Written By Jasper Johnson
Jasper is a new member of the Ultra X team. A keen middle distance runner who is looking to up the distance to an ultra marathon, Jasper enjoys writing about all things running.
In recent years, CDB oil has been popping up more and more regularly across popular media. It seems to be a key ingredient of an ever-increasing number of sports recovery products and has now hit the ultra running scene. Purported benefits include better sleep, faster recovery, pain alleviation, stress reduction, and more – making it the perfect supplement for every ultra runners’ recovery strategy, right? In this piece, we dive into the world of cannabis-derived recovery products and share our perspective on their benefits.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a cannabis derived oil, but do not let that put you off – using it will not make you high as you run off into the hills!
CBD oil is a non-intoxicating oil. It contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, making the use of CBD oil more accepted as a pain killer for athletes.
Why do people use CBD oil?
People have used CBD for thousands of years to treat various types of pain, but the running community have only recently begun to use it to aid performance. Research has shown CBD oil acts as a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory by aiding the body’s ability to self-regulate its internal hormones.
Its anti-inflammatory effects – and the associated benefits of improved recovery – are of particular appeal to athletes. This is especially true within multi-stage ultramarathon events, as recovery between stages is a vital factor in performing optimally the following day. Moreover, CBD oil has been shown to improve sleep, which further enhances its effect on recovery. The interaction between CBD oil and hormones within the body can help relax muscles and receptors, increasing the overall length and quality of sleep.
How and when is CBD oil taken?
CBD oil is best taken with a meal, preferably one high in unsaturated fat (eg nuts and cheese), as this allows more of the active component of CBD oil to be absorbed into the body – otherwise known as first-pass metabolism.
Taking CBD oil 30 minutes before going to bed can also help the body to rewind and relax, allowing for a longer and higher quality sleep.
Lastly, taking CBD oil before and after an intense period of exercise – whether that be a hard training session or a race – can reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and boost your overall recovery right when you need it.
Is CBD oil allowed in ultra marathons?
Earlier this year, CBD oil was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances, making CBD oil an increasingly popular supplement amongst elite athletes, including ultra runners.
However, as the variety of CBD oil products available on the market increases, there is growing concern over the quality of some products. Some CBD oils have been found to contain small amounts of THC (the psychoactive element in cannabis), which has resulted in some athletes failing drug tests. In 2019, American free-skier Devin Logan received a three-month suspension from the US Anti-Doping Agency for failing a drugs test, which she attributed to the use of a CBD-based product that had higher than normal traces of THC.
How long until the use of CBD oil is widespread?
You may also like…
What is altitude training? In this interview we cover the benefits of altitude training, why do athletes train at high altitudes and more
What do ultra marathon runners eat? We caught up with Ultra X athlete Jacqui Bell on how she fuels a 250km ultra.
Advice on keeping motivated during Covid-19 isolation and some tips to ensure you come out the other side stronger than ever.