It’s no surprise that an increasing number of people are using CBD for running, including dealing with injuries and post-exercise recovery. Whether you’re training for pleasure or competition, any athletic activity will put stress and strain on your body, especially if you’re trying to improve your performance.
Many runners will be familiar with ongoing pain and injury. A recent study of UK novice and recreational runners revealed around 50% had a current injury. And of those, 86% were continuing to train despite the pain (link). This not only carries a risk of making the injuries worse, but many common over-the-counter pain medications have serious side effects if you take them for long periods (link). If a CBD supplement potentially reduces the need for medication, that gives runners a new choice in how they deal with any pain or issues.
This is why many more people are now using CBD for running, whether that’s to deal with existing injuries or post-exercise recovery. And recent studies show a link between the endocannabinoid system that CBD interacts with, and the occurrence of a ‘runner’s high’ prompted by prolonged exercise (link) rather than the THC found in cannabis.
Anyone thinking about using CBD for running should do their own research before introducing it as part of their training and wellbeing regime. And we’ve attempted to answer the most common questions and concerns below.
- What is CBD?
- CBD rules and legality for running?
- Common running injuries
- CBD before running
- CBD for running injuries and recovery
- Taking CBD for running
- More information on CBD for running, and other sports
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, usually shortened to CBD, is a naturally occurring substance derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It’s non-psychoactive, which means it won’t make you feel stoned or high.
The intoxication from cannabis is produced by the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is restricted to no more than trace amounts (0.01%) in any legal CBD product.
Research has shown that CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System in your body, which regulates areas including pain, mood, energy, inflammation, muscle control and more. For example, the Anandamide molecule is responsible for appetite, memory, and has been identified as the source of “runner’s high”, when it’s received by the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain and body.
CBD modifies how the CB1 and CB2 receptors are able to bind to the cannabinoid messengers such as Anandamide, influences other types of receptors, and enhances the natural levels of the endocannabinoids your body produces.
The result is a better, more natural balance in your Endocannabinoid System, which may produce similar effects on your mood and health as other methods of improvement, such as aerobic exercise (link), adding more polyunsaturated fatty acids into your diet (link), or getting better sleep.
It’s possible that you may see a benefit from using CBD if you enjoy any sport, from golf to running.
CBD rules and legality for running?
CBD oil is legal for sale and use in the UK as a nutritional supplement as long as it doesn’t contain more than trace amounts of THC.
The CBD rules for running and other sports can be found via the UK Anti-Doping organisation, which states “CBD is not currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. As a result, it is permitted to use in sport” (link). “The use of any CBD product is at the athlete’s own risk. As a result, CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements”.
This means that you’re not restricted from using CBD at any time, even during competition, in UK or World athletics. The only restriction is that there is a threshold for THC during any testing, which is 150 nanograms per millilitre of urine. Competitive athletes are responsible for anything ingested, whether that’s food, supplements or medication, so it’s important any CBD supplements are obtained from a reliable, trustworthy source, and you understand exactly what’s included.
Common running injuries
If you regularly run for pleasure, fitness or competition, you’re likely to have encountered a range of aches and pains. And often the impact of any issues will depend on how much you prepare, and how you react to the first signs of a problem developing.
Common problems include:
- Runner’s Knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Hamstring Issues
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- Stress Fractures
You can still continue to train with some common running injuries, although you may have to reduce the intensity. But others will require a complete rest. And in all cases, you’ll need to look at rehabilitation to cure the problem, and prevent a relapse in the future. Otherwise you may be more susceptible to the same problem returning time and time again.
CBD before running
As a novel food supplement, CBD is not a medical preparation for running. But studies have shown that it may have various effects which can be beneficial even before you put your trainers on.
We’ve mentioned how CBD interacts with the production and reception of Anandamide, which means you may experience a ‘runners high’ more easily and effectively due to exercise according to a recent study (link).
An increasing number of people are also using CBD as part of good sleep routines and combating insomnia. You’ll always get more benefit from exercise, and perform better, if you’re well-rested. We’ve written a specific guide to CBD for sleep and insomnia which looks in detail how links between improved sleep and alertness during the day are being linked to CBD.
Research is also being conducted into how CBD Oil can be used to improve mental health, including issues such as anxiety. Improving your motivation and focus plays a big part in getting you into a regular exercise routine, especially if your mental health is at a low point. We’ve all experienced days when it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed and into your running kit.
Medical research has also looked at CBD and the role it plays in the perception and control of pain ( for example link, and link). So, taking CBD as part of your general preparations for running may reduce the pain you can feel, and allow your exercise to be more pleasurable.
And finally, studies have also shown that CBD can potentially reduce inflammation in the stomach, which can cause issues when running (link). That’s a particular problem for those doing longer distances, whether it’s marathons or ultrarunning.
CBD for running injuries and recovery
If you have an existing injury from running, or encounter a new problem when exercising then you will need to solve the issue, and reduce the pain while you recover.
A variety of studies have looked at using CBD for various types of pain, which can also apply to running. This includes studying the use of CBD to suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain (link) or a reduction in chronic pain symptoms (link).
In addition to reducing pain, studies have also looked at how CBD can reduce inflammation. For example, a study applied CBD for just four days in rats and saw reduced pain and inflammation without “evident side-effects” (link).
The suggestion from medical research and studies is that taking a CBD supplement could reduce inflammation to aid recovery from running injuries, and provide a way to reduce the pain you feel from the problem.
If you do encounter a running injury, or your exercise is affected by any health condition, it’s important to speak to your doctor for medical advice to ensure you use the safest and most effective treatments.
CBD can provide a supplementary way to improve your general wellbeing and recovery in addition to medical treatment. It’s generally well-tolerated by most people, although there are some potential side effects including dry mouth, diarrhoea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. You should also check for potential interactions with any medication you’re taking, and check with your doctor before adding any supplement to your health regime.
Taking CBD for running:
If you’re looking to add CBD as a supplement in your routine, then it’s quick and easy to do. You can start taking CBD orally as CBD Oil or Capsules twice a day. To use CBD Oil, simply place 1-3 drops under your tongue and hold for at least 60 seconds before swallowing.
And our CBD capsules, infused with Turmeric and Black Pepper, are entirely plant based. So, you can simply take 1-2 of the vegan-friendly capsules in the morning and evening.
Our CBD Balm is designed for potentially helping with a range of issues, including muscle soreness, joint pain, injuries and skin conditions. Alongside the organic hemp extract is jojoba oil, cacao butter, and apricot extract. And we use rosemary extract as a natural preservative which means the balm will be usable for up to two years.
More information on CBD for running, and other sports
Everyone at We Are Kynd is involved in sports and fitness in one way or another. Whether it’s running, yoga or golf, the products we sell are part of our own wellbeing routines. And our business is based on sharing the experiences we’ve had with more people.
Other guides which may be useful if you’re looking to use CBD for running or other exercise include: