CBD and Snowboarding

CBD benefits, CBD snowboarding, snowboard health

A full season of snowboarding takes its toll on the body. A bad fall whilst shredding can leave you feeling achy and sore for days. That pain can be even more acute if an injury occurs. Often, this can ruin your entire holiday or even your season! In this post, I want to discuss the benefits of CBD for snowboarding as well as highlight the crucial role it plays in my training and snowboarding life. 

In my eyes, any level of snowboarder is an athlete. When you use your body to move and have fun, it has positive and negative impacts. Snowboarding can leave you with inflammation and pain in your muscles and joints, even if you haven’t taken any bad falls. In my time as an athlete I’ve had over 40 dislocations, 3 shoulder reconstructions, a fractured humerus head, a finger reattached, a ruptured knee, and a few severe ankle sprains. Even after this damage I’m currently living pain-free and haven’t taken a pain killer since I was 21. In August I turned 30. One of the major reasons I am able to live pain-free is CBD!

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Background On My Love For CBD

After my first dislocations, I was prescribed codeine and Tylenol. Then after my shoulder surgeries it was tramadol and oxycontin. These pain killers were heavy on my body, upset my stomach, altered my moods, and I hated how groggy they made me feel. I didn’t want to accept this old method of pain management. So, began searching for smarter ways to recover, promote healing, and increase performance. I came across CBD and a wealth of information that supports the theory it is safe and effective for pain management and treating inflammation.

I’ve witnessed many friends and fellow snowboard instructors use over 8 Tylenol a day in an attempt to manage their chronic pain. Using any pain killer in this way can cause massive health issues. Furthermore, these instructors inability to take days off because of a busy work schedule stops them from properly treating the root problem. The reason for the pain and inflammation gets overlooked and pain killers become the cover-up. 

When snowboarding is your job it is vital to be focused and on point while teaching or guiding clients. Pain is a big distraction and can inhibit your performance at work and during competitions. Even when just trying to enjoy some laps and freeride for fun, being sore is a mood killer.

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The Law

CBD laws are constantly changing and vary from state to state and country to country. This means sourcing CBD products can be an issue depending on where you reside. However, multiple sport anti-doping agencies have taken CBD off their banned substance list even though their ban of THC still remains in effect. Purely extracted and hemp-derived CBD products can be taken due to the amounts of THC being so tiny. If you are interested in CBD for pain and inflammation it’s best to extensively research the laws that apply to your country.

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The Science

Friends and family always ask why I love CBD and what I actually use it for.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from people that are curious about using CBD for performance enhancement and pain management is “I don’t want to get high”. This is a great place to start when exploring the science of CBD. CBD doesn’t actually get you high like THC does.  It was discovered that our brains have specific receptors for cannabinoids. Many brain and immune system functions are controlled by your body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD (Cannabidiol) is found organically in cannabis plants, integrates naturally with the body, and when properly extracted is not psychoactive like THC. More evidence is proving that CBD is an alternative medicine to reduce pain. 

Receptors In Your Body

CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, central nervous system, soft tissues, and muscles. When CBD is introduced to the body from an outside source it interacts with these receptors and works its magic to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system’s response and effectiveness. When pounding your body through snowboarding or sport in general, muscles are pushed to the point of fatigue and this stresses the central nervous system. Without proper rest and recovery, muscle and soft tissue damage can occur. The science is starting to show that at a cellular level CBD can help to boost recovery time. 

My preferred method of delivery is using tinctures onto the tongue or in coffee. However, I have been recently finding success with CBD creams and rubs. CBD ointments and salves when applied to the skin help to encourage the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines (small secreted proteins released by cells). CBD does not have to be ingested to have an effect on your cannabinoid receptors. Topical ointments are equally beneficial in their stimulation. Studies show that oral ingestion has greater potential for pain and inflammation reduction of acute or chronic injuries with little negative side effects. Hopefully, as regulations soften it will allow more studies to be done on the effectiveness of CBD for athletes, pets, and people. 

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My Top 3 CBD Benefits

Inflammation and pain – An alternative and holistic way to heal

CBD and THC are incredibly potent when it comes to relieving pain. Exercise and sport can lead to pain and stiff / sore joints. I find this to be the case, especially when rehabbing an injury. Inflammation is the bodies natural response to trauma or strain. Inflammation can be both good and bad. For instance, if you have a great work out and are straining muscles with specific exercises, there will be some inflammation as the body responds to help them to grow and heal. However, if you go too hard in the gym or injure yourself there will be excess inflammation which slows down your recovery and ability to perform. 

In the brain, body, and immune tissues CB2 receptors are present. These receptors are stimulated as the cannabinoids interact with them to produce an anti-inflammatory effect. This is beneficial after sporting activities because the CB2 receptors help to reduce the response of your immune system to produce excess inflammation. CBD helps to speed up recovery time and healing at the cellular level.

Lower Prescription and Over The Counter Drug Use

Everybody from athletes, labourers and desk workers traditionally reach for prescription and non-prescription drugs to manage their pain. Advil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen are the most common anti-inflammatory drugs you can get over the counter. New studies show the damaging effects of these on your kidneys, liver, and heart. Stronger medications like Oxycontin or Codeine show similar degrading effects on the body and are even responsible for more than 65,000 deaths in America. Although not as potent and effective for intense pain, CBD is a natural alternative that can help to potentially lower your use and avoid these side effects. Also, no one has ever died from taking CBD! I’ve now gone 9 years without a single pain killer thanks to CBD. 

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Better and Deeper Sleep

A lack of sleep can be damaging to your training regime and ability to heal. Lack of sleep leads to cognitive decline, poor decision making, and even anxiety and depression. If you have a hard training session or are snowboarding for multiple days in a row, quality sleep is a must! It’s one of the most effective and crucial steps to help your body recover. For myself I notice a significant boost in the duration and quality of my sleep when using CBD. Research suggests the root of this benefit stems from CBD’s ability to inhibit the reuptake of adenosine. This can make you feel relaxed, calm, and sleepy. CBD binds to the same receptors that Adenosine would so the effects are helping you to feel mellow and to get a restful sleep. 

How To Consume CBD

With the explosion in popularity of CBD so many new ways of getting CBD into your system have emerged. There is a way to consume that suits everybody’s needs. From vape pens and flower, to edibles like gummies, and cookies, as well as rubs, tinctures, and mix powders. Each way has a different potency and will vary the time that CBD is effective in your system. The dose can vary dramatically depending on your height, weight and metabolism. Follow the recommended doses to get a baseline then experiment to find what’s right for you. 

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Image by Healthline.com
  • Vaping and smoking has the most instantaneous pain relief effect and activation of the endocannabinoid system. The downside is that research shows that there can be a long-term impact on lung health from inhaling hot smoke.
  • Tinctures are a clean, easy, and effective way to get CBD into your system. I notice the most benefit from this form of ingestion. It’s easy to alter my dose so I know exactly how much CBD I am getting. 
  • Edibles can be strong and potent yet take longer for the effects to kick in. It’s usually around an hour after ingesting. 
  • Rubs, salves, and creams I find can be useful however not nearly as effective as edibles, vaping, or tinctures. They can also take several applications before enough CBD penetrates the skin.

The CBD Spectrums

If you’re thinking of trying CBD out its best to know about the different spectrums it comes in:  

cbd for pain, cbd benefits, cbd for snowboarding
Image by Comebackdaily.co
  • Full-spectrum contains CBD and THC as well as other helpful terpenes and cannabinoids like CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). THC allows for the “entourage effect” which increases the effectiveness and absorption of CBD. The best way I’ve heard this described is that THC acts as the suitcase to deliver CBD into your system. This is thought to be the most potent and beneficial spectrum due to the “entourage effect”. If you’re not wanting any psychoactive effects this is not the spectrum for you. 
  • Broad-spectrum contains a full spectrum cannabinoid profile with the exclusion of THC. This allows for the best therapeutic and medicinal benefit without the psychoactive effects. For athletes possibly undergoing drug tests and those not wanting to get “high”, this will probably be the best route. The only other form used to be CBD isolate from hemp. However, due to the advance in extraction technology, THC can now be removed while leaving all the other good cannabinoids and terpenes in the extraction material. 
  • Isolate is pure CBD extracted to the single-molecule. CBD in this form has been shown to be less effective than broad or full-spectrum and requires a higher dosage. With THC taken out during extraction there is no entourage effect and other beneficial terpenes are also removed. 

CBD – A New Way To Heal

Whether it’s business or snowboarding I believe you can always learn, optimise, and be better than yesterday. After 3 shoulder reconstructions and over 40 dislocations, I’m always searching for ways to increase performance and reduce pain. After years of experimenting I’ve found CBD to be a game-changer for my body and health. Especially, when you are first on the road to recovery from an injury and doing rehab. I’m always aiming for homeostasis and optimal functioning of my body. So, I need to be sure that what I’m consuming is going to benefit me and improve the quality of my life. I have found CBD to be a wonderful supplement to add into my diet for general well being, improved athletic performance, and next-level recovery.

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Fraser Johnston

Founder & Trainer at Watch and Ride
CASI Lvl 3 | Evaluator Lvl 2 | Park Evaluator. After coaching and evaluating "instructor training programs" for several seasons, I fell in love with the science of snowboarding. I believe there is no better way to spend a day, than using your body for sport outside in nature! It is always such a joy to guide and watch people reach their potential on the snow, as well as surpass milestones of what they thought was possible.The goal for Watch & Ride is to create fun and simple Virtual Snowboard Lessons that are available to everyone and conveniently accessible. My wish is to grow the sport and evolve the way people learn to snowboard, ensuring they have fun, stay safe and get the best possible experience on the mountain.

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