CBD oil has grown increasingly popular with hundreds of different CBD based products flooding the market and even more people swearing by them. And yet most people can still be initially dubious and suspicious as to whether this non-psychoactive supplement can actually help with their symptoms and conditions in a natural way and what they should use it for. 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 outside of paid instagram reps?
Many people use CBD oil to help with workout recovery, reduce soreness and help with injuries, but how does CBD oil help with workout recovery?
CBD and other cannabinoids produce their beneficial effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. 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 and Pain
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 by creating tiny tears in muscle tissue leading to the delayed onset muscle soreness that I’m sure is well known to any fitness enthusiast. 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 strong anti-inflammatory properties that have been demonstrated by multiple studies. Once such report on Sativex, a cannabis-based drug containing CBD and THC, significantly reduced inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and improvements in pain, mobility, and muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis. Similar anti-inflammatory effects have also been reported in preclinical studies of CBD in a wide range of inflammatory conditions, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, lung disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids as a whole were demonstrated by a systematic review that looked at the findings of 28 clinical studies.
2. 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 if they’re kept awake by exercise-related pain and soreness. There’s evidence that CBD may help with sleep issues; a 2019 study by researchers from the University of Colorado examined whether CBD capsules could improve the condition of 72 people suffering from anxiety and poor sleep. Their subsequent study reported sleep improvements in 67% of the patients. Furthermore, a 2017 NHS review paper on the use of cannabis for sleep noted preliminary findings that suggested CBD could be used to help with insomnia.
3. 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 occur after hard workouts. CBD also has neuroprotective qualities that can ease 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. Topical CBD products such as creams, massage oils, and balms are ideal for localised muscle or joint pain because they don’t have systemic effects while they can be targeted to the specific problem area. 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.
CBD Oil: A Natural Recovery Aid
In sum, CBD oil and other CBD products are one of the best ways to promote exercise recovery and are increasingly popular with many reaping the benefits. The effectiveness of CBD oil as a post-workout supplement is highlighted by its rapidly growing popularity among professional athletes. Numerous NFL and 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 and safe way to improve workout recovery and overall wellness, CBD could be an excellent option for you.