Cannabidiol (CBD for short) is a “is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis” according to ProjectCBD.com. The site explains that CBD is “a safe, non-addictive substance” and that “the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world”.
As CBD begins to appear more and more in mountain biking we want to help you guys understand what it is and whether it has a place in our sport.
We contacted CBDMountain, a British brand that markets its products to climbers and mountain bikers, to ask some questions about CBD products and mountain biking. The discussion below is between me (WO’s Editor Jamie) and Alex Mountain, the guy behind CBDMountain.
It’s worth noting, we contacted CBDMountain due to their association with mountain bike athlete Becci Skelton. This isn’t an advertorial or a paid-for piece to promote their business. We chose them due to the fact that they’re promoting their products to us, the Great British mountain biker, through an athlete that we follow.
Becci claims the benefits that she has experienced from using the products include “Overall pain reduction, inflammation injuries nearly gone, increased sleep quality and quantity, feel more rested resulting in more energy, reduced anxiety level”. We haven’t verified these claims with a product test of our own but, we’re working on it.
Jamie: It seems like CBD products have suddenly exploded in the last year or so. Why are they suddenly all over our news feeds?
Alex: Yes you’re right. It has blown up in the public eye in the last 2 years and even more so in the last 6 months.
We’ve been involved commercially in this industry from the start so it’s crazy for us to see the development exponentially growing day in day out.
The recent spike in interest has simply come from the government trying to enforce regulation and it’s sparked outrage within communities surrounding children and access to medicine.
That’s one thing that we Brits do well is support people in need and that’s what this industry is all about. The more education and regulation the better in our eyes and it will help people understand it better and therefore have the correct information to make an informed decision about their health.
Can you give us the beginners intro to CBD?
What is it and what do people need to know?
CBD is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids present in all plant material. We extract it from hemp as it’s abundant in higher concentrations. But you can get CBD from every vegetable in your local supermarket. It’s a natural, non psychoactive compound. So, probably the first thing people see is the link to cannabis. Don’t fret. CBD will not get you high and nor will it turn you crazy.
To suggest the correct product for someone who wants learn about CBD firstly you have to understand why they want to take it and know more about their lifestyle, then it’s a case of matching a certain product and the right delivery system. This comes from years of understanding the body, physiology and Cannabinoids.
Start slow and steady and build it up over a course of weeks. This isn’t a cure nor a magic potion. It’s a compound your body already produces, just plant based and derived from hemp, not traditional cannabis.
Find a product that will cater to your needs. Most think the stronger the better, that’s simply not true. The delivery system is just as important if not more, so speaking with a company like ours can short cut your CBD journey and the learning curve that comes with it.
So, basic question, what is the association with CBD and cannabis?
So CBD is derived in high concentrations from the Cannabis Sativa L family of plant species. There are three main strains although there are more. Hemp, Cannabis and Ruderalis.
The Compound CBD is amongst hundreds of known cannabinoids (the term used for the individual compounds in the plant species and most plant material known to man). Phyto-Cannabinoids are derived from plants and Endo-Cannabinoids are produced by the human body.
What’s the difference between using a CBD based product before riding your bike than, for example, using an edible THC based product or smoking something?
I’m afraid to say this is the most common question but an easy one. Hemp and cannabis are two plants from the same species but are genetically so different we are still exploring the spectrum to this day.
It’s far easier to extract CBD itself from hemp rather than cannabis strains due to genetics. CBD is found generally in higher concentrations in hemp than in cannabis so the answer is ‘yes’ CBD is in cannabis and hemp.
There are performance enhancing properties to THC and many other cannabinoids. It can allow the nervous system to function in a completely different way, which in sport can be an advantage or a disadvantage. Some people find they can function smoking or on edibles and the beauty of the human race is that everyone is different. I’m not advocating drugs at all but each to their own.
CBD attaches itself to a number of systems in the body that can aid reaction time, metabolic rate, cardiovascular behaviour and a whole host of other functions, so find what works for you! THC is known for its psychoactive properties and therefore carries sometimes a negative association but is a great muscle relaxant and also taps into certain brain function that either agrees or doesn’t agree with individuals.
What is really interesting to know and understand is that there is a small fraction of the population that THC and CBD literally have no effect on at all. So again, each to their own and at the end of the day if it works for you in the comfort of your own home without damaging you or the people around you…
So how and where are these products made?
CBD Mountain has just set up our UK manufacturing facility to take full control of our products and innovation.
We still have to source our raw extract from a specific supplier as its still illegal to grow hemp in the UK to extract for CBD purposes (bar a few companies lucky enough to be granted the license).
Our products are made using CBD-high hemp strains, that plant material is then processed through different extraction methods depending on the purity we desire. Our source is confidential as we use a proprietary method to produce our base extract… but it’s from the USA.
That formulation is then mixed with terpenes, essential oils and a carrier oil to give it its taste and consistency.
The wonderful part about using an all-natural product is that no batch will ever look exactly the same so Mother Nature really does dictate this to us.
There are many suppliers out there that cater to a large and diverse need, but having our core values in sport from the outset we needed a specific product that not only athletes could use and enjoy but also anyone who is drugs tested at work. Also, people that really need to or want to know exactly what is in their products.
Embrace change as we have no control over it anyway… that’s our motto.
Are there any restrictions on who can buy CBD products? Are there any legal issues?
Yes, age. 18 and over, profession and health play a big part in answering this question.
It’s sold as a food supplement here in the UK so its legal to sell it and buy it but many of the brands out there are not transparent about the content even though they might provide lab reports.
90% of CBD companies have jumped in the arena in the last 6 months. The attention to detail isn’t always there or the simple fact is that they have no idea.
We advise anyone thinking about starting on any alternative supplement to seek advice.
There are legal issues in that there a lot of cowboys out there ruining the industry for the rest of us. I personally know a brand out there that literally has no CBD in the bottle even though they advertise it as containing high concentrations of CBD.
Know your source, speak with them on the phone and grill them. If they don’t have a UK phone number don’t even bother. If you ask them a question and they don’t know the answer, ask them to put you on the phone with someone who does, if that fails just move on.
We also have to look at the lab reports from a third party company not affiliated with the brand in question. So nothing can be faked! Nearly 85% of the CBD products on the market contain THC and CBN.
Both are banned substances by our government. 99% of the products out there contain other banned cannabinoids so people who work in the sports industry need to be careful. Railway workers, nurses, cabin crew, professional athletes and anyone working in the blue light services need to be extra careful.
But in regards to legality, CBD is 100% legal.
What are the proven benefits of CBD products to people who are doing something like mountain biking?
‘Proven’ is a difficult word and to make any claims as a brand is hard but we have enough customers who give us feedback week in week out for the last 2 years to know what we do adds value to their lives.
In reality, the benefits of using CBD in its different forms bring all sorts of reactions. The majority of people notice a difference in their sleep, which of course is crucial to recovery and repairing the body.
The body produces its own form of Cannabinoids which support the immune system, so to argue the point it helps regulate the body in its own way would be accurate. Anti-inflammatory properties, neuroprotectant and neurotrophic are three terms to research and explore for the everyday user of CBD as they directly correlate to mental health and regulation of said systems.
The girls and guys who ride, race, or stunt take our balms, oils and soft gels as they seem to take the edge off the hard knocks and all that comes with a hard day out on the bike.
We have sponsored racers, dirt jumpers, BMX riders, enduro athletes, free-riders and the weekend enthusiasts, all bar a few have seen noticeable benefits. We have had a few guys say they didn’t know the difference or didn’t see any benefit or change and we applaud the honesty as it confirms what I previously mentioned about the few that these products don’t work for.
This could be a whole host of reasons but its honest and genuine and still allows us to continue to develop and innovate our range as what we can advise people moving forward
And are there any benefits that you guys see but aren’t so easy to prove?
As a brand, I’m not allowed to make claims about the products as they are sold as food supplements. But we sponsor enough riders and pro athletes across many sports to know the science and listen to their feedback.
For MTB riders and cyclists, it’s easy. Improved recovery and sleep and reduced inflammation are easy to gauge. The harder parts are the neurological effects. We have a huge database of anecdotal evidence from 100’s of our consumers who discuss the changes they feel and see.
The best way to find out for yourselves is to reach out to one of our sponsored athletes or ambassadors and talk with them.
And what are the risks that people need to be aware of, if any?
There can be interactions with other medicines, so always seek medical advice.
Don’t buy off eBay even if you recognise the brand. No decent brand out there relies on eBay, so just don’t.
There are so many good brands out there, don’t bother buying the cheapest as the majority of the time it’s going to leave you disappointed.
The number of people who call us up and tell us they bought it off eBay or Amazon and it didn’t work for them is heartbreaking as people are spending their hard earned money on fake products and that’s not cool. That can completely deter people in some circumstances or even worse be detrimental to their health.
It’s more effective to micro-dose CBD to start with than to take loads in one go for some people. If you have a salesman telling you to buy the strongest one, ask him why. If his answer seems a bit vague just keep asking more and more and it will soon make you realise how little salesmen and even the owners of these companies don’t know.
At the end of the day, you wouldn’t go to a junkyard for your weekly food shop on the gamble. So why buy something you are putting in or on your body from someone who doesn’t know what in it themselves.
People are obviously concerned about using CBD products when doing sport – like it’ll alter their mental state, change the way they think / act / feel in the same way they would assume using cannabis would doing sport. What’s the response to that?
The simple answer is that there are no cognitive negative mental changes that we’re aware of.
Our CBD range doesn’t contain any Psychoactive compounds either so cognitive impairment is nearly impossible from CBD Mountain, apart from maybe feeling awesome!
All jokes aside, there are a handful of Cannabinoids when taken in certain ways and alongside other compounds that can have psychoactive effects so you just want to make sure you are taking the right product for the right reason.
The chemical processes that the brain releases are non-psychoactive therefore there is no cognitive change. So don’t worry about that. If anything it will relax your mind and allow you to focus far more and allow your body to function systemically more effectively.
For example, when you are stressed, our judgement is impaired and we make poor choices. If we are calm, relaxed and content our judgement is our own and the majority of the time is the correct call.
For research into that simply search ‘systemic nervous system and reaction times’.
CBD delivers processes around the body that dictate many of our body functions so streamlining and making these processes more efficient is the name of the game. We are hard-wired to aim for Homeostasis which is equilibrium in the body. This is where the body is functioning at its most optimum and happily.
CBD supports your immune system that directly controls the ability to aim for Homeostasis each day. It’s a crucial compound our body produces by itself to help itself, so supplementing with plant-based CBD is a brilliant way to help your body do what it does best… look after you
When and how would you use CBD products? What sort of situations might a mountain biker find them useful?
That time you thought you could clear that gap and realised that you’re not going to make it. That’s a perfect time.
To help heal and recover after the crash. Inflammation is a standard thing we go through during exercise, which CBD can help reduce. To get good, natural sleep you can take it just before bed.
If you’re a roady or a triathlete then supporting your immune system is a must. Overtraining and exhaustion is a big issue with road cycling, so supporting your endocrine system (blood system) is going to help regulate these functions.
Having worked as a personal trainer for years we see every type of fitness enthusiasts going and the triathletes are by far some of the most headstrong people going. We have had great results from these athletes simply just supporting their immune systems more with our products.
Dirt jumpers, BMX riders, freeriders racers and the general enthusiast are the guys and girls who have taken us by storm in all honesty. The age of our customers is literally from 20’s all the way up to 80’s.
But the biggest shock for us was the 40’s to 60’s in how responsive they have been to our products. We are looking at a range of people who have put their bodies through a lot over the years. As technology and design in the sport has got better with the bikes, so have the abilities to stay on the bike shredding harder for longer.
Which means they need to be recovering better, more efficiently and allowing them to function the next day at work and with their kids whilst feeding that adrenaline rush. We are all our best and worst enemies when it comes to our vices. If we have an injury in the background we will try and push through it and carry on regardless. We’ve all done it and sometimes it makes no difference, sometimes it gets worse over time and then we have surgeries or persistent pain.
Are there any issues with banned substance lists, anti-doping and the general ethics of CBD products in competition?
If you’re an athlete, you need to be taking a special formula that has the banned substances removed. We produce this ourselves off the back of experimenting with top pro athletes in many different sports, testing their usage of CBD, then testing their blood. We are literally the only CBD Company in the UK that has done this and can stand by what we say so we thrive off this question.
There are many brands out there that make the claim about having 0% THC and this is simply not true, I hate to burst peoples bubbles, the term non-detectable is a term that any athletes going through drugs test will understand but for everyone else it simply means that the compound or substance in question doesn’t show up on the test that is in front of them in that very moment. It doesn’t mean that another test wouldn’t show it present. It all comes down to the machine and the calibration it’s set to… and this is the important part.
The other concern is that THC isn’t the only cannabinoid banned by WADA and UKAD. There are literally hundreds of compounds banned due to their performance enhancing properties. Imagine that, guys. Substances found in the Cannabis plant species that have Performance Enhancing Properties, not the traditional view on the drug demonised by the government!
To get the correct information please call us and ask which one you need to take. 99% of the brands out there literally have no idea about this and think it’s the only THC that’s banned.
You hear a lot of athletes talking about CBD in relation to pain relief – often for injury management. Would you say CBD products are any better than traditional pain killers?
CBD is the traditional medication. Opiates/opioids are what you are describing and there is a whole host of benefits and disadvantages to these types of drugs. It all comes down to a handful of different variables. Subjectivity to the individual and their body, the condition you are trying to treat and the circumstance.
Even I will sometimes take medication I need to buy in a pharmacy that stocks our CBD range right next to it. Some things need a different approach to tackle them and I’m a firm believer in doing what is right for your body. Seek medical advice and never do anything before researching for yourself, take control of your own choices and health.
It’s a tricky question to answer as ‘traditional’ meds operate in a different receptor system attached to the nervous system. They have different functions as well as synergistic properties. CBD functions in the Endo-Cannabinoid system which regulates pain, appetite, sleep, immune function, neurology and literally dozens of other bodily functions.
We argue that natural is better. Cannabis has been used since the dawn of time to treat all sorts of conditions, so now that we have managed to figure out how to separate the different compounds in the plant species and create different delivery systems to get it into the body we have a much more effective application for CBD.
And are CBD products just for recovery? Do they benefit healthy, able-bodied people?
General immune system support and a natural way to approach a regulatory compound that your body already produces. It’s not a chemical based product so that’s always safer and cleaner.
There is a list as long as my arm for the benefits of CBD for general well being. This is the type of information that does separate us from so many pop-up brands out there as you need to have access to biochemistry and pharmacologists to fully understand what the body needs, does and carries out each day.
Being partnered with a sports science clinic really does give us an advantage that simply is unrivalled and gives our customers the confidence to trust and believe our products and our vision.
This attention to detail for the elite athletes and the general fitness enthusiast carries a wealth of knowledge and understanding for the general consumer for everyday immune system function and keeping us healthy and balanced each day. Taking the edge off chronic fatigue or regulating the mood can go a long way in changing how you feel every day, regardless of whether you’re into sports or not.
It seems like there’s more and more CBD promotion going on in mountain biking and in sports like Supercross and MX.
I’m not clear if CBD products are something we should or shouldn’t be promoting to an audience that contains young people. What’s your thoughts?
To cut a long story short there is nothing to worry about with children and CBD alone ! There are 1000’s of brands out there that contain other compounds that are harmful to children so it takes some explaining. Before jumping out your seat in outrage and confusion…. Take the time to read what is written below.
For about 9 months in the womb Endo-cannabinoids are passed to the baby from the mother on a daily basis and are pivotal to the development of the foetus in many forms. Your sweet adorable baby wouldn’t have the roof of their mouth and the ability to suckle in order to feed if there were no exchange of endo-cannabinoids passed from the mother.
Social interaction in toddlers is greatly intertwined with cannabinoid uptake which is then transferred by breast milk. So it’s a worthwhile question to ask and one of the most important ones to ask but needs to be answered properly.
We see this show itself in certain countries where vegetables aren’t a huge part of the natural diet in that area and the frequency of babies born with certain conditions that are directly correlated to lack of Cannabinoids so it isn’t just anecdotal you can literally see the effects of having a balanced diet can have from an early age in the womb.
It’s natural, non harmful and we as humans produce CBD on a constant basis. The CBD we buy and sell is just a Phyto-Cannabinoids (plant based form). It’s all about education and about leaving egos at the door and researching properly with the correct due diligence.
Know your source and supply of your favourite CBD brand and know how its extracted, what its mixed with and then research yourself until you feel comfortable taking control of either your health or your child’s health. There is no right or wrong answer but its about knowledge and understanding.
We see a lot of passing trends in mountain biking – and a lot of ‘snake oil’ style magic cures that brands promise to be the next big thing.
Why do you think CBD products have what it takes to be more than just another snake oil product?
It’s a valid question and one we love answering. It’s produced in the body already, the science behind it gets stronger each day. All you have to do is speak to the medical research labs in Israel as they have been researching this in the public domain for over 35 years.
It simply comes down to the government needing to regulate and collar an industry like this. They receive a huge amount of pressure from pharmaceuticals to spread lies and misinformation which gets churned around the internet and causes confusion.
CBD isn’t and never will be snake oil. It’s the snakes that sell fake oil that you need to worry about.
Last questions then. If people are interested in learning more about CBD products – where should they go next?
Call us, message us on Instagram, join our group on Facebook. But mainly, call us and talk to us.
Start out low and steady and build up to the recommended doses on our bottles. But call us before you do anything.