Steamboat company believes cannabidiol will help endurance athletes push their bodies to next level
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As a trail runner, Jay O’Hare knows what it is like to push his body to extremes while training and competing, and his own experiences have inspired him to start his newest venture, VengaCBD.
“I started looking around at what I do, in terms of trail running and ultrarunning, and I discovered this is just perfect for endurance athletes who suffer injuries or who do hard training regiments that cause inflammation in their muscles,” O’Hare said. “So, I decided to start a company that helps endurance athletes get back on the road when their bodies’ will not let them.”
O’Hare recently founded VengaCBD, a Steamboat-based company that offers cannabidiol, or CBD, products engineered specifically for endurance athletes. The company offers a recovery balm ($120 for a 20-once container) and gels ($120 for 30, 25 mg gels). O’Hare said his products are different because they have an 85 percent absorption rate — much higher than the 6 to 15 percent achieved by other oil-based CDB products — from using a patented nano-emulsion technology which allows the CBD to be adsorbed in the body five times better than a typical product.
“I’m 41, and I’m always looking for something to add to my ability to train hard and recover better,” said Anne Donley, a palates instructor and professional cyclist who rides 200 to 300 miles per week and competes in top-level races during the year. “I do think this is helping me recover faster.”
Earlier this week, she talked about VengaCBD while using the recovery balm to massage her quadriceps and legs after a training ride.
“I did a 75-mile training ride this morning, with some really hard efforts,” Donley said. “It’s great after those really intense training rides.”
Donley said she feels a little like a science project as she looks for better ways to improve her performance, even as she gets older.
“It’s not like you put it on and think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m amazing,” Donley said. “I’m still in the process of paying attention — I’m very body aware.”
Donley said she has heard about several other athletes and cyclists using CBD. She said in October 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency took CBD off its list of banned substances. As a result, in January, athletes were permitted to use CBD as long as it does not contain THC, a psychoactive component.
“Athletes can use CBD … but if they get tested and there is THC, that can cause problems,” O’Hare said. “The great thing about our product is that it contains zero THC.”
That, combined with the high absorption rate, makes his product perfect for endurance athletes, he said, and those who push their bodies to the limit from time to time.
“Cannabidiol is derived from the hemp plant,” O’Hare said. “CBD has a whole range of known benefits to people. It’s not just one thing, and it helps with inflammation, it helps with sleep and it helps with injury recovery.”
To achieve the best results, VengaCBD should be used as part of a routine, he said. However, athletes can take more after heavy training sessions, during competitions and when they are in pain.
He said the recently passed 2018 farm bill, which makes hemp legal across the United States, will make his product easier to market and sell.
There already is a lot of interest in his product from a number of professional athletes, he said, and he thinks it is appealing because it aids in recovery and is natural.
“We felt that endurance athletes are looking for natural remedies, and they are in tune with their bodies,” O’Hare said. “It’s becoming well-known that some drugs, ibuprofen and those anti-inflammatory steroids, cause damage to the kidneys and to the liver — especially during endurance sports. This CBD solution can be taken during an event, it can be taken during training and it can be taken afterward. There is really no limit — it’s not addictive, and there are not side effects.”
VengaCBD is available online, and O’Hare said the company offers free local delivery.