CBD oil has become a bit of a joke in the biohacking world. It suffered from too much Silicon Valley interest: a bunch of start-ups began selling it, flooding the market. The problem is that 90% of them had (and still have) slick marketing pushing a crappy, low-quality product.
There’s plenty of research backing CBD oil—which isn’t surprising, because the researchers get the quality stuff that’s made in a lab by trained chemists and tested for purity.
But if you’ve taken CBD, there’s a good chance you didn’t feel anything. With so many cheap suppliers, it’s hard to find the good stuff.
Most biohackers I know have written CBD oil off, and I don’t blame them. They paid a lot for it and didn’t see any benefits.
It’s a shame, because quality CBD is actually a powerful performance enhancer, and it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of it around the house.
Here are 10 benefits of (real) CBD oil, as well as how to find a legitimate brand.
10 Benefits of (Real) CBD Oil
There’s been a lot of research on CBD oil in the last few years. Here are a few highlights when it comes to CBD and performance.
- Better mood. CBD increases anandamide levels in your brain, which increases positive emotion and makes you happier[*].
- Stronger brain pathways. CBD promotes neurogenesis, strengthening pathways in your brain. It’s especially good at improving brain pathways involved in depression and anxiety[*].
- More serotonin. Research shows that CBD rapidly increases serotonin levels in a way that mimics prescription antidepressants[*].
- Better digestion. CBD binds to receptors in your gut, soothing your stomach and promoting regularity[*].
- Lower gut inflammation. CBD also reduces inflammation in your gut biome, which can be especially good if you struggle with food sensitivities or digestive distress[*].
- Increased gut integrity. You have gaps called tight junctions that line your gut, allowing nutrients to pass out while keeping invaders and gut pathogens from getting in. Stress, inflammation, and certain foods can weaken those tight junctions, allowing pathogens into your gut. CBD maintains the integrity of your tight junctions, keeping your gut in good shape[*].
- Decreased joint inflammation. CBD reduces joint inflammation caused by oxidative stress in your joints[*].
- Decreased pain. A 2014 double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that CBD reduced pain in people with neuropathy[*].
- Faster muscle recovery. A 2020 review found that CBD improves muscle recovery and reduces post-exercise muscle pain in athletes[*].
- Stronger immune function. A study form 2021 found that CBD prevents SARS COV-2 infection and increases innate immunity by fighting off viruses[*].
How to Find CBD That Actually Works
Most CBD is weak and overpriced. I’ve tested a lot of different brands over the years and almost none of them were up to my standards. That said, there are a couple brands I like.
My current go-to CBD company is Radical Roots. They offer public 3rd-party test results for purity on every batch of CBD they produce, and they get their hemp from farms that don’t use pesticides, insecticides, or other environmental toxins.
Radical Roots also supports growers that use regenerative and rotational farming, which means their hemp remineralizes the soil and leaves it better for generations to come. As a farmer myself, I appreciate that—it’s one of the keys to making higher-quality food for all of us in the future.
If you’ve written off CBD because you didn’t feel any benefits from it, I suggest giving it another try. There’s a huge difference between the generic, low-quality stuff and actual CBD. I always keep a bottle in my supplement cabinet; it’s a good thing to keep in your house, especially if you’re pursuing higher performance.