Why Athletes Use CBD For Recovery
A dynamic workout routine is great for building strength, endurance and vitality. But regardless of your personal fitness level, it’s not uncommon to have some aches and pains after a hard workout. Conventional methods such as icing, medicated creams and NSAIDs have been the norm in treating sore muscles and joints. In recent years however, an increasing number of athletes and fitness enthusiasts are trading in pharmaceuticals for an effective, plant-based approach: CBD.
Why do muscles ache after working out?
Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness requires pushing our bodies to the limit. Significant exertion can create microscopic tearing and inflammation of the muscle tissue. We experience these ruptures as soreness or stiffness that can last for days. This painful experience is also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.
What is CBD? —and what role does it play in athletic recovery?
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most dominant cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike popular counterpart THC, the non-intoxicating effects of CBD aren’t known for altering cognitive ability. (There have been rare exceptions in which consumers have reported some degree of CBD inebriation. Factors such as tolerance, metabolism, and genetics are thought to have been at play in those few occurrences.)
Ongoing studies indicate that CBD works by interacting with specific cannabinoid receptors within the human body. This network of receptors is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS maintains systemic equilibrium by regulating vital organ functioning. CBD is thought to aid in maintaining that delicate balance by enhancing physiological and cognitive performance.
For many, CBD is nothing short of a plant-based panacea. From tinctures and edibles, to capsules, softgels, and topicals—across the board, a growing number of people are using cannabidiol to support overall health and well-being. CBD boasts a number of purported benefits, and is most popular for its anti-inflammation and pain-relieving properties. CBD may also be a source of antioxidants, could help to improve circulation, and promotes a deeper sense of relaxation and calm.
It’s no wonder why more professional athletes have begun infusing CBD into their daily lives and wellness regimens. CBD can enhance athletic recovery without side effects that are linked to most traditional pain-relievers. To learn firsthand how CBD can aid in the recovery of tried and true athletes, we reached out to our very own Brand Champion athletes, Lisa Chulich and Anton Gotzmanov.
Pacific Northwest native, professional rock climber, competitive volleyball player, surfer, and avid trail runner.
From training to competition, professional athletes defy their limits to reach peak physical condition. Pro climber Lisa Chulich dedicates up to eight hours a day, 6 days per week, to a routine that “usually starts with sand volleyball or running, followed by a quick surf session before biking to the climbing gym for 2-4 hrs of climbing/conditioning.” After an intense workout, Lisa uses a combination of the Lazarus Naturals CBD Muscle Gel, Relax + Unwind CBD Balm, and full spectrum tinctures to soothe sore muscles and aid with relaxation.
As a competitive athlete, Lisa travels rather frequently. CBD has proven to be beneficial in recovery from wear and tear that comes with always being on-the-go. “I’ve had to fly, on average, twice per week for years,” she explains. “This often means racing to the airport straight after practice, or going for a run soon after the plane lands. Taking CBD oil tinctures before my flights (in conjunction with wearing compression leggings/ankle wraps) noticeably reduced post-flight stiffness, as well as in-flight headaches. This was a huge game changer—as I no longer felt like my post-travel training sessions had to suffer.”
Sleep is fundamental to fitness as it allows optimum muscle regeneration. It’s also one of Lisa’s top priorities when it comes to full-body recovery. "Taking some full spectrum oil tincture before bed has helped me maintain a deep sleep throughout the night following high intensity days, without waking up groggy or low energy.” Lisa also finds that tinctures help overcome stiffness, and improve mobility overall.
For the professional athlete, pain and suffering come with the territory—but risks associated with rock scaling present unique challenges to elite competitors. “As climbers, we put a serious amount of stress on our joints and tendons,” Lisa tells us. “Applying CBD reduces irritation in these areas without reducing blood flow. Our muscles and soft tissues need blood to refuel and recover, so using CBD has been my go-to solution for these situations instead of prolonged icing—which stiffens the tendons and momentarily reduces blood flow.”
Lisa has made a conscious choice to embrace a nature-based method of physical restoration. She avoids NSAIDs due to their potential long-term risks. According to her research, “daily consumption of ibuprofen can slow the healing of muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. They have also been found to be detrimental to our gut linings, which circles back on increasing systemic inflammation and slowing recovery.”
Russian-born Anton Gotsmanov is a champion Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter + lead instructor of SAS Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Philadelphia.
CBD has been central to Anton Gotsmanov’s martial arts training recovery since it hit the market. “I’d waited for CBD to become commercially available for a long time,” he reveals. “I tried many brands once it hit the mainstream. When I tried Lazarus Naturals I was amazed at the variety and depth of their product line and how they use full spectrum in most of the products.” He is one of countless athletes who’ve replaced NSAIDs with cannabidiol. “CBD tremendously reduces the need for over the counter anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen. I use CBD when I’m experiencing muscle or joint pain, and I don’t have to use ibuprofen” he admits.
Anton’s fitness regimen is strenuous. It includes flexibility and agility training, drills, and sparring—which naturally leads to its fair share of injuries. To soothe the aches and pains, Anton applies CBD Muscle Gel after workouts and recovery balms for general soreness. Post-workout meals are often prepared with our CBD-infused coconut oil.
Anton finds full spectrum capsules relax his nervous system after training; he uses tinctures or Sleep Capsules for restorative slumber. “I get much deeper sleep, after which I feel more rested and recovered—[with] a lot less inflammation in the joints,” Anton says. “The relax caps are a great way to balance out caffeine intake. The cooling gel allows me to compete with injuries because of how quickly it works.”
“I love the strength and potency of Lazarus Naturals tinctures. The relax and sleep capsules are perfectly formulated to enhance the effects of CBD with herbs and adaptogens. The topicals provide instant relief from pain.”
At Lazarus Naturals, we have been dedicated to cultivating high quality CBD products for over 7 years. As a B Corp and cGMP certified company we are not only committed to quality, but fair, equitable and environmentally sustainable practices. Our ever-growing lineup includes a variety of options that are kosher, vegan, USDA Organic and Leaping Bunny certified. Check out our Product Guide to learn more on how our high potency CBD can help you and your loved ones (even the ones on all fours) spend less time recovering, and more time doing what you love!