Finishing a good workout can bring a sense of triumph and empowerment. Over the next few hours, however, you might experience muscle soreness or generalized aches, pains, or fatigue.
There’s a good reason for this. As you exert yourself physically, you can actually generate tiny tears and cause damage to muscle fibers. In response to the new physical load, these muscle tissues will grow back stronger and with a higher density of what are called “fast twitch” muscle fibers. This repair process causes inflammation but ultimately helps your muscles come back stronger and denser. This is why many athletes quip, “no pain, no gain.”
While a little pain is an inherent part of improving muscle mass or endurance, it makes sense to quell the symptoms and remove a little inflammation from the body so the muscles can heal faster. Athletes have a variety of methods for doing this, from ice baths to NSAID pain relievers. However, there are also long-term associated side effects. Long-term ibuprofen use, for example, can lead to stomach bleeding and long-term use of acetaminophen can damage your liver. What alternatives are available to athletes who want to improve their muscle recovery, but do not want to become reliant on medication?
CBD Can Help Promote Muscle Recovery After Physical Exertion
Cannabis plants have several compounds in them, and one that has been of particular interest is cannabinoids, or CBD. CBD does not have the psychoactive component of cannabis THC and has several documented health benefits. One of the most promising areas of research concerns post-exercise inflammation. According to a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can be an effective method for reducing inflammation and improving overall mobility.
The use of CBD oil for exercise-induced inflammation is still being explored, but it has promising anecdotal reports. In theory, using CBD oil to speed muscle recovery and reduce inflammation makes sense.
The review, which looked at 132 original studies, found that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation in patients with multiple sclerosis. According to the study’s author, it’s not only anti-inflammatory but also antiemetic, antioxidative, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective.
In a general sense, many practitioners agree that CBD can decrease inflammation when rubbed on skin (transdermally) or taken orally. Anecdotally, many personal trainers and athletes report decreased pain and improved muscle recovery after using CBD. CBD, as an exercise induced anti-inflammatory, could be the next wave of research.
How Could CBD Oil Help Muscle Recovery and Pain Perception?
There are a couple of reasons why CBD oil may be effective in reducing inflammation and promoting muscle recovery. In the short term, CBD oil may act on inflammatory biomarkers like c-reactive proteins, which can hasten muscle recovery in athletes.
Another possible explanation is that CBD activates the CB2 receptors in the brain’s limbic system, which is part of the endocannabinoid system. The limbic system helps regulate sleep, and regulated sleep patterns help promote muscle recovery. Regular oral use of CBD oil can help facilitate more restorative sleep, which in turn helps heal muscles.
Choosing the Healthiest Path
Experts generally recommend that choosing the path with the fewest risks is the optimal way to control pain and promote muscle recovery. Though there is still much to be discovered about CBD oil and its effect on the body, we know that some methods of pain control, such as NSAIDs, can cause both acute and long term damage. A study of ultramarathoners, for example, found that those who took ibuprofen every 4 hours were 18% more likely to experience acute kidney damage by the end of the race.
More athletes are beginning to use CBD as a supplement for their fitness routines and recovery from heavy physical exertion. Many will argue that CBD is not a fad, but the new normal.
Best Ways for Athletes to Use CBD for Post Workouts
Before adding CBD oil to your workout recovery, talk with your doctor. They may have some ideas about how much to start with considering body size and tolerance. CBD is available in several formulations – oils, creams, tinctures, balms, and lotions. A person can ingest CBD orally, transdermally, or sublingually (under the tongue).
However, you don’t have to just treat CBD as a supplement – it can be an easy ingredient to add to meals you eat already. For instance, many athletes already drink a post workout smoothie to boost their body’s efficiency after exercise. A proper balance of carbs and protein is the foundation for restoring muscle and regaining strength. Adding CBD into a smoothie can boost its benefits while giving your body what it needs after a workout.
Here’s an easy post-workout smoothie recipe that will strengthen your body while offering the benefits of CBD:
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 ml high quality CBD oil
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 T all natural peanut butter
- 8 oz milk (soy, almond, or peanut will all work, too)
- 5 cubes of ice
Toss all the ingredients in the blender for a great post workout smoothie.
How CBD Helps with Sleep
As most athletes know, one of the most crucial aspects of recovery care after a strenuous workout is rest, but there’s more to rest than not exercising. Bodies actually need sleep to integrate all the aspects of a workout. In fact, a lack of sleep can actually undermine all the work you are putting into your exercise routine. Proper sleep gives your body and brain recovery time, boosts energy levels, and helps restore muscles. Sometimes, exercise itself can make sleep a challenge, since sleeping after a great workout isn’t always easy. However, CBD oil can be an answer to that issue, too.
Like the post-workout smoothie, many people enjoy something before bed to help them relax. Adding CBD to that routine can boost the relaxant’s efficiency and help your body leverage the benefits of the exercise. CBD oil, taken a half an hour to an hour before bed, can improve sleep quality and even help those who suffer from insomnia. And a better night’s sleep means your body gets all the benefits of your workout. Check out this sleep cocktail that uses CBD oil to help your body rest and restore.
- 1 C tart cherry juice
- 1 C mild juice of your choice (white grape is a great choice)
- ½ dropper of valerian root (a natural sleep inducer)
- ½ ml CBD oil (could be more or less depending on your preference)
If you prefer a milder pre-bed drink, try adding a few drops of CBD oil with an organic and all natural mint tea. Mint is a natural relaxer, and the warmth of tea signals rest to your body.
Recovery rest is important for your muscles, but sleep ensures your body takes those workouts and uses them efficiently.
Discover the Difference in the Greenpath Science Measured CBD System
The Greenpath Science Measured CBD System will ease you into a safe, reliable CBD routine. Our high quality CBD oil is lab tested, made in the USA, and certified organic. We rigorously test all our CBD formulations to assure potency and effectiveness.
If you’re unsure of where to begin with your CBD regimen, the Greenpath Science System is right for you. With our patented dropper, you can accurately measure your CBD tincture and make note of the results. This way, you can accurately increase your dosing until you achieve the desired effect, whether it’s better sleep or improved muscle recovery and pain relief from decreased inflammation. The benefits of CBD oil are wide ranging and still being discovered, and it’s use in post-exercise recovery seems particularly promising. If you have questions about the Greenpath Science System or want to learn more about our process, visit our online shop.
I’m a 73 year old, inventor/entrepreneur. I haven’t worked for someone else since I was 19.
The first product that I ever developed was chosen as one of the 100 most important products developed in the world the year that I developed it. (This was in the late 1960’s)
Since then, I’ve developed things like impact recorders employed to monitor the transport of sensitive products (from art objects to power transformers), temperature recorders to monitor the shipment of perishables, and a derailment detector that’s employed to stop derailments before they become catastrophic. They’re used on many commuter systems around America, such as B.A.R.T. in San Francisco and the Metro in Washington D.C..
In 1985-6 I developed a disposable, “no-touch” poop scooper and then several lines of natural, nutritional treats for dogs and cats.