CBD Oil For Post Workout Recovery
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has grown incredibly popular, and it’s not difficult to see why. This non-psychoactive hemp preparation can help with a wide range of symptoms and conditions in a natural, holistic way.
For example, many people use CBD oil to help with workout recovery, reducing soreness and helping with injuries that keep you from being at your best.
Should you take CBD oil before or after your workout? How does it help manage pain and improve post-workout recovery? Is there any evidence that it works?
Let’s take a closer look at this natural recovery aid.
How Can CBD Oil Help With Workout Recovery?
CBD and other cannabinoids produce their beneficial effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This holistic system helps our bodies maintain a healthy state of balance called homeostasis.
To that end, the endocannabinoid system regulates processes central to our wellness, such as metabolism, cognitive function, pain, and inflammation.
In addition, CBD also interacts with other receptors and brain chemicals that regulate pain and inflammation.
Through these combined mechanisms, CBD oil can promote recovery after a workout in multiple ways, such as reducing inflammation, relieving pain, and improving sleep.
1. CBD Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is arguably the central issue in workout recovery as it’s often the underlying cause of soreness, pain, and lingering injuries.
Exercise causes inflammation in a variety of ways, most notably by creating tiny tears in muscle tissue leading to the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) known to any fitness enthusiast.
More importantly, acute inflammation can easily turn into a chronic problem if you exercise without sufficient recovery time, leading to issues such as chronic pain and arthritis.
As it happens, CBD and other cannabinoids possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that have been demonstrated by multiple studies. Awesome!
For example, a 2017 animal study in rats with arthritis showed that CBD reduced inflammation, preventing the subsequent development of pain and nerve damage in the arthritic joints.
More importantly, a 2006 human study reported that Sativex, a cannabis-based drug containing CBD and THC, significantly reduced inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Interesting!
Similar anti-inflammatory effects have been reported in preclinical studies of CBD in a wide range of inflammatory conditions, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lung disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. CBD Reduces Pain
Pain, soreness, and a general sense of discomfort that last anywhere from a few hours to multiple days are common post-workout issues. CBD can help here as well, as demonstrated by several studies.
For example, a 2016 animal study showed that CBD gel given to rats with arthritis greatly reduced pain and inflammation in the affected joints without producing side effects.
Similarly, a 2012 study found that CBD suppressed chronic pain in mice.
Also, a 2015 human study of the THC and CBD combination drug Sativex reported improvements in pain, mobility, and muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis.
More importantly, the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids as a whole were demonstrated by a systematic review that looked at the findings of 28 clinical studies.
The researchers of this paper concluded that “There was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain.”
3. CBD Enhances Sleep
Alongside a healthy diet, sleep is arguably the most important tool for workout recovery.
Yet, many people struggle with getting good quality sleep, especially when they’re kept awake by exercise-related pain and soreness. There’s evidence that CBD may help with sleep issues.
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.
4. Other Recovery Benefits of CBD
CBD also provides some lesser-known exercise recovery benefits. Most notably, CBD has anticonvulsant properties that can ease muscle spasms and cramps that can occur after a workout.
Furthermore, CBD also has neuroprotective qualities that can help with brain-related damage and trauma.
These effects may be of particular interest to people who participate in contact sports such as boxing and American football, which is notorious for leaving retired players with CTE — a neurodegenerative disorder caused by repeated trauma to the head.
In addition, CBD can boost exercise recovery indirectly. For example, CBD’s anxiety-relieving effects can fight the worrisome thoughts that keep you awake at night, while its anti-nausea properties can make it easier to eat enough food.
In sum, although more studies on the effects of CBD in people are needed — particularly in the context of exercise — the existing findings suggest that CBD has multiple properties that benefit workout recovery.
How to Use CBD Oil for Muscle Recovery
Many people wonder if you should use CBD oil before or after a workout. Generally speaking, it’s best to take CBD oil after your workout.
There are two reasons for this: most of CBD’s beneficial effects improve recovery rather than performance; and most exercise-related issues, such as DOMS and difficulty sleeping, occur after your workout.
In addition, it’s important to note that sublingual CBD oil is not the only CBD product that can aid muscle recovery. Vaping CBD e-liquids and using topical CBD creams are also effective options.
The key advantage of vaping CBD is instantaneous effects. This makes it ideal for cases where you need immediate relief, such as when you have difficulty falling asleep after a strenuous workout.
Having said that, the effects of vaping CBD last for only about 1-2 hours: the shortest of any method.
Meanwhile, topical CBD products such as creams, massage oils, and balms are ideal for localized muscle or joint pain because they don’t have systemic effects.
As such, they work best for relieving post-workout pain or inflammation in a specific part of the body, such as the knees, wrists, back, or shoulders.
Generally speaking, CBD oil is the best CBD product for exercise recovery, but there are cases where topical or vape preparations can suit your needs better.
CBD Oil: A Natural Recovery Aid
In sum, CBD oil and other CBD products are one of the best ways to promote exercise recovery.
The effectiveness of CBD oil as a post-workout supplement is highlighted by its rapidly growing popularity among professional athletes.
For example, retired football player Rob Gronkowski recently made headlines for using a topical CBD cream to help him recover and deal with pain from a nine-year-long career in the NFL, which is infamous for leaving players with lifelong health issues.
According to his own words, “For the first time in a decade, I’m pain-free.”
Gronkowski is now partnering with the Canadian CBD company CBDMedic to advocate for the use of CBD for football players and other athletes.
Similarly, numerous MMA fighters, such as Nate Diaz and Bas Rutten, have been using CBD to help them recover and deal with pain.
If you’re looking for a natural, safe, holistic way to improve workout recovery and overall wellness, CBD oil is an excellent option.