CBD For The Active Lifestyle: Does It Work?
What a full month of CBD supplements can actually do for people who are constantly gearing up and don't plan on slowing down.
This summer began with me buying a house over 20 miles from my desk at Warren Miller Entertainment. I knew this move had the potential of adding a total of 45 minutes (give or take) to my time spent sitting each day and could steal my daily motivation to stay active. Visions of myself sitting in traffic, listening to mediocre podcasts, and stress eating while my blood pressure raised and cardiovascular fitness lowered haunted me.
"Though I had rolled my eyes at some of the claims CBD companies have been making, I figured a full month of daily use could give me a real, first-hand look at the benefits of CBD."
In an effort to get in front of it, I committed to leaving earlier in the mornings to go workout, staying later in the evenings to miss traffic while spending time outside, carpooling with co-workers and on the days I was feeling bold, biking the 20 miles into the office. This on-the-go commuter shuffle paired with active weekends mountain biking, skiing, hiking, trail running, or traveling is a common way of life for many professionals and recovery is often what’s left off the great, big checklist of to-dos.
Enter my opportunity to fully test out a self-made “recovery plan”. For one full month, my co-worker and I used Cannabinoids or “CBD” supplements to see if we’d recognize the benefits. Overall, we found that paired with a general shift of focus on recovery (stretching and resting when our bodies told us to), the outcome was surprisingly noticeable.
We went with a regimen from Pure Power Botanicals, a full-spectrum hemp extract company out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado made by outdoor enthusiasts leading active, busy lifestyles not too different from our own. Products like this are attractive for supplemental use because they are paired with multiple advantageous ingredients like lion's mane, turmeric and other herbs and minerals. But, with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of hemp (which can only contain .3 percent of THC) nationally, there’s a huge surge in products and hundreds of promises being made across the market.
Though I had rolled my eyes at some of the claims CBD companies have been making, I figured a full month of daily use could give me a real, first-hand look at the benefits of CBD. Our team tested the “Reboot” hemp extract supplement, the “Power Up” hemp extract supplement and the “Daily Boost” full spectrum hemp oil.
1. An immune system boost felt evident. Our team found that regular use worked to prevent feeling run-down and kept us less vulnerable to getting sick. With ingredients like ashwagandha and cordyceps mushroom extract, turmeric and a handful of other natural additions, these pills felt mostly like a dietary supplement directly promoting a stronger immune system.
“Our products absolutely enhance the immune response through supporting gut health (with ingredients like Ginger Root) and thereby boosting immunity (since the body’s immune response starts in the gut),” says co-founder Don McLaughlin of Pure Power Botanicals.
Photo Courtesy of PurePower Botanicals.
2. An uptick in energy was noticeable. “While taking these, I definitely am not feeling that slag of energy throughout the day,” says Warren Miller National Account Manager and hiking addict Renee Geary. “Although there is not a huge boost in energy, I never really find myself getting tired mid-afternoon, it seems to keep me at a good power all day.”
I felt the same. I wasn’t jacked up, but there was an evenness to my energy that seemed to last from bell to bell in the workday and long days outside. “CBD and the other ingredients support mitochondrial function within our cells, which is ground zero for energy production,” explains McLaughlin.
3. The regular intake of CBD manifested itself as decreased stiffness. After about two weeks of daily use, a looseness seemed to prevail throughout the body. On one long, high alpine hike after a week of heavy weightlifting had me certain I’d be reaching for Aspirin mid-day, but alas, that moment never came. With ski season around the corner, this increased looseness, combined with cross training has me excited.
“I have been struggling with some hip issues after long workouts, etc.,” adds Geary. “It seems to have mellowed that pain a lot when I would usually be stiff and sore from a workout. It also helped me feel less fatigued in mind and body post workouts.”
Renee Geary scrambles up Humbolt Peak during a recent weekend adventure. PC: Alex Cernichiari
4. Taking it correctly can feel tricky but finding what worked for us seemed to be the best plan. Being newbies with CBD supplements, we had a hard time knowing when to take each item. After a workout? At the start of the day? Before dinner? The Reboot and Power Up pills were easy to toss back with water and felt like taking a vitamin, I found that ingesting them at the start of the day made sense. The oil however had a more potent feel to it and I would put it under my tongue directly after working out or when I needed a boost during the day. At no point did any leave me feeling "high", as there are no mind-altering components. Over time, it became intuitive as to when using them made sense.
5. Most surprisingly? The urge to consume alcohol decreased. Whether it be the stress reduction associated with CBD lessening my drive to grab for a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day, or something more scientific going on, this month of CBD has decreased my use of alcohol. And according to McLaughlin, this is a fairly common response from consumers.
“My sense is that the adaptogens in the plants and herbs help balance the mind and body in ways that reduce the perceived benefits one may have been getting from alcohol. Also, I think there is an increased awareness about the negative side effects of alcohol,” he explains.
Similar to a heftier version of a vitamin regimen, when paired with the right amount of sleep and a good diet, the benefits of CBD are noticeable. Like most things, CBD is not a cure-all and shouldn’t be treated like one. Did I feel like a whole new person? No. Did I feel like I was doing something nice for my body? Yes. Could this be the good ol’ placebo effect in action? Maybe. Medical research is working hard to keep up with the claims being made by CBD companies and so a lot of claims are still unproven. I noticed having an elevated sense of health and so do a lot of people (industry sales are projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022). So, if you’re an active person burning the candle at both ends, adding CBD into the mix can’t hurt and we’d go as far to say it would probably help.