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cbd cream for runners

Just like popping ibuprofen before every run is a bad thing, relying on CBD to relieve pain pre- or post-run shouldn’t be considered a cure. CBD capsules may act as pain relievers, but they won’t cure a runner’s knee or a sprain. You’re still going to have to take time off from running to actually heal injuries — and masking chronic pain with any type of pain reliever is a recipe for eventual disaster.

Unlike regularly popping ibuprofen, taking CBD won’t potentially put you at risk for kidney damage. If you’re the kind of runner who is constantly turning to OTC pain meds for post-run issues, this might be a safer alternative. CBD works partially by interacting with our brain’s serotonin and vanilloid receptors, which affect our mood and our perception of pain. A 2016 study showed CBD actually helped decrease pain from arthritis — certainly an issue runners may contend with.

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While there have been promising studies done on the benefits of CBD, because of the legal quagmire surrounding the supplement, research is still in its infancy. Things like optimal dosage and even delivery (cream versus pill, for example) are still being looked at, and while you can expect to see a lot more research published in coming years, the science around it is thin.

Like most OTC meds, be careful what — and where — you buy. Don’t trust CBD products that you find for sale in gas stations. Look for athlete-friendly ones that promise a pure product so you can avoid accidentally dosing yourself with added chemicals and other unknown substances or even just a full-spectrum CBD that contains THC traces and can make you fail a drug test.

There’s a reason even Coca-Cola is considering adding a Cannabidiol (CBD) drink to its lineup: CBD is having a moment in the wellness world. A non-psychoactive compound extracted from cannabis, CBD is rapidly becoming known for its purported health benefits. While it’s still only legal in certain states in the U.S., countries like Canada have wholeheartedly embraced the CBD trend — and it seems like the legislative tides are turning in favor of allowing CBD to become a pharmacy staple. But does it makes sense for a runner to consider popping pills, slathering on CBD-infused creams or mixing supplements into smoothies?

When CBD really started hitting the mainstream in 2018, a typical tincture contained 300 to 600 milligrams of CBD. That equals about 30 full-dropper servings in a typical bottle, meaning that one drop of a 600-milligram tincture contains 20 milligrams of CBD. As customers reported benefits from larger daily amounts of CBD, manufacturers responded by making more concentrated tinctures. You can now find 30-milligram tinctures containing 2,000 or more milligrams of CBD; one dropper of an 1,800-milligram-strength tincture provides 60 milligrams of CBD.

Within the ever-expanding overall CBD market, runners and other athletes are increasingly a focus. This emphasis makes sense, when you consider that many of the touted benefits of CBD—pain relief, better sleep, faster recovery, lower inflammation—are of special interest to people who push their bodies hard. Companies are targeting athletes with higher-potency versions of typical CBD products and different ways to deliver CBD.

Now, on to the new wave of CBD products for athletes, grouped by the type of innovation. These are all products I’ve tested since writing The Athlete’s Guide to CBD.

Higher Potency Within Typical Products

Higher potencies and different means of delivery are driving innovation.

First, a refresher: CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of more than 100 related compounds called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD doesn’t produce the high caused by the other most well-known cannabinoid, THC. CBD products sold online and in retail establishments are made from hemp, which by definition is a cannabis plant containing no more than .3 percent THC. As of last year’s farm bill, hemp is no longer classified as a controlled substance under federal law. For a detailed background read on CBD, see this article.

Two of the main CBD product types are oral tinctures and topical solutions. Tinctures typically come in a 300-milliliter bottle, or just about 1 ounce. You use the supplied dropper to place some of the tincture under your tongue, then keep the tincture in your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. (If someone says “CBD oil,” they’re talking about a tincture.) Topicals come in many consistencies—thick salve, oil, cream, lotion, roll-on, and so on—and in many sizes. Topicals are applied to achy body parts in the hope of delivering targeted pain relief.

Below are three high-potency tinctures I’ve had good results from. (“Results” for me include improved sleep and less overall creakiness from being a 55-year-old who has run more than 110,000 miles over the last 40 years and who is training for a 50-miler.) I appreciate the higher-potency offerings because I’ve gravitated toward a daily CBD sweet spot of 30 to 60 milligrams. If your standard level is lower, the higher-potency tinctures mean you can take a fraction of a dropperful and not have to restock as frequently.

Strength: 225 mg. / oz.

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Bluebird Botanicals Hemp Sport

Price: $50 / 2 oz. jar

We tested out eight of the best CBD recovery salves, creams, and balms on the market this year. Here’s what we thought.

Strength: 500 mg. / oz.