Does CBD Help You Recover After A Workout?

*Despite what you might read elsewhere on the internet, no CBD product has been medically proven to prevent, treat, or cure chronic pain, muscle fatigue, or blood pressure. This article discusses ongoing research into the endocannabinoid system and should not be used as a medical or health recommendation or diagnosis.*

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most active ingredient in cannabis after THC, aka tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD is derived from the Hemp plant, which is a species of the Cannabis plant that contains higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC (under 0.3%). CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids, or compounds found in Hemp, and is not associated with the “high” feeling that THC can produce. 

CBD, and the cannabinoids found in Hemp, are currently being studied by scientists for their potential benefits in helping reduce nausea, relieving pain, serving as a sleep aid, and to help balance the core functioning systems in our bodies. CBD is also being researched for its anti-inflammatory properties which could help you recover more quickly from workouts. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts have been turning to CBD, Hemp, and Cannabis to relieve their post-workout soreness and speed up recovery from injury.

Lifting weights and other strenuous forms of exercise causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers. These muscles then become inflamed, triggering the body to repair the damage, which causes soreness and stiffness. CBD and Hemp products are being used by athletes for their potential use in helping with post-workout muscle tension, soreness, and overall aches & pains. They believe that it helps their bodies relax and better deal with the stress from their strenuous workouts which speeds up recovery and the healing process.

cbd workout recovery

Unfortunately, many people are turning to muscle relaxers to help with their pain and muscle recovery. These muscle relaxers are drugs that are known to contain side effects like trembling, dizziness, fatigue, depression, and confusion. The Hemp plant, however, is a natural alternative that has less overall risk and is known to have less side effects than many pharmaceutical options available today. 

CBD and Hemp have many potential uses and can be ingested orally or rubbed on muscles as a topical gel. CBD can also be added to baths to increase the effectiveness of warm baths following a workout. According to a review of over 100 studies published in Frontiers in Neurology in 2018, CBD was researched for its potential benefits of decreasing inflammation, helping alleviate minor pain, improving mobility, and aiding in the function of the central nervous system. The review concluded that CBD and the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant showed promising results for potential use as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic (effective against nausea),  antipsychotic, and may help play a vital role in balancing our nervous systems, according to the review.

While many people think about using CBD for its muscle recovery properties as a post-workout supplement, some take CBD before hitting the gym. CBD can potentially give a natural boost to performance. Because CBD is often used to ease anxiousness, many believe it can also help them focus better during exercise. A pre-workout dose of CBD provides a base for the post-workout CBD. When you take your CBD before a workout, make sure that you allow enough time for it to stimulate the native cannabinoids and receptor sites inside your body. 

Clinic Research 

A study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that the blood pressure response to stress was reduced among subjects who were given CBD instead of those who were given a placebo during a workout. A review published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management found that CBD was effective in managing aches and pains in people who had frequent pain, without the adverse side effects of many medications.

While more research is needed on the effects of CBD before and after a workout, one study indicated that CBD might even lead to better endurance. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, without a balanced endocannabinoid system, a “runner’s high” may not even be possible. Thus, using CBD and Hemp could help increase endorphins during exercise, allowing those who take CBD to achieve a higher level of endurance. 

A study in the journal Cardiovascular Research found that CBD may be a vasorelaxant. This means it might ease tension in arteries and veins so that blood can flow better. CBD is currently being studied as an aid in reducing blood pressure as well. These effects may help you lengthen your workout without the usual fatigue and stress. CBD stays in the body for hours, meaning it could potentially help stave off the soreness you feel after training. It’s worth noting that CBD capsules, edibles, oil added to smoothies, and gummies typically take effect after approximately one to two hours. However, tinctures taken under the tongue take effect in about 30 minutes.

fitness cbd oil

For some exercise enthusiasts, the mental benefits of CBD are as important as the physical. In addition to relieving muscle soreness or aches and speeding post-workout recovery, it can help you relax and stay focused. For serious athletes, the calming effect of CBD can take off the edge before a game or competition. 

The Endocannabinoid System

CBD is not the only cannabinoid compound that has beneficial effects before and after a workout. CBG, CBN, and CBC in CBD Oil can all help active people. CBC, or cannabichromene, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp and derived from cannabichromenic acid. CBC has been found to play a significant role in the development of the brain. CBC has antibacterial and antifungal properties and might be useful to combat inflammation you experience after a workout. 

Cannabinoids like CBC act on inflammation differently than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do, according to a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology. CBC could be a great natural alternative without the side effects of Ibuprofen and other similar medications. CBC in combination with THC had a significant anti-inflammatory response in a study on animals. Together, the CBC and THC produced a significantly greater effect on inflammation than by themselves.

Cannabinol, or CBN, is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid derived from tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), the same compound that gives rise to THC. In addition to having sedative properties, studies have indicated that CBN may have immune-regulating properties. 

CBD can come from marijuana, but most of the CBD you see comes from hemp, a similar plant with very little THC. Hemp is legal in the United States but is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means selecting which kind of CBD to buy is very important. The most crucial factor to consider is that the CBD you buy is verified by an independent third-party lab so that you know you are getting a product without contaminants and impurities. Make sure to buy CBD from a licensed dispensary or check the label if you are purchasing a product online to make sure it has been lab-tested.

It’s also important to choose a product that contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids and not just CBD. CBD alone is not enough, and only serves as a catalyst for the other cannabinoids that are present. The entourage effect of the full plant and all of the cannabinoids are known to produce better and longer lasting results. It’s important to make sure the product you choose has multiple cannabinoids that show up on their test results.