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Ever going for a run on a crisp, cool morning but all the sudden you run into severe muscle cramps? Maybe you’re finishing a hard-fought tennis match, and right before you toss the ball up for a serve, your shoulder muscles start spasming out of control? Whether you’re a gym-junkie, a cross-fit hardcore, a sportsperson or just overall active individual you’ve probably experienced your share of muscle pain, soreness and inflammation.
Muscle cramps are rapid, spontaneous contractions within your muscles – and they can hit hard and fast but take a bit longer to overcome. Spasms, on the other hand (or foot, or shoulder, or leg, or…), are very common amongst athletes and active people when dehydration, insufficient nutrition or over-fatigue occur.
Both conditions can be brought on by similar things:
Although muscle cramps and spasms don’t typically last very long, some people find it difficult to get back into their groove at the gym or on the court. Lingering soreness, discomfort and some swelling, itching or redness can affect how athletes perform, or halt a fitness professional in their tracks.
Lost time means lost progress, and lack of progress leads to limited performance, and anything but achieving your best can be the difference between success on and off the field.
Muscles are the mechanisms by which we achieve any/all movements. When your musculature is tightly coiled in pain or because they are lacking certain nourishment, you’re effectively stalling the engine that is your body.
Many people don’t consider muscle spasms & cramps to be a serious issue, so they’ll “push through” and end up causing more significant damage. Think of cramps or spasms as alerts from your skeletal muscle system: “Hey there! We’re seizing up because we’re lacking something!” or “Woah, slow it down Mr./Mrs. Hardcore! Pace yourself!”. Listening to your body is key to understanding what you need, when, and how much to optimize your workout or performance.
Now that you’re listening to your body, it’s time to finely tune your approach with three simple letters: C-B-D. Cannabidiol – referred to most commonly as CBD – is a phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis and hemp plants.
A fido-canna-what?! You might be asking yourself. Well, you’re not alone in wondering what these magical plant molecules are and what they do. Research into cannabinoids are not a novel pursuit, but it has picked up a lot of steam in recent years as more medical uses for cannabis & hemp are explored.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds inherent in cannabis and hemp, such as CBD, THC, CBN and a multitude of others. Not much is known about each cannabinoid’s properties (due to the illicit nature of cannabis, and newly legalized status of hemp), but more and more research is forthcoming as the demand for natural, plant-based medicinal alternatives continues to grow.
What is known can be simplified by the following:
This is not to say that THC does not have its own host of benefits, but generally THC is illegal in most countries (Canada is the first major country to legalize cannabis in all its product forms). CBD, however, is now legal in the United States if it is sourced from hemp (Farm Bill, December 2018 Federally legalized hemp cultivation).
*for more information on the state of CBD in the U.S., and the latest developments in the industry, stay up-to-date with https://hempindustrydaily.com/
What does this have to do with muscle spasms or cramps? Well both THC and CBD have been shown to reduce pain & inflammation, but again, THC is not recognized as a legal substance in the USA. CBD was recently approved for professional athletes by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), so athletes around the world have been turning to this plant-based remedy for numerous ailments.
Chief among its medical benefits, CBD can combat cramps and soothe your spasms, all without causing any psychoactive effects (the “high”) and without any negative side effects (those associated with long-term use of opioids or NSAIDs). CBD can be taken under the tongue from an oil tincture, applied to the sore area as a gel, cream or spray, or ingested with food/ drink as a capsule or powder.
Many athletes choose to beat their discomfort to the punch by taking CBD daily, as a supplement. Others wait until a muscle cramp strikes and apply a cooling, calming and anti-inflammatory CBD topical.
What form of CBD you take is mostly dependent on personal preference, but there are some advantages to certain product types. In general, the general rules for CBD products are:
Typically, people who dose CBD daily for prevention of injuries or treatment of illnesses use tinctures and take CBD sublingually multiple times a day. For athletes, professional fitness folks, or sportspeople topicals or capsules are very popular due to their convenience and consistency of effects.
Regardless of how you take your Cannabidiol, the important thing is that you take it. Cannabidiol can be beneficial for everything from pain, inflammation, mental focus, energy, gastrointestinal balance, skin & hair health to sleep quality. Muscles respond very well to CBD, which is why many people choose to take it proactively (as a daily supplement, to avoid muscle cramps/spasms altogether).
Cannabidiol can be a huge help to your pursuit of excellence in sport or fitness, but a useful tool is only as good as the professional wielding it. Maintaining a healthy diet, staying suitably hydrated, and committing to proper rest & recovery are essential to successful health and fitness.
When combined with these building blocks, CBD can help your body avoid muscle cramping, or treat muscle spasms when they do occur. When cramps crush your daily fitness goals, or spasms suckerpunch your plans to conquer the court, just remember three simple letters: C-B-D.
*Want to try CBD for yourself? Try these hemp-derived, THC-free CBD products: www.motusactive.com