Before the pandemic hit, I was training to run in the New York City Marathon this November for its 50th anniversary race. I only started running races in 2019, completing my first 5K and an additional eight races to officially qualify for the now-cancelled marathon. I don’t have a runner’s build — it takes a lot of persistence, stretching and hard work. I had one minor injury, pulling my IT band in my leg, leading me to take a few months off from running. With looming soreness, I looked into solutions for not feel achy and tight all the time. Without trying CBD products before, I started researching and talking with people in the industry to see if these products were too good to be true.
Cannabidiol (commonly referred to as CBD) is a cannabinoid — a type of compound found in cannabis. Unlike the more well-known cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce a high. For topicals, it can be applied to any area on the body to relieve problems such as: soreness, inflammation and irritated skin. With ingestibles, CBD can help address anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. With nothing to lose, I tried various brands in this emerging industry to see if CBD products would actually relieve my pain from running — and here are my findings.
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Therabody just released their first-ever CBD brand, TheraOne (USDA Certified Organic seal), to bring wellness to consumers in a new way. I tried the Revive Stick for pre-run and then the Revive Balm post-run.
When I applied the lotion before my run after stretching, I definitely felt the soreness in my legs near my IT band significantly ease up within 10 minutes. The scent is very potent, but once I started running outside, the odor went away within a few minutes. Moving forward, I’d probably only apply before my run because it didn’t feel necessary when I was finished — especially because after most runs I just hop in the shower.
Resilience by far has the best smelling products of the items that I sampled. With CBD, the texture and menthol smell is very similar to Icy Hot. If it doesn’t smell good then I’m not going to rub it all over my legs. However, their CBD sports cream in Fresh Mint and Lemongrass smelled so nice, I was actually looking forward to applying the lotion. The bottle is easy to travel with and apply. Less is more — I only needed one pump per leg. I usually applied this about 10 minutes before my runs. Since my soreness went away I felt like I was able to extend my stride, giving me better paces.
I wanted to try Feals because it’s the only CBD brand I found that works as a subscription service — as easy as taking a daily vitamin. While this is ingestible, I wanted to make sure I understood how this could help my pain while also applying a topical. For someone like me who’s never tried CBD before, they offer a “flight” where I was able to try out different strengths. I’d also recommend talking to your doctor.
With ingestibles, it’s more about what you don’t feel. After a few weeks, I used the lowest strength and I didn’t have any issues. I was nervous about feeling numb from taking too much, but that didn’t happen at all. It’s not a cure-all, but nice to add to my morning routine with my vitamins.
4 Level Select
Unlike the other brands I tried, Level Select had a roll on application which became my go-to. I could bring it with me to the track and the product doesn’t get on my hands like the lotions where I need rub it in. What I like about these two products is the dosage. The roll-on is 600mg and the cream is double the strength at 1200mg.
After trying these brands, I’m going to continue using the topicals. For my needs as an active runner, I didn’t feel that the ingestible options directly addressed my leg soreness. Over the course of this experiment, I found myself recovering from runs quicker when I applied CBD beforehand. The hype is valid, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a magical potion. As time progresses, I’m excited to see if my running pace gets better as I continue to use CBD lotion.
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