Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil
The World Health Organization (WHO) grabbed headlines recently when it found that cannabidiol (CBD) poses no health or addiction risks. Because the compound comes from cannabis, the public naturally has many questions about whether or not it’s beneficial—or even legal—to use CBD. Meanwhile, more athletes are reportedly exploring how CBD can help enhance their performance, and the oil is appearing in everything from bath bombs to chocolate bars.
What is CBD oil, what are its risks and benefits, and how do you use it? Will CBD soon be another common supplement in the fitness world? Here’s a quick guide to all things CBD oil.
What is CBD oil, and is it legal?
CBD is one of more than 80 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t have a psychoactive effect and won’t make you feel dizzy or high. To get CBD oil, CBD is mixed with a carrier oil such as MCT.
Have you been thinking about using CBD oil? Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief: CBD is legal in the states where medical marijuana is legal, plus 16 others.
Does CBD oil pose any health risks?
The WHO just released an extensive report on CBD. Their key finding? In its natural form, CBD is safe and doesn’t pose the risk of addiction. Writes the WHO, “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
The WHO’s research didn’t find any health risks with CBD oil, but it did uncover some benefits. CBD is shown to help treat epilepsy and other seizure conditions in kids and animals. A National Institutes of Health study showed that CBD can be helpful in reducing inflammation and treating conditions directly related to inflammation.
More than 42% of CBD users in a recent study stopped using Tylenol and prescription painkillers after switching to CBD, and 84% called the oil extremely effective. This leads many to laud the compound as a potential solution for the opioid crisis sweeping the nation.
Preliminary evidence shows that CBD could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and a number of other conditions. But these claims need further evidence before being treated as fact in the medical world.
What are the fitness benefits of CBD?
CBD has long been a source of curiosity in the fitness industry. And now, preliminary studies are pointing to its potential applications for building muscle.
Some studies have suggested that CBD can reduce the amount of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” produced in your body. Whereas testosterone can help you build muscle, high levels of cortisol can do the opposite. CBD enthusiasts point to research that shows it can lower cortisol in your body, which in turn would improve your stamina, endurance and potentially muscle building—if your cortisol was at a critically high level.
Research also points to CBD’s role in recovery, specifically in relieving pain from sore muscles.
As CBD continues to gain popularity in the health and wellness industry, we expect more research to substantiate how this compound affects muscle growth and performance overall.
How do you take CBD oil?
Ready to try CBD oil for yourself? You can take it a number of ways. One Bon Appétit writer has sprinkled the oil on salads, or even taken shots of CBD oil. The taste? She describes it as flax-like with a hint of Chinese herbs. The oil is also being featured in everything from bath bombs to body lotions to—no surprise here—CBD brownies.
CBD can also be taken in the form of capsules and edible oils, much like many other supplements you’re already working into your regular diet. However, there’s one major caveat here. The FDA still doesn’t permit products containing CBD or THC to be sold as dietary supplements, despite the major WHO report and a growing body of research on the compounds’ health benefits.
One note before you run to grab a CBD chocolate bar: It’s crucial to read real online reviews and choose a brand you trust. Research shows that CBD works best within the actual cannabis plant, which can make some products more effective than others. Brands like Lord and Taylor, for instance, only use CBD “rendered from the entire hemp plant.”
And then there’s the question of advertising versus reality. One recent study of CBD products sold online found that roughly two-thirds did not contain a level of CBD within 10% of what was listed on the product label. Some also included THC (that’s the compound in marijuana that does get you high).