, Serotonin & Dopamine
When you do a little surface research into how CBD interacts with the body, you’re likely to read almost entirely about how it binds to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. However, it’s really THC which appears to play the biggest role in ECS activation – CBD actually has a fairly low affinity for CB2 receptors, and indirectly activates them rather than directly activating them. In short, where THC fits into CB1 receptors like a lock and key, CBD sits imperfectly in CB2 receptors, blocking them rather than activating them. This, as above, is still a fascinating part of the process which seems to aid the flow of anandamide, but it’s not where CBD’s role ends.
Clinical studies now indicate that CBD does directly activate other receptors in the body, including serotonin receptors and dopamine receptors – both of which are key neurotransmitters in the brain linked to stress and depression. There’s still a lot of research that needs to be done into the potential this interaction holds, but there are high hopes for its positive impact of mood, pain and even addiction.
One recent test on rats showed that induced stress over the course of 24 days resulted in decreased serotonin activity. After seven days of treatment with CBD, these levels were completely normalised.
Although dopamine is mostly associated with the ‘reward response’ (getting a happy rush when you eat a new food, for example) there is now also evidence to suggest that chronic stress dampens dopamine production – something which can cause vulnerability to mental illness and addictive behaviour. The relationship between CBD, THC and dopamine is still largely unknown, but thus far data suggests that cannabinoids increase dopamine neural firing.
With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that plenty of CBD fans are sharing their anecdotal experiences of reduced stress after making the cannabis plant a part of their daily lives! We’d love to hear yours.