CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, may be just the answer if you are looking to curb muscle soreness, inflammation, and the like from your post workout athletic recovery. With new scientific research emerging in the field, CBD oil and topical cream are shaping up to be a promising addition to any fitness regime.
What Is CBD?
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of more than 100 compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis. Extracted from the seeds and stalk of the cannabis plant, CBD is a natural botanical concentrate that contains less than 0.3% THC and will not make users “high.” Similar in structure to endocannabinoids, cannabis-like substances that are produced naturally by the body, cannabinoids help the body maintain stability, health, and a sense of well being.
Recently, a growing number of fitness enthusiasts consider CBD a key part of their recovery regimen. Even professional athletes are supplementing with CBD oil to help reduce chronic pain and inflammation, improve sleep quality, and may lead to increased muscle growth.
CBD Can Promote Muscle Growth
Research has shown that CBD has anti-catabolic properties, which means that it can help reduce the breakdown of lean muscle tissue and even help to build more muscle mass. CBD has been shown to decrease the number of catabolic hormones in the body and regulate the stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissue to supply the body with blood sugar. By reducing the level of cortisol in your body post-workout, CBD oil allows protein synthesis and encourages muscle regeneration.
With CBD’s anti-catabolic potential, supplementing your fitness regime with CBD may be just the thing to push you past your plateau in progress. Because as we gain more and more muscle it becomes easier for our body to produce cortisol and therefore limit muscle growth. Which makes CBD a great tool that may help you reach new fitness goals.
Muscle Soreness & CBD
CBD for DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) is another area where anecdotal reports are positive. Inflammation is a necessary part of the recovery process, but excess inflammation can cause secondary muscle damage due to the release of free radicals from active neutrophils (white blood cells). It’s thought CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature may help reduce this excess muscle soreness.
Scientists are still in the early stages of studying CBD at a clinical level, but CBD has been shown to suppress the inflammatory response, along with neuropathic pain that athletes may experience. According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. Using CBD as a pre-workout supplement will best help reduce sensitivity to pain during your workout, and because you won’t be as sensitive to pain signals from your muscles, you may be able to endure a more high-intensity workout.
Improving Sleep Quality With CBD
Getting more and better sleep is one of the most effective ways an athlete can achieve greater training gains. Reaching the REM cycle of sleep is crucial to a successful post-workout routine, as it’s the sleep stage that provides optimal conditions for muscle building and repair.
Athletes who consume CBD report greater ease going to sleep and a more restful night’s sleep. For example, a 2019 study by researchers from the University of Colorado examined whether CBD capsules could help 72 people suffering from anxiety and poor sleep. The study reported sleep improvements in 67% of the patients. Furthermore, a 2017 review paper on the use of cannabis for sleep noted that preliminary findings suggest CBD could be used to help with insomnia.
Taking CBD For Athletic Recovery
CBD is available as “full-spectrum” or “isolate”. Full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other compounds found in the original plant, which could include small amounts of THC. If the CBD was derived from industrial hemp, the THC content of the original plant is legally supposed to be less than .3%. Products that contain CBD isolate should only contain CBD. CBD isolate and CBD produced from hemp would be a better choice, from an anti-doping standpoint, for anyone with zero-tolerance drug testing at work.
Companies that produce and sell CBD products recommend starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it based on the effects you experience.
CBD Creams & Topicals For Athletic Recovery
Made from infusing high-quality cannabis flowers in some kind of quality oil-coconut or olive typically-which extracts the active compounds, either CBD, THC, or both depending on the type of hemp used. This oil is then blended with other therapeutic herbs, like arnica or lemongrass essential oils, that are well-known pain relievers. A study analysis in the Journal of Pain Research confirms that topical use of certain cannabinoid topicals can reduce pain in animals with inflammation or neuropathic pain.
Topicals are meant to be massaged into the skin, so you’ll apply them directly to the affected area. Always refer to the packaging for specific directions and recommendations from the manufacturer.
This cream packs 1,000 milligrams (mg) of CBD into a mere 8 ounces. That means it’s highly concentrated, which may make it more effective. The CBD used is isolate rather than full- or broad-spectrum CBD, making this product a good choice for people who want to avoid THC altogether.
CBD Oils For Athletic Recovery
When CBD oil is administered sublingually, it’s held under the tongue for up to 90 seconds so that the mucous membranes in the mouth can absorb the oil’s active ingredients. The benefit of consuming CBD oil sublingually is that the absorption process bypasses the digestive system and liver metabolization, allowing the compounds to reach your bloodstream and interact with the endocannabinoid system more quickly. For those looking for quick effects, a sublingual CBD oil product is ideal.
Pure CBD oil, as well as tinctures and concentrates, are CBD products that are designed for the sublingual method of application. They can easily be held in the mouth to give the active ingredients time to be absorbed by the capillaries in the mouth before being swallowed.
This full-spectrum hemp extract oil may help to relieve daily stress, support exercise recovery, alleviate muscle and joint pain, and improve focus. It may also help to calm your nerves and support a healthy night’s sleep. This oil should be taken orally. It’s available in olive oil and mint chocolate flavors, which are made from natural flavoring.
CBD & Your Post Workout Recovery
Just like everyone is unique in their body’s reaction to smoking or eating marijuana, the same can go for using CBD creams and oils. So, the rule of “start low, go slow” still applies when using tinctures or topicals for sports recovery. Also, with legalization rippling through the country CBD is becoming an easily accessible tool to add to post-workout recovery routine. Although the benefits of CBD are still being actively researched, the scientific evidence that does exist suggests that cannabidiol supports your body’s regeneration through restful sleep, anti-inflammation, and a decrease in cortisol levels.
What has your experience been like with CBD and sports recovery? Do you have any tips or products to recommend? Lets us know down in the comments!