CBD Is a Great Recovery Supplement For Cyclists
Recently, CBD has become a widely available natural supplement and practically a household name for health and wellness enthusiasts. Its popularity is growing among athletes too, both professional and amateur.
Naturally, cycling fans haven’t been immune to the CBD hype and use this plant compound for its various health benefits. Elite cycling teams are known to have entered into sponsorship contracts with CBD manufacturers as Team Skyline did with Gold Medal CBD. And Floyd Landis, a cycling ex-pro, owns a CBD-producing company. According to him, many riders are now using his products, with such renowned ambassadors as Sarah Sturm, Gordon Wadsworth, and Peter Stetina.
But what exactly is CBD and how can it help you both on and off the bike?
One of the Dozens of Unique Compounds Found in Cannabis
CBD is short for cannabidiol. As you might guess from the name, this natural chemical was discovered in the cannabis plant. In the early 1960s, an Israeli scientist managed to isolate first the THC and then the CBD molecule. These substances were called cannabinoids, and in the last half-century, many more of them were discovered and described. There’re at least dozens of these lesser and rarer cannabinoids, but the number can be well over a hundred.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
While THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is famous for causing mind-altering effects (high), CBD is not. It’s safe to say that it has exactly zero recreational value, meaning that no one uses cannabidiol to have a good time. On the other hand, it does affect your mind ever so slightly, mostly by making you relaxed and calm but also sleepy in very rare cases. CBD is also known to modulate the high caused by THC — making it more mellow and reducing anxiety and paranoia.
CBD can be manufactured from either industrial hemp or marijuana. Both are just different variants of the same plant species grown from cannabis seeds. On the market, you will find both isolated (pure) versions of CBD and whole-plant preparations that might contain trace amounts of THC. Not enough, though, to make such cannabis products illegal or cause a high.
The Legality of CBD
Cannabis and its derivatives have a long history of prohibition, but the situation has been changing for quite a while now.
In the United States, CBD has been legalized on the federal level, and the country has now a bustling, although unregulated, CBD market. Various products containing this chemical are sold not as medicine but as supplements and ingredients in anything from topical creams to capsules to gummies to dog chows.
In the UK and the rest of Europe, CBD is also sold as a supplement under the Novel Food Regulation and can be found in brick-and-mortar stores and online across the continent. Strangely, Canada, the only Western country with a legal recreational cannabis industry, has far stricter regulations in place — only those companies that have a license to produce and sell cannabis in general can also sell CBD.
How Can CBD Help Cyclists
Cannabidiol is believed to be a powerful therapeutic compound. There’s been extensive research over the recent years, so at this point, we are far beyond the anecdotal evidence that was only available before. More and more studies confirm that CBD has significant anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic effects. It may also act as a muscle relaxant.
Now as any rider knows, prolonged cycling causes tiredness, ache, and tightness in your muscles. Your joints, tendons, and ligaments may also feel sore. It’s all a sign of a slight (or not so slight) inflammation, and this is where CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation comes in handy. You’ll also benefit from some muscle relaxation. And by rubbing a CBD oil or lotion into your aching joints, you can provide mild pain relief.
By the way, if you live in a country or state where THC is also legal, you may want to use a whole-plant — rather than pure CBD — ointment. THC and lesser cannabinoids may augment the effectiveness of cannabidiol through the so-called entourage effect.
Also, don’t limit yourself to topical use only. CBD works its magic by acting on CB2 receptors not just under your skin but all over your body. So taking a teaspoon of CBD extract or downing a soft gel capsule will help just as well.
And there’s one more thing that can make CBD such an attractive remedy for cyclists and athletes in general. CBD reduces anxiety and thus makes you more relaxed in the evening to help you with a good night’s rest. Together with the other benefits, this will contribute to faster muscle recovery and repair.