Have you ever felt that sudden wave of peace and euphoria when running? Suddenly, the pain and fatigue fades away and your body is taken over by a sense of invincibility and bliss. Your mind is clear, and you’re fully present in the moment. This feeling is called the “Runner’s High”. Runner’s High is a reminder that running is not just simply a physical act, but a test of your inner strength and power as well.
Many runners like to incorporate CBD into their workout routines. Not only can CBD help with pain management, but it can also help runners reach a quicker Runner’s High and improve their overall performance. Here, we will outline the science behind a Runner’s High and explore the potential role CBD can play in enhancing the runner’s overall experience.
Runner’s High Explained: Endorphins vs Endocannabinoids
First off, Runner’s High is not a pure myth! It is a scientific phenomenon. Previously, scientific research has suggested that Runner’s High was due to the endorphins released by the brain, acting as natural opioids and allowing runners to feel bliss. However, in recent scientific studies it has been uncovered that the size of endorphin molecules prevents them from passing the blood-brain-barrier; blocking them from exerting the euphoric effects you feel when exercising.
On the contrary, our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) has emerged as a promising alternative; producing molecules, readily capable of traversing this physiological hurdle. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex biological system in our bodies, responsible for regulating many factors including our mood, anxiety and appetite. This process of regulating our body is called “homeostasis”. As we run, our body regulates itself to stay in homeostasis by releasing more endocannabinoids than normal.
Endocannabinoids are our body’s own version of cannabinoids such as CBD. They are naturally produced and communicate with our ECS to balance our internal systems. Exercise puts an obvious strain and stress on the body, resulting in aches, soreness, inflammation, and more. Studies have shown that exercise consistently boosted levels of endocannabinoids throughout the body, specifically anandamide – the “bliss” molecule. They found that moderate activity for at least 30 minutes resulted in a greater increase of these feel-good compounds.
As our body is already naturally producing endocannabinoids, adding some CBD to the diet is a great way to further enhance our experience and support the conditions that can lead to a quicker Runner’s High during your next workout!
Benefits of CBD for Exercise
As popularity of CBD rises, more people are now reaching for CBD as their pre- and post-workout ritual. Whether you’re a beginner runner or seasoned athlete, consistently showing up and performing your best physically is no easy feat. Here are a few ways CBD can support your natural ‘Runner’s High’ and help soothe and escalate your next workout:
Pain Management: One of the systems our ECS regulates is our pain sensations and many CBD medications have already been approved worldwide to treat chronic pain for a variety of conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer symptoms, etc. Together, our natural endocannabinoids and CBD work with our ECS to alleviate pain and discomfort both during and after strenuous activity.
Reducing Inflammation: Intense exercise often causes microtears in our muscles and joints, leading to inflammation and soreness. This can escalate by overexertion and result in an increased risk for both injury and chronic inflammation. By inhibiting molecules that promote inflammatory responses, CBD can help to reduce inflammation and mitigate the pains and risks that come with it.
Recovery Support: CBD’s ability to manage pain extends its benefits to post-workout recovery as well. By supporting the ECS to reduce inflammation and soothe pain, CBD aids in alleviating discomfort and accelerating recovery so you can bounce back stronger and faster after a workout.
Combat Anxiety: Achieving peak performance requires a clear and focused mind. CBD’s positive impact on anxiety and stress levels can help create a tranquil mental space, allowing you to approach your workouts with more concentration and determination. By stabilizing your mind, CBD empowers you to push your boundaries and achieve your fitness goals with a newfound sense of clarity and confidence.
Usage Guide for Workouts
When it comes to incorporating CBD into your workout routine, finding the right dosage and usage method is essential for maximizing its benefits. As CBD affects individuals differently, optimal dosages can depend on a variety of factors such as height, weight, and your body’s tolerance. It’s best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you find the ideal balance for your needs.
CBD products come in various forms, including oils, topicals, edibles, and more – each offering unique advantages for workout recovery. For fast-acting relief during exercise, sublingual oils are a popular choice, allowing CBD to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Edibles, such as gummies, offer a discreet and tasty way to incorporate CBD into your daily routine and have a longer lasting effect than other forms of CBD. For localized relief, topicals can be applied directly to sore muscles and joints – often formulated with other natural herbs and elements along with CBD to cool and soothe your body.
Tip – for professional athletes or anyone who may undergo drug testing, make sure the CBD you use is labeled as THC-Free or CBD-Isolate, along with an official COA to confirm its legitimacy. Though CBD products should only contain trace amounts of THC, it may still show up on a drug test up to 3 days after a single use and even longer with consistent usage.
Beyond the Finish Line
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, CBD offers a multitude of benefits that can positively impact your run. From its cooling effects to reaching a quicker runner’s high, CBD is pivotal for the running routine. While further research is needed to fully understand the full science behind this relationship, the growing body of evidence and experiences suggests that CBD may contribute to a more enjoyable, relaxing, and fulfilling running journey. So, lace up your shoes, and consider adding some CBD to your next run!