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CBD. Perhaps the most popular acronym of 2018, and perhaps 2019 as well. Chances are if you are searching either “CBD for bodybuilding” OR “Endoca CBD oil review” you already know what this acronym stands for.
For those who don’t, forgot or accidentally stumbled upon this page while they were perusing all of my other awesome content, CBD is short for “Cannabidiol” which is a phytocannabinoid only recently discovered in 1940.
CBD is one of 113+ cannabinoids found in hemp plants. In total cannabinoids make up over 40% of a plants extract, with a majority of the rest being water.
It wasn’t until 1993 that scientists learned the human body has a specific “endocannabinoid system” also known as ECS that has receptors specifically engineered to pick up cannabinoid compounds.
Pretty nuts isn’t it? The fact that CBD was only discovered in 1940, and our own system that we’ve always had lying in our bodies to receive these cannabinoids was only discovered in 1993, which is pretty recent in the grand scheme of things.
It is partially due to the fact that we only discovered our bodies contain a matching piece for these to plug-into is part of why CBD and CBD extracts are such hot news these days.
The other part for the popularity of CBD oils, tinctures, creams, patches and pills are the therapeutic effects.
CBD Benefits for Bodybuilders & Athletes
“Cool story bro, but I’m a Crossfitter not a hippie. I don’t care about history or anatomy, I just want to make gains and be healthy!”
Well, hold onto your horses, I’m getting to the good stuff here..
CBD has a wide range of benefits, backed up by literally hundreds of thousands of user reviews and experiences published all over the web.
The most conclusive benefits include:
- treatment of epilepsy for children
- reduction in inflammation and chronic pain (anyone who regularly lifts heavy understands pain)
- anti anxiolytic
- sleep aid
Because high-potency oils are relatively new and doctors only discovered the endocannabinoid system as late as ’93 there aren’t too many studies, but there are definitely enough to back up the claims of the hundreds of thousands of “CBD believers”.
Top studies showing benefits of CBD oil use:
- Anti-inflammatory and anti anxiolytic human study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27285147 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
- Reduction in anxiety in public speaking for people with anxiety disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846 and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283
- Anti-depressant properties: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339
- Reduction in relapsing into opioid abuse: https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Approvals/Drugs/ucm405622.htm
- Blood pressure management: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470879/
- Anti-psychotic properties: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996415000638?via%3Dihub
- Anti-inflammatory properties and pain management: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
- Neuro-protective benefits in the brain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20679217
- Anti-arthritic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920191
- Improved sleep cycles: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112474524
- *In progress study for treatment of PTSD https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03248167
This article from Haleih’s Hope, a research site dedicated to the therapeutic benefits of hemp lists out all of the studies along with infographics to make processing the information quick and easy.
So there’s the science and if you’ve been an athlete for any period of time, your ears probably have perked up at the anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects of CBD.
Well, so did mine, and that’s why I spent two days, totaling over 6 solid hours of researching CBD manufacturers and brands to try to find the highest quality, most pure product so that I could run a test myself.
I wanted to see if CBD would help out a 30 year old man who worked out 6 days a week, 1-2 hours per session, incorporating a wide variety of heavy compound lifts and higher volume isolation exercises. The motivating factor here is to reduce overall pain and increase healing.
To build mass you need to lift heavy (and eat supplement right). Lifting heavy however is extremely stressful on the body. It’s this stress of the muscle that stimulates it to grow, i.e hypertrophy.
This same stress however can damage tendons, joints and other non-muscular systems. This can result in systemic inflammation and pain. CBD has been regularly documented as a great source of systemic pain relief. Less inflammation and pain= more time lifting, eating and recovering. This substance seems like a no-brainer for the serious bodybuilder.
After digging through endless sub-Reddits, Amazon product pages, forum posts and company blogs I settled on Endoca as my supplier for my experiment.
CBD Oil & Impact on Testosterone Levels
There is a lot of bro-science and conjecture about the effects of CBD oil on natural testosterone levels. Some say it decreases levels because of the more relaxed feeling you can get from higher doses. Others claim CBD oil increases testosterone because of how the endocannabinoid system interacts with the hypothalamic pituitary axis.
So far there have not been any conclusive clinical studies showing any increase or decrease in testosterone production when consuming CBD oil. We do know however how some of the effects of CBD usage may indirectly impact test levels.
*If you are unsure where you’re natural test levels are in the range of “healthy” we recommend getting a home testosterone test kit so you know where you stand as a natty.
For example, we know that CBD can help reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol levels (stress) have a direct relationship with testosterone. When cortisol levels increase (high stress environments) then testosterone production decreases. For testosterone levels to be at optimal natural levels we want low cortisol levels. By reducing cortisol levels CBD may indirectly benefit in the natural production of healthy testosterone levels.
Similarly, we know that CBD can have a reduction effect on muscle soreness and chronic pain. Thus, in enabling an athlete to overcome pain and recover faster they may be able to resume their workout routine/regimen faster, get more total workouts in and thus, make more gains in the long run than someone who takes longer to recover from exercise and thus doesn’t spend as much time in the gym.
Again, these are all pretty broad correlations, not causations. For this reason we cannot confidently claim that CBD usage contributes to higher testosterone levels but we are optimistic about the overall synergistic impact of CBD usage and a healthy lifestyle that promotes healthy levels of natural T production.
Best Organic CBD Brand: Why I Chose Endoca
There are a lot of scammy companies in the CBD industry. Whenever something blows up in popularity like this you can be sure there will be more than a few unscrupulous businessmen looking to turn a quick buck.
For this reason I wanted to find a company that has a solid identity, with faces and names behind the brand, so that I know they believe in their product.
I also wanted to find a company that reflected the values I hold as a consumer. This not only makes me feel more responsible about my purchase but is also an indicator that the retailer isn’t some fly-by-night scheme but instead is invested in the community and in the game for the long haul.
Endoca meets all of these requirements.
Henry Vincenty is the founder of the company. Here he is in a t-shirt and swim trunks. Note the lack of suit. Good call Henry!
Key differentiators that makes Endoca superior to other CBD brands I found:
- Transparency: You see who actually is behind the company
- 100% Organic: If you’re ingesting un-processed plant extracts being organic is crucial
- Clean Manufacturing: U.N certified for clean production
- Lab Tested: Endoca uses 3rd party testing to ensure purity and % of CBD per unit
- Small & Family-run: I have a personal preference for supporting family-run businesses
- Fast Customer Service: I got back replies within a day, and they seem native, not outsourced
- High Potency Options: They have standard 300mg oils all the way up to 3,000mg extracts
If you are going to give CBD a try make sure the company meets as many of the above criteria as possible, with the bolded ones being the bare-minimum requirement for quality.
I ended up getting one of the more stronger oils, at 15% CBD (1,500mg) which is quite a bit stronger than a lot of the 300mg stuff you see. Go big or go home right? Below is the ingredient profile for the hemp oil I got:
Personally if the company isn’t organic and doesn’t offer 3rd party testing on their products I immediately move on as it could very easily be a scam.
While I promote the brand in this post, this has been written AFTER doing my own research and spending my own money on the product and testing it. Proof of my *spendy purchase below:
This might not seem important but you should be skeptical of online reviews, no matter what the product or industry, as many bloggers and social media personalities are paid to promote things they haven’t tried and don’t care about. This isn’t that.
To preserve the oil it’s best to keep it out of sunlight and refrigerated. Whether you keep it extra insulated with cold by placing it next to a bag of sauerkraut is up to you.
In summary, I found Endoca on my own fruition based on my own search criteria mentioned below. After using the product I can honestly say they are the best option, at the time of writing, for quality CBD products online.
Desired Outcome, Test Subject Background Info, Dosing Protocol
My reasons for wanting to give CBD a shot as a bodybuilder was to help with inflammation, as I occasionally experience shoulder pain, especially after heavy back days with a lot of heavy rowing, or after shoulder-focused workouts.
I was also looking forward to improved sleep. All serious athletes know that you only grow when you’re sleeping, so the more quality sleep you can get, the more gains you can consistently make.
I’ve been training over 6 years, weight approximately 195lbs give or take a few, and train 6 days a week in a bodybuilding style.
Being close to 200lbs I started with a conservative 20mg to begin with, to test the waters. Nothing about CBD ever “hits” you.. you just realize after a period of time you feel a bit more relaxed.
Effect 1: CBD Post Workout: Improved Relaxation & Sleep
After Day 1 testing at 20mg I bumped my dose up to 30mg after my workout. After a 2 hour long leg day I am usually wired for at least 4-5 hours after working out.
This is due to increased hormonal activity along with the stimulants I consumed pre-workout as the preworkout drink addict I am.
Thus I try to get workouts in before 2PM to ensure I’m able to fall asleep properly when I choose to later in the evening.
One of the biggest thing I noticed with CBD is that taking it post-workout seems to reduce the mind-racing and restlessness that I usually have.
To put this in perspective, sleeping within 2 hours after a workout has pretty much been impossible.
However with 30mg of 1,500mg CBD oil from Endoca I could easily take a nap within an hour after working out.
I then started dosing 30mg 30min after my workout in the afternoon to calm down, and then 30mg again an hour before I chose to sleep.
The result? I regularly fall asleep much more quickly (less time spent “trying” to force myself to fall asleep) and much sounder sleep.
CBD seems to remove some stress barrier that allows sleep to come more easily and last longer. I wake up refreshed and ready to start my day.
As mild-relaxant and sleep aid I’d say CBD oil is a big winner.
Effect 2: CBD and Cortisol: Reduced Anxiety
I’m not a particularly overly-nervous person generally speaking, however there are definitely certain situations where my heart races and I get a bit “jittery” with my thought processes.
One such situation is job interviewing. I’ve been interviewing this month and even though I know I’m fully qualified and have fully prepared for said interviews, I still can’t help to get quite nervous beforehand.
When I’m nervous I don’t think nearly as clearly as when I’m in a calm state of mind. I received my Endoca CBD in the middle of an extended interview process. I had spoken to 2 people and had scheduled another interview.
After a 30mg dosing 1hr before the interview I felt more self-assured and less scatter-brained than normal. I realize this writing seems vague, but I’m not Hemingway and have no other way of describing it.
Could it be a placebo effect? Potentially. The brain is a powerful thing, and if it convinced itself to not be nervous then perhaps it did.
I do think the Endoca CBD did play at least a contributing role here, as I’ve definitely tried to mentally de-stress before without any success.
Small Noticeable Effect: CBD for Muscle Recovery
While I don’t have noticeable (visible) inflammation I’m sure I have some given my strenuous gym-rat lifestyle. I pushed myself a bit too much on a couple shoulder days now and had some aching shoulder joints afterwards that I really hoped the CBD would cure.
Unfortunately, it did not eliminate achy shoulder joints. Did it reduce the pain? Yes, but it’s hard to measure exactly by how much, and compare that against an achy shoulder baseline. Also, since I’m not a scientist and don’t have any controls I can’t rule out the placebo effect.
Could it help reduce pain long-term? Perhaps. I am currently dosing my CBD at 30mg post workout and then again 1hr before bed if I feel particularly restless or want to sleep earlier than my usual routine. I’d definitely recommend people with low-level chronic aches to give it a shot. I would not recommend it for anyone experiencing pain higher than a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
At just over $100 USD for a bottle of the decarboxylated 1,500mg CBD oil this stuff ain’t cheap, but then again, good medicine never is.
I am always happy to pay a bit more to ensure my supplements are pure, 3rd party tested and as potent as possible.
Is the price worth it for the benefits? Well despite not noticing a reduction in pain, I would say the improved sleep and anti-anxiety properties make it a great thing to have around.
Sleep is so critical to our healthy bodily functions, whether you are a bodybuilder or not, so to have a 100% naturally derived substance to help improve sleep quality means it is worth its weight in gold to me.
The anti-anxiety properties too can be useful. Average days probably don’t require supplementation, but for interviews, presentations, public speaking, heck, even a wedding, I think CBD can be a great way to tone down the intensity of your stress to help you think more calmly and thus more clearly.
I’m going to keep supplementing with this Endoca bottle until it runs out. I’m about 2 weeks in and will update this post at the 1 month mark to see if there is any changed effects.
Now for some additional questions I’ve been asked in regards to my CBD test:
General CBD Oil FAQs
*Keep in mind this is not medical advise and I am not a doctor. This is simply first hand experience I am sharing. Evaluate, purchase and administer CBD at your own risk.
Q: Is CBD oil safe for athletes?
A: Yes. It’s hemp juice. There is no THC or any dangerous compounds in 100% pure hemp products like the ones Endoca sell. There is always a potential for harm if you are not careful when shopping and buy tainted or fake products from other brands.
Q: Will it get me high?
A: No. There is no THC. Well, legally there can be up to 0.02% THC, which unless you’re Antman, isn’t enough to do anything at all. I never experienced any “high” sensation when dosing with Endoca.
And yes, I have consumed THC plenty of times in legal states, so I know the difference in CBD-relaxation vs. THC-high/relaxation.
Q: What’s the CBD oil dosage for bodybuilders/athletes?
A: 20mg for an average sized man seems to be the general consensus from users. When trying something new it is always good to start low/slow and increase things slowly from your starting point. At 195lbs I like the feeling I get at 30mg/dose, up to twice daily.
Q: Should I take CBD pre or post workout?
A: It relaxes you and totally wipes out that “want to kill things and move heavy shit” kind of rage that you need to make gains in the gym, so I would definitely say take your CBD AFTER your workout, and gain before bed if you want.
Q: Are there any CBD specific workout supplements out there?
A: Not that I know of, not yet…
I’m a big fan of sleep-supplementation. For example. Ronnie Coleman has a product called Resurrect P.M, which contains L-Dopa, Choline, GABA, Phenibut, and ZMA which I love to help boost nighttime gains. I’d take that with melatonin and be out like a light.
I think combining 30mg of Endoca CBD with a ZMA product would be an absolute killer combination for bodybuilders looking to maximize their night-time gains production. Actually, I think I’m going to try to test this out very soon..
Q: Is CBD oil good for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?
A: Actually yes. While my CBD supplementation did not eliminate pain (shoulder/joint) as I was hoping, I definitely didn’t have the same intense DOMS that come after particularly intense days.
For example, if I do a leg day, and haven’t done one for more than 3 days before, I know I’m in for killer DOMS two days after.
Well, due to traveling, I’ve skipped a couple leg days (I know…I know..) and when I went back to it I hit it hard. The muscles were tight after, but I didn’t walk like a duck like I normally do after insane leg days, so I’m going to chalk this up as another win for the CBD.
Q: Is CBD a steroid?
A: No. Not even the same planet. It’s not a drug either, so go ahead and order it and tell your mom to get off your damn back!