CBD – Cycling’s Next Big Thing
There’s a new supplement on the horizon and it’s raking up popularity within the sporting world, especially cycling- CBD. What is it? What does it do? Let’s take a dive into the world of CBD and how it can play a part in your cycling journey.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid found naturally in the cannabis plant but it is not psychoactive like its well-known cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) aka marijuana. So you won’t be getting high whilst out riding don’t worry! Cannabinoids are substances that already exist in the human body. We all have what is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that modulates the activity of neurons to maintain homeostasis (maintaining conditions in the body such as temperature, water content and carbon dioxide levels.) As a cyclist, you apply greater stress to your body than your endocannabinoid system can handle, which leads to pain and inflammation. Supplementing with CBD will ultimately regulate your nervous system to reduce the effect that stress has on your body.
Isn’t CBD a drug?
CBD is legal in the UK and CBD products are categorised under the ‘Novel Food Regulation’ which means they have to be marketed as a food supplement rather than a medicine.
In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its prohibited substances list as the World Health Organisation found CBD to be ‘well-tolerated and safe for use’ and doesn’t have a psychoactive effect, unlike the more well-known cannabinoid compound, THC. Don’t be afraid, you won’t feel like you’re up in the clouds when you take CBD.
What form does CBD come in?
CBD can be taken orally via a capsule, tablet or as an oil or applied to the skin with a cream or oil. According to neurologists and medical cannabis expert, Professor Mike Barners “taking CBD as an oil means it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and its effects will last up to six hours. For more painful muscle aches and pains, you can rub CBD oil or balm into the affected area for more direct support”.
Why are cyclists interested in CBD?
The recent explosion of CBD products has had a huge impact on the cycling community as CBD has been shown to have many health benefits and can be used as a treatment for a variety of ailments.
Pain relief -CBD is a powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It can also act as an antioxidant, which helps to improve circulation, reduce muscle soreness and reduce stiffness in the joints.
Sleep aid - CBD promotes sleep by increasing serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood, appetite and sleep patterns.
Anti-anxiety properties - CBD helps to regulate stress levels by reducing anxiety, which can be beneficial for athletes who are prone to overtraining or experiencing burnout during their workouts.
CBD can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle to improve overall wellbeing and athletic performance — whether you’re training for an Ironman or just trying to get to your favourite cake stop with ease.
What’s the future of CBD in cycling/fitness training?
The market for CBD is growing at a pace, with experts predicting the industry will be worth £9 billion by 2028. Professor Barnes predicts the industry will get better quality products and better understanding as the market grows with CBD becoming a stable supplement in a cyclist’s recovery kit.
CBD has made its mark and it's here to stay.
We are not claiming to be medical experts, to learn more about CBD please contact a health professional.