Summer is finally here! Well, not officially maybe. But whether it’s past June 20th or not, the weather has gotten warmer and the sun has been shining. Summer means something different to every person, but for many, it means being outside as much as possible and soaking up the brief period of nice weather that have before the cold, dark winter sets in once again.
What makes this particular summer even better is that a lot of us are slowly emerging from over a year of pandemic induced isolation. Many people are opening their front doors, cautiously tip toeing out on their porches, and, in extreme cases, shedding their masks to once again take part in normal everyday life.
Concerts, group sports, vacations, hanging out with friends on decks and patios, swimming in the pool or at the lake—all of our favorite activities are almost within our grasp!
Where does CBD come in to all of this? Well, it may make all your favorite summer outdoor activities even better.
How CBD Works
The way CBD may help you this summer (or during any season) is by working through and manipulating our endocannabinoid system. As we’ve described before, the endocannabinoid system is best described as a biochemical communication highway. It sends and receives signals from our nervous system to moderate and influence bodily functions in an effort to maintain homeostasis or balance and improve our well being.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of three primary components:
- Receptors in the nervous system and around your body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with
- Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids
Endocannabinoids are essentially the body’s equivalent to “external” cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with the receptors found throughout the nervous system that make up the endocannabinoid system.
When it comes to CBD and summer activities, the way it works is by binding to CB2 receptors, the receptors of the ECS that are found in the peripheral nervous system. Binding to these receptors allows CBD to effect and help moderate bodily responses like inflammation. This is where the potential for fighting muscle soreness and pain associated with physical activity comes in.
How to Use CBD this Summer
We’ve written other articles about how CBD is increasingly used as an alternative anti-inflammatory. Specifically, as an alternative to over the counter drugs like ibuprofen or prescription medications. Its anti-inflammatory properties have led many people to use various CBD products to soothe sunburns, alleviate dry skin after spending time in water, and to combat other issues brought on by common summer activities.
We’ve also touched on how CBD may fight hangovers and how it may even help ease your stress and anxiety resulting from a little too much extended family time—both of which are often very useful in the summertime.
In today’s article, however, we’re going to cover how CBD may be a useful when you’re being active outside in the summer weather.
Why Use CBD Products for Physical Activity
The biggest benefit of using CBD for sports and physical activity is to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory properties. Similar to how those properties may help CBD alleviate pain and symptoms from sunburn or a hangover, fighting inflammation may also be useful when it comes to muscle soreness.
As we wrote in an article of ours about CBD and runners:
For CBD and runners specifically, the relevant receptor is CB2, because this one deals with inflammation. CB2 receptors are most often found in the peripheral nervous system. Specifically, on the cells of our immune system. This allows them to help moderate and respond to inflammation and our immune response to pathogens.
See, what many people don’t realize or may not know, is that inflammation is an immune response. When your body detects a problem like an injury or infection, it triggers this response in order to help you heal more quickly. However, sometimes those responses cause us pain, last longer than they need to, or are not needed at all. Anti-inflammatories work to mitigate that overreaction or false response.
If you use CBD products to try and combat conditions of an overactive immune system (i.e. arthritis, asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders or digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease), then you are tapping into your endocannabinoid system to change the signals that your nervous system is sending.
Whether you’re running, hiking, swimming, playing baseball, water skiing, or tossing a frisbee, if you think you’ll be sore, then it’s best to start consuming CBD regularly, well in advance of the actual activity.
What you shouldn’t do is put a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue the day of or before you’re engaging in strenuous activity. CBD needs time to build up in your body before it will have any noticeable effect. For that reason, if you know you’re going to be doing lots of fun activities that are likely to make you sore in the coming months, it’s best to start consuming CBD now.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Specific Activities
Let’s run through some specific potential benefits that CBD may bring you for particular activities this summer.
- CBD for hiking – When you’re hiking through the woods or up a mountain this summer, you might experience irritation from allergies, anxiety from the difficulty or level of danger, and fatigue once you’re hours or days in to the hike. CBD’s anti-inflammatory capabilities may help alleviate the inflammation and irritation caused by allergies. It has also been reported that CBD may give you a “runner’s high”, which is very useful in keeping those “no” voices, tiredness, and anxiety at bay while on a hike.
- CBD for swimming – The last thing you want to feel when swimming are stiff joints. If you consume CBD products regularly, then you may experience far less joint inflammation after a strenuous swim, as well as feel looser and be able to move more freely when in the pool, lake, or ocean.
- CBD for golf – Similar to swimming and other sports, you don’t want to be stiff and sore when it comes to playing golf. Although not typically thought of as a strenuous sport, golf can often lead to a lot of pain the next day, especially if you haven’t hit any balls in a while or if you’re playing multiple days in a row. So, before your next golf weekend (like weeks before) try to start consuming CBD.
- CBD before competitive sports - Ever feel nervous or anxious before a big race or game? You’re not alone. Game day jitters are common and can often cause you to lose your focus. People have long used CBD to attempt to relieve both their anxiety and stress. Studies have also been undertaken (here’s a link to one) that have shown CBD to be effective at reducing social anxiety. Many athletes report that consuming CBD before a high-pressure game or race dramatically reduces their anxiety, allowing their nerves to reside naturally so they are better able to focus on the race instead of their nerves.
Does CBD Dehydrate You?
There’s a common misconception that cannabis causes dehydration. The reason people think this is because some cannabinoids, THC more than CBD usually, give users dry mouth, sometimes called cotton mouth. However, this phenomenon is not the result of dehydration, it’s a result of our endocannabinoid system.
When you consume THC or CBD through your mouth, CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the submandibular glands absorb the compounds and send them on their way in your body. These same glands also produce a majority of the body’s saliva, so the processes that absorb cannabinoids also reflexively decrease saliva production at the same time.
In any case, cotton mouth is not a symptom of dehydration. There is no evidence that CBD causes dehydration. With that said, any time you are taking part in outdoor activities in the summer heat it’s best to drink a lot of water and always keep yourself adequately hydrated.