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CBD and Running 

Running is a brilliant way to get outdoors, enjoy some fresh air and exercise your body. It’s an accessible sport which is possible for anyone with a pair of trainers. However, both total beginners and professional athletes can experience a wide range of injuries normally caused by the impact of your feet on the pavement. CBD shows great potential for helping with sports injuries caused by running.  

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, CBD, is made from cannabis plants but it doesn’t get you high. It’s one of many different cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. Others include CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and THC. THC is the illegal cannabinoid that gives you the high traditionally associated with cannabis.  

Is CBD legal for runners? 

Yes, CBD is completely legal for runners. Firstly, CBD is legal for anyone to take in the UK as long as it contains no THC. Additionally, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently legalised CBD for athletes. However, THC is prohibited by WADA so if you are drug tested for sport you should make sure you take CBD that contains no THC so you’re not at risk of testing positive for a prohibited substance.  

To make sure you’re taking a CBD product that contains no THC it’s important to check the lab reports of the products you’re taking. This will show you exactly how much THC is present. These lab reports are important because some companies are not entirely honest about the contents of their products. The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) tested 30 UK CBD oils from companies. They found that 38% contained less than half their advertised CBD content and 40% of the products they tested contained a percentage of THC making them illegal in the UK1.  

What are the benefits of CBD for runners? 

There are a number of benefits of CBD for runners. CBD is known to be a natural anti-inflammatory. After a run, the muscles in your body will be damaged and inflamed. During your recovery period, your muscles recover and strengthen so you’re ready to go again. However, sometimes things get in the way of our recovery time or our bodies struggle to heal. CBD can often help to preserve anandamide, a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in our bodies and that is partly responsible for regulating inflammation. When anandamide breaks down quickly, it can lead to chronic inflammation and muscle and joint pain. CBD has been shown to sometimes slow down the absorption of anandamide which allows it to work for longer to reduce inflammation2. This will help your muscles recover ready for your next run.  

 Another problem that runners sometimes face is digestive problems. When you run all the blood goes to your legs as they are in need of the vital oxygen your blood provides to keep your muscles moving. This leads to a shortage of blood in your digestive system which leads to digestive problems. Most runners will know how this feels after a run! CBD can potentially help by reducing inflammation in your intestine3. This can help reduce post-run nausea and digestive issues on a big race or personal record breaking day .  

CBD and Running Injuries  

Sometimes running aches and pains go far beyond muscle inflammation. Long-distance runners are at particular risk of stress fractures due to the repeated impact of the pavement on their bones. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may be able to help heal stress fractures and in one study scientists even found that CBD made a healed bone harder to break in the future45. The most important thing to do is to prevent injury. Stretching and resting are important ways to achieve this but taking CBD may be an extra way to protect yourself.  

What type of CBD is best for runners?  

You can buy CBD in lots of different formats with everything from sweets, drinks and creams available on the market. The problem with edible forms of CBD is that a lot of the CBD itself will get broken down by your stomach acid before it reaches your bloodstream. This means you’ll miss out on some of the best effects of CBD. We think the best way to take CBD is to choose water soluble CBD. This can be added to your morning smoothie or any bottle or glass of water. Because the CBD is water soluble it is absorbed into your bloodstream much more effectively and you can take less of it to experience the same effects. 

Summary: CBD and Running 

CBD offers an additional way to help runners keep on their best form. Combine it with a nutritious diet, regular rest periods and stretching to protect your body from injury and help reduce inflammation. You can take CBD every day as a plant-based supplement to keep your body operating at peak performance. Start taking CBD and see if you can beat your records on Strava!  

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