Many people are quite unaware of the hidden health benefits of cannabis. Especially in Great Britain, where cannabis has been illegal for many decades, the general public is more likely to associate cannabis with harm than good.
The truth about cannabis is hotly debated. A large group of people now believes that the plant has enough beneficial properties to support its legalisation, while another large group believes that it should remain criminalised. This divide also exists within the government. Overseas, governments have slowly but surely been turning toward the side of legalisation, even if they allow cannabis only for medicinal use.
Surely, if several countries are legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes, the plant must have some beneficial properties. Scientists have been investigating the potential benefits for some time now, but medical research is always difficult and has a number of hurdles. So far, concrete evidence on the uses of marijuana is not available, and so it is up to the public to update themselves on the latest research, avoid biased sources, and make their own decision on things.
Regardless of whether or not you are a backer of legal marijuana, there is one compound within cannabis that everybody seems to agree on: CBD. Also known as cannabidiol, this superstar supplement is non-psychoactive (it can’t get you high), non-addictive, and can cause very little harm.
Since it is generally agreed that CBD has some health-boosting properties, some athletes have been turning to it as part of their diet. With all the health and fitness buzz around CBD, could some gyms begin stocking it in the future? Let’s take a look…
What is CBD and is It Legal in the UK?
Firstly, it is important to understand a little about CBD. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, meaning that it is one of the active compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. While the name ‘cannabis’ is commonly associated with marijuana, the Cannabis Sativa family encompasses both marijuana and industrial hemp.
Marijuana is used as a drug, and is therefore illegal in the United Kingdom. Though policing on it is not quite as strict as it used to be, gyms definitely wouldn’t even try selling marijuana products commercially!
CBD, however, is quite different. Unlike some cannabinoids, CBD is completely non-psychoactive. Since it can’t cause a high, the government has decided that CBD can remain legal – as long as it is taken from industrial hemp.
The popularity of CBD has increased steadily ever since people realised it was legal. As such, many governing bodies took the time to research it, review it, and make a final decision. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK have dictated that CBD food supplements are perfectly legal, as long as the sellers make no claims about treating illnesses. The British government recently reviewed cannabis as a whole and decided that medicinal cannabis is allowed in severe circumstances. The MHRA will oversee the regulations of medicinal cannabis products such as these, but not CBD food supplements.
What this means is that the CBD products you see online and in shops are all legal because they contain only CBD, and not the other, more dangerous components of cannabis. The World Health Organisation have said that CBD is safe, well-tolerated, and has few side effects; since these products are not medicines, anyone can take them.
CBD is definitely safe and legal, but this doesn’t explain why people would take it. More specifically, why would gym-goers want to invest in CBD?
Why CBD is the Next Big Fitness Supplement
Not long ago, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted its ban on cannabidiol. Athletes can now use CBD in professional sporting competitions without fear of suspension or penalties. But why would they?
Many people who work out are trying to improve their muscle tone and increase muscle mass. Doing this requires reducing the levels of catabolic hormones, particularly cortisol. Cortisol reduces the rate of protein synthesis and prevents you from gaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, your body produces more cortisol when you’re working out – this is obviously a huge shame if you’re trying to bulk up!
As it turns out, CBD’s influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could play a role in cortisol production. Cortisol is produced in its lowest levels later at night, which is why our best rest and recovery sessions happen while we’re asleep. Some research on CBD has suggested that it could help us sleep, in fact, so this may help in protein synthesis.
Furthermore, the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research has recently published a study in which CBD was shown to interfere with cortisol secretion. The subjects in the study experienced a reduction in cortisol after taking CBD. In other words, taking CBD could help you to get shredded for the summer months.
Another use for CBD during your workouts is providing a stamina boost. It has been suggested that CBD can provide a natural energy-boost, improving your wakefulness and increasing your activity levels. This is why people are adding CBD to their coffee – it could be better for you long-term than straight caffeine.
A final benefit for gym-bunnies and weightlifters is to do with recovery. In the US, CBD is actually a patented anti-inflammatory. Through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, CBD can reduce inflammation and fight off pain. With many athletes taking opioids and other harmful painkillers, CBD could provide a natural alternative that helps in muscular rest and recovery.
Plenty of people who work out have tried out CBD, whether this is in oil form or in a topical balm. Applying topical CBD directly to sore muscles could reduce the inflammation there and lessen the pain, whereas CBD you take orally could help you sleep better and improve your stamina.
If you want to give it a shot as part of your gym routine, then there are plenty of places to buy CBD online, as well as in store. However, it’s possible that gyms could stock CBD in the future. Just how possible is this?
Could Gyms Be Stocking CBD?
North America is leaps and bounds ahead of us when it comes to cannabis acceptance, and this includes CBD. Our friends in the US are ahead of the game.
Popular gym class SoulCycle have recently begun selling a CBD Lotion at their classes. Priced at $60 for the tub, SoulCycle is now selling this topical cream in all 85 of their US studios, as well as on their websites. It is said that sample sizes will also be available at classes for riders to try out for free.
It turns out that the UK isn’t that far behind, though. Gymbox, a trendy gym in London designed to reshape the gym experience, has now created a class where every attendee is given a CBD patch to wear. Cleverly called Cannabliss, the mobility work out class incorporates CBD into movement exercises, providing class goers with the benefits of CBD while they train.
Currently, SoulCycle and Gymbox are a bit ahead of everyone else. As of yet, most gyms don’t sell any sort of CBD products. If gyms do begin selling CBD, it will likely be topicals like what SoulCycle are providing. Since CBD products are on the expensive side, they might not be available in all gyms, either. It’s more likely that you’ll see CBD on the shelves of upmarket, high-quality gyms rather than budget ones.
The fact that gym companies are already beginning to cotton onto the CBD trend is a good sign. Clearly, the world is really opening up to cannabidiol – and we can’t wait to see what’s next!