Your Runner’s Guide to CBD

These hemp-based products are legal, third-party tested and will not get you high. But can they help your running routines?

Hemp CBD is nature's relief. A great alternative to over-the-counter anti-inflammation/pain medications like ibuprofen. CBD is also a fighter of anxiety. And is used by many as a sleep aid. One of our favorite side-effects of this potent plant is the post-workout recovery booster.

These are just a handful of the claims made about cannabidiol (CBD) oil. And because of the new legal changes, you’ve probably been hearing a lot more about CBD these last few years. 

A growing number of athletes, including NFL players using CBD, and runners in the trail ultramarathon community, consider CBD a key part of their regimen. 

But before we explore how runners and other athletes use CBD, here’s what you need to know.

What is CBD

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids (chemical messages) found in cannabis plants. CBD products work by boosting the body’s endocannabinoid system (EC). This system “is a unique signaling pathway that controls the function of a variety of systems throughout the body, including the cardiovascular system,” explains Nicholas DiPatrizio, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine.

Endocannabinoids are familiar to runners because they are believed to boost mood. That euphoric phenomenon is considered to be from activation of the same receptors in the brain which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana uses to create the "high". CBD "works through distinct—albeit not definitively identified—signaling systems than THC,” DiPatrizio says. CBD, however, does not give you a "high" and considered non-psychoactive.

How do you take it? CBD comes in a huge variety of consumable products, including edibles, tinctures, vapes, and topical applications. Pure Hemp CBD offers a specific targeted Hemp CBD Protein Powder designed to aid with recovery after workouts for bodybuilders and those looking to use meal replacement shakes for maintaining a healthy weight.  

How popular is it? In 2017, U.S. hemp-derived CBD sales are estimated at around $190 million per year and growing rapidly as the FDA just approved the first drug using CBD (this drug is for seizures). Epidiolex, for treating seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy.

At this point, companies offering CBD products are more mom and pop so the industry is a bit all over the place with many brands using cheap, ineffective oils from China. Doctor's are urging CBD users to only choose brands with third-party testing to verify the potency as many people are frustratingly wasting money and not getting the help they deserve

“We have so many customers coming to us desperate for either muscle gain or weight loss and a lot of those trying to lose weight come to us because their doctor's referred them," explains Jeremy Klien hemp specialist with over 10 years in the field. He continues, "Here at Pure Hemp, we give them recipes and resources to help with any untreated eating disorders, which are often the case. Once we get them the help they need and put them on a meal replacement routine the weight falls off and unlike a lot of other fad diets, it stays off." 

What Are the CBD Claims Being Made?

Advocates for cannabis say this non-psychoactive relief helps with a wide array of conditions, from anxiety and insomnia to nausea and pain from inflammation. Because of the workings of the EC.

“The endocannabinoid system is found in every organ throughout the body and controls many physiological processes, including food intake and energy balance, learning and memory, and pain processing, to name a few,” explains DiPatrizio.

“It can affect everything from emotion to pain to appetite to energy metabolism to brain function to even the immune system and inflammation,” reports Hector Lopez, another M.D. advocating for CBD. He adds, “When you have a system that cross talks with all those pathways, then there are very few things the endocannabinoid system does not influence.”

Backing these physicians are over 1,350 pieces of clinical evidence showcasing CBD's amazing usages, but again, no claims can be official until a lot more parts of this plant can be deeply studied.

DiPatrizio says, “There may be some benefits outside of improving epilepsy outcomes, but a lot more research is required.” No official research has been done for runners specifically. For the foreseeable future, runners interested in using CBD will have to rely on basic studies and customer success stories. 

Learn More: CBD & Pain Management >>

How Are Athletes’ Experiencing CBD?

Some of those CBD success stories are impressive. One consistent runner, Erin Dawson-Chalet M.D. of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, says that her persistent and painful plantar fascia pain went away within a few days of applying a potent topical CBD balm to the area.

Like many athletes I’ve spoken with, Dawson-Chalat appreciates that CBD is a natural product.

“I don’t like to take stuff like ibuprofen or prescription medications,” explains Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlete in Napa, California, who is an elite cyclist, even riding in the Tour de France previously. “I’m always looking for natural alternatives.” How Talansky first felt hearing about CBD, “I went from skepticism to being interested to asking advice on how to use it,” he says.

Talansky explained his sleep pattern improved almost immediately when he began taking CBD daily. After a while of consistent use, he also began feeling less anxious and felt as if he recovered faster from intense training, and noticed fewer flare-ups of his old injuries. Now he shares his experience with other athletes, in part “to get rid of the association with smoking weed,” he adds. “It’s completely different.”

How Do You Use CBD?

“One of the intricacies of CBD is that effective dosing can be much different between two people,” Lopez warns. “There’s no way to know what dose is right for you until you try it, but in general, if you’re someone who is sensitive to most medications, start at the lower end of typical doses.” Start with the full-spectrum CBD Oils—just a few drops, depending on a strength you choose.

“If you’re feeling no effects, adverse or beneficial, after three to five days, add another serving of the same amount.” It's a matter of journaling your results and adjusting your medications just as you would if you had a mental health issue or were working towards an effective weight loss plan.

If you're a runner, sound off below and let us know how you incorporate CBD into your running routine! 


Functional interaction between opioid and cannabinoid receptors in drug self-administration. J Neurosci. 2001;21:5344–5350.

The effects of delta1-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids on spin-labeled liposomes and their relationship to mechanisms of general anesthesia. |

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