A quick Google search for "CBD in British Columbia" will pull up a long list of retailers in BC who are willing to sell CBD oil, tell you the benefits of CBD and even offer CBD tailored to gender—CBD for women was on page one. In the last few years, CBD oil has become a top tier product for those looking to overcome specific conditions or for a general boost in their health.
Claims are that CBD can safeguard against depression, offer neuroprotective properties and even cure cancer. And there are many more health claims, each contributing to the hype around CBD oil. Is there any evidence to back up the claims linking CBD and exercise recovery?
Let's take a look at what CBD oil is and what science has to say about its supposed medical benefits.
What is CBD oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It's one of many chemical compounds found, as the name suggests, in Cannabis Sativa (a.k.a. hemp, weed, pot, bud, sticky icky, whacky tobacky). Famous for its psychological and physiological effects, the use of the cannabis plant has a long tradition that goes back 8000 years with the first recorded use in western medicine in the 19th century . Early in the last century, the United States, followed by Canada and much of the western world, made the plant illegal.
“The CBD hype is way ahead of any even remote shred of evidence... many of [us] are ready and itching to do some good science, but we have now waited for over a year for a license to conduct any work” — Stuart Phillips, Professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University
Science, however, kept moving, putting a dent in our understanding of what this plant is all about. CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient in the cannabis plant. Does this mean CBD oil will get you "high"? No. That reaction is the result of a holistic combination of active chemicals in the potent varieties of Cannabis, sometimes called marijuana. Besides, CBD itself is non-psychoactive. CBD oil does, however, have many effects that are still being examined.
CBD oil seems to be very effective against some severe epileptic conditions. One such condition is Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). It's also called childhood epileptic encephalopathy, and one of its symptoms involves uncontrollable seizures. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients were given highly purified CBD oil over two weeks. Researchers concluded that patients saw a significant and sustained reduction in seizures with CBD oil .
The effects of CBD on pain control in mammals was published in the European Journal of Pain. With rat subjects, researchers found that a topical application of CBD oil seemed to provide relief of arthritis inflammation and pain-related behaviours. Also, unlike many current medicines, there were no side effects for the rats in this study .
These studies both seem to point to the potential medical uses of CBD. But they're also very limited. The rat study, for example, can’t prove the effects of CBD on humans. The lack of human trials is one of the main issues facing CBD oil today. While CBD seems safe to use, there isn't much science that verifies the claims of those who sell it.
CBD oil is not a panacea
While CBD oil is piquing a lot of interest in the scientific community, there isn't enough solid, science-backed advice about what it can do. To get a better idea of the studies done on CBD oil, we recently talked to Stuart Phillips of McMaster University. Stuart is a professor in their Department of Kinesiology and is the Director of their Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE).
Phillips told us, "My thoughts, given the albeit sparse literature on this topic, is that CBD is effective in reducing pain, in some people. We need to know who, for how long, and why it works in some but not others."
For example, increasingly we find CBD products intended for muscle recovery after a hard workout. Though CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, rubbing a CBD infused balm on your thigh muscles might not make them any less sore after leg day at the gym. There just isn't enough data to back that up.
One of the reasons is because cannabis remains highly regulated; scientists have to get licenses to acquire and study it. Philips says, "The CBD hype is way ahead of any even remote shred of evidence... The truth is that McMaster has a Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and many of [us] are ready and itching to do some good science, but we have now waited for over a year for a license to conduct any work. Individual researchers have been able to push some things ahead, but not many!"
Staying healthy with CBD in BC
While there's not enough evidence to say for sure what CBD can and can't do for our health, there seems to be promise on what CBD oil may one day give us. We know for sure that CBD is biologically active. Though one study from McMasters suggests that high-doses of 700 to 3500 milligrams per day can produce mild side effects such as decreased appetite and diarrhea, CBD is relatively safe in general with no reports of serious adverse effects at lower doses and has low potential for abuse or dependence .
If you're interested in staying healthy using methods and practices backed by science, contact us at Symmetrix. Our kinesiologists stay up-to-date on the newest discoveries in movement science and can help you build a fitness plan that will show real results. Whether you're recovering from an injury or interested in overall fitness, reach out to us today.