I’m a runner, and when I train for a race, I follow a strict schedule: putting in the daily miles, stretching, staying hydrated and keeping up on my carbs.
But more athletes are stepping forward to say they use cannabis, either marijuana or CBD, as part of their regimen, both to help recover and to give them greater focus and enjoyment while exercising. It’s a trend that refutes the stoner-on-a-couch-shoveling-Cheetos-into-their-mouth stereotype.
So I wondered: Could adding CBD to a new workout make it something I would enjoy?
I gave it a try Saturday morning at Tribe Hot Yoga, a studio in Mantua Township, Gloucester County, packed with women in colorful and floral leggings, chatting cheerfully as they sipped hemp-infused tea before the start of class.
“People come into yoga for a few reasons. It’s the same reason that they turn to CBD,” said Melissa Jackson, the studio’s owner. “People come to yoga because they’re in pain, they have stress, anxiety. All the release that they get from their yoga practice, they can also get with CBD oil separately.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many compounds found in cannabis. It’s like a cousin of THC, the compound in marijuana that makes a user high. When derived from the marijuana’s sister plant hemp, CBD is legal and not psychoactive, unlike marijuana.
Some praise the oils, tinctures and lotions, hailing their perceived anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects. Others say the jury is still out when it comes to scientific research on the compound, and caution that it may be the latest snake oil for sale everywhere from gas stations to high-end boutiques. (Whichever is true, the fact remains that CBD is highly unregulated, with federal agencies and states scrambling to come up with rules.)
Meanwhile, a growing number of professional athletes have endorsed using cannabis for recovery, and just last week, U.S.A. Triathlon became the first major sports organization to agree to a four-year sponsorship deal with a CBD company.