A natural alternative to ibuprofen. An antidote to anxiety. A sleep aid. A post-workout recovery booster.
Those are some of the claims about cannabidiol (CBD) oil. You may have heard about this cannabis extract, which is said to provide widespread health benefits without the drawbacks of marijuana. And because of potential legal changes, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more about CBD in the next few years.
Already, a growing number of athletes, including many in the trail running/ultramarathon community, consider CBD a key part of their regimen. And because of these early adopters, my interest piqued on CBD and its proposed benefits.
What Are Athletes’ Experiences With CBD?
Many athletes appreciate that CBD is a natural product.
“I don’t like to take stuff like ibuprofen or prescription medications,” says Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlete from Napa, California, who, as an elite cyclist, rode in the Tour de France. “I’m always looking for natural alternatives.” When Talansky heard an increasing number of athletes talking about CBD, “I went from skepticism to being interested to asking advice on how to use it,” he says.
Talansky says that his sleep improved almost immediately when he started taking CBD daily. Soon after, he was also less anxious about transitioning from pro cycling to his new sport, felt that he recovered more quickly from hard training, and had fewer flare-ups of his old cycling injuries. Now he encourages other athletes to try CBD, in part “to get rid of the association with smoking weed,” he says. “It’s completely different.”
Elite ultramarathoner Avery Collins doesn’t mind any associations with marijuana; his Instagram handle is @runninhigh. But he also takes CBD daily, despite some of its claimed benefits overlapping with those attributed to marijuana.
What Should You Look for When Buying CBD Products?
Knowing how much CBD you’re taking can take a little math. Again, capsules are straightforward—the bottle will say how much CBD each one contains. For tinctures, you need to know the total amount of CBD in the container and the container’s size to calculate how much CBD is in each serving.
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