What is CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the 100+ cannabinoid compounds in the cannabis plant. It is the second most abundant cannabinoid after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), known for the "high" associated with marijuana.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not get people ‘high.’ However, it is a host of health benefits that have driven its popularity sky-high in recent years. Research on CBD's remarkable health properties is ongoing, but millions of people around the globe use it to manage various health issues.
CBD is quite popular for managing pain and inflammation, improving sleep quality, relieving stress and anxiety, and controlling seizures. Although evidence supporting its efficacy is mainly circumstantial, findings from empirical studies seem to corroborate anecdotal claims of CBD's cure-all properties.
CBD for Recovery
CBD is different things to different people.
For some, it's an integral part of their health and wellness program. So, they use it to sleep better, improve focus, boost energy, and speed muscle recovery. For others, CBD is the answer to chronic pain, sleep disorders like insomnia, seizures, stress, and anxiety.
Due to its healing and nourishing properties, CBD has gained popularity among people with active lifestyles. New research findings on CBD's ability to reduce pain and inflammation are promising. Since inflammation and pain often go hand-in-hand, it's easy to see why CBD is great for muscle recovery post-exercise.
A study investigating CBD's effectiveness as a post-workout recovery supplement published impressive results. Fifty-two participants worked out at least three times a week for two weeks and, afterward, used CBD cream. 97% of the participants reported lower muscle tension and reduced joint stiffness.
These findings were corroborated by a 2020 study that showed CBD effectively reduced muscle aches and speeded muscle recovery. Such findings have spurred further studies on CBD's anti-inflammatory effects and the possible implications for athletes and gym enthusiasts.
Already many professional athletes hail the benefits of CBD, especially in aiding muscle recovery and reducing pain and aches.
Why is post-workout recovery so painful?
For elite athletes and exercise newbies, pain is a badge of honor they wear with great pride. After an intense workout session, it's normal for the muscles to be sore. After all, we all seem to have accepted the "no pain, no gain" exercise motto.
However, post-workout muscle soreness can be unpredictable. It could make it difficult to head back to the gym, or you could find that some light exercises help you feel much better.
But what is usually behind all that muscle soreness and pain? It is delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Many people confuse DOMS with acute muscle soreness, but they are different.
Delayed onset muscle soreness is the muscle pain that begins after a workout. It mostly kicks in after 2-3 days and eases up after. Symptoms of DOMS include:
- Muscle fatigue
- Loss of muscle strength, albeit short term
- Swelling in affected muscles
- Muscle tenderness
- Reduced motion range due to stiffness and pain
The pain associated with DOMS is attributed to the microscopic tears in the muscles. According to exercise physiologists, these tears happen when muscle tissue is stretched beyond what it's accustomed to. The pain is typically accompanied by inflammation.
In reality, the damage caused to the muscles should be minor, which is why you tend to feel better after the third day. The soreness indicates that your muscles are adjusting to new activity levels.
Everybody experiences muscle soreness – from top athletes to novices. Nonetheless, the pain can be particularly troubling for newbies (overdoing things, perhaps!).
Acute muscle soreness is a burning sensation felt during a workout. It's caused by the rapid buildup of metabolites in the muscles and disappears once exercise stops.
The metabolites result from the various energy-producing metabolic reactions during strenuous activity. DOMS and acute muscle soreness are essentially the effects of strain and stress on muscle tissue.
Benefits of CBD on muscles
Top athletes worldwide use CBD to hasten muscle recovery and maintain optimum fitness. So, why is this cannabis compound so popular in sports? Because it:
Supports faster recovery between workouts or following injury
Research-based evidence suggests that CBD speeds up the healing of broken bones. This happens when it combines with a protein called collagen – found in bones – to stimulate the growth of new bones.
Among the things you immediately get after a strenuous workout are stiff muscles and painful joints. Fortunately, CBD can help relax your muscles thanks to its interaction with your endocannabinoid system.
Though its discovery is relatively recent, scientists hold that the endocannabinoid system regulates various bodily processes, including muscle function. One study showed that CBD's activation of the CB1 receptors stimulates metabolism and muscle oxygen consumption.
But more importantly, CBD stimulates muscle relaxation by inhibiting the release of hormones that induce muscle spasms and rigidity. This effect has been studied in many people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
This condition is caused by the immune system attacking the protective covering of the central nervous system. This causes movement problems such as unsteady gaits and tremors.
Indeed, a 2017 study noted that a CBD-THC spray improved gait and normalized muscle fibers in MS patients. Further, a 2019 study found that CBD therapy reduced muscle spasticity in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. These studies suggest CBD relaxes muscles at the cellular level.
The mind and body are connected, so by relaxing the brain, CBD also helps relax the body. A relaxed mind and body are vital ingredients for better sleep.
To promote mobility of the body
Naturally, sore muscles and aching joints significantly affect mobility. But inflammation is the body's way of trying to repair damaged muscle tissue. Being a powerful antioxidant, CBD can reduce the inflammation that results from tissue damage.
This enables you to move easily and freely. Indeed, multiple studies show that CBD supplements help reduce spasticity, pain, and fatigue, ultimately improving mobility.
Alleviates muscle tension and spasm
Occasional muscle tension and spasms are among the many conditions that affect physically active persons. While the causes can be diverse, e.g., stress, repetitive motion, fatigue, and muscle pain, the solution may be simple – CBD.
CBD affects muscle function due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. This complex neuro-regulator is believed to control several processes in the body, including reproduction, sleep cycle, appetite, temperature, and muscle function.
Muscle contraction is caused by communication between neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Without enough endocannabinoids, it would be difficult to prevent neurotransmitters—2-AG and anandamide—from causing constant muscle contraction.
In fact, chronically low cannabinoid levels are linked to a medical condition called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency.
CBD alters the functionality of various cannabinoid receptors and affects the concentration of neurotransmitters 2-AG and anandamide. Higher concentration levels of these chemical messengers improve endocannabinoid signaling and reduce muscle tension.
Reduces mild inflammation
Studies show that CBD can reduce inflammation by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity. Even though CBD does not bind with CB receptors like THC, it's been shown to alter their activity.
The CB receptors play a critical role in mediating inflammatory pain. Studies show that the activation of the CB1 receptor by CBD inhibits inflammatory hypersensitivity, thereby reducing inflammation.
Since CB2 receptors are predominant outside the CNS, they may also have novel therapeutic effects on inflammatory pain.
Prevention of damage to surrounding healthy muscle
Inflammation usually signifies tissue injury or damage. This could be due to bacteria, toxins, trauma, repetitive motion, heat, or other causes.
Cells in affected tissues release chemicals, e.g., prostaglandins, bradykinin, and histamine, to activate various processes and start the healing process. For instance, these chemicals increase blood flow to the affected area, causing swelling.
The chemicals also redirect white blood cells (phagocytes) to the injured area to eliminate damaged cells and germs. Key to all these processes happening are small proteins called cytokines that regulate immune system cell activity.
However, an unregulated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines can lead to a cytokine storm. This often worsens inflammation. Fortunately, studies indicate that high-quality CBD can stifle the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby preventing the spread of inflammation.
Supports sleep which aids muscle fiber regeneration
One of the reasons people use CBD is its sleep-boosting properties. Numerous studies show that CBD stimulates the secretion of various mood and sleep-enhancing hormones like serotonin and melatonin.
The body produces melatonin naturally, with peak production happening in the evenings. This induces quiet wakefulness – a state that helps you fall asleep faster.
Serotonin is a mood enhancer. Although CBD does not necessarily increase serotonin levels, it affects how chemical receptors in the brain utilize the serotonin in the system.
High serotonin levels are linked to lower anxiety levels, which may help improve sleep.
Being able to fall asleep faster and deeply is particularly beneficial for athletes because most healing processes occur during rest. So, more sleep enables healing and recovery processes, including muscle fiber regeneration.
Helps prevent DOMS and associated pain
One of CBD's most endearing qualities is pain relief. This cannabinoid interacts with your endocannabinoid system to activate CB1 receptors in the brain. Once activated, these receptors alter pain perception, making it easier to handle pain.
As mentioned, pain due to DOMS is occasioned by the microscopic tears and the subsequent inflammation of muscle tissue. By stimulating wide-ranging corrective measures like new muscle tissue regeneration, fighting pain and inflammation, and relaxing the muscles, CBD helps to minimize the effects of DOMS.
Allows consistency for training routines due to lack of pain and downtime
The ultimate goal of any athlete is to maintain top form by training regularly. However, muscle soreness, pain, inflammation, and other conditions caused by a physically active lifestyle can significantly hamper your ability to train consistently.
By helping you manage many of these conditions, CBD allows you to focus on your training and achieve your goals. It also reduces recovery time, meaning you spend less time on the recovery bed.
Does CBD help with muscle recovery?
It is increasingly likely that CBD helps with muscle recovery. Many studies indicate that this cannabinoid offers several health benefits that aid muscle recovery.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, CBD helps relieve muscle aches and soreness. This enables your body to recover much faster from intense workouts.
Though opinion is divided, many athletes find CBD creams most effective in reducing muscle soreness, pain, and aches. Applying the creams directly to the affected part enables the CBD to be absorbed and its anti-inflammatory properties released to ease pain and inflammation.
The benefits of CBD for athletic recovery
CBD has many benefits for people leading active lifestyles. These include:
CBD's ability to improve mood may be linked to its influence on serotonin activity. Serotonin is one of the "feel-good" hormones that regulate stress, emotions, and mood.
CBD increases the concentration of serotonin in the brain. It does this by attaching to serotonin receptors in the brain, thereby acting as a serotonin antagonist.
Besides serotonin, CBD has also been shown to boost anandamide levels when they drop. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid molecule that regulates mood. You will generally feel low when your body does not produce enough anandamide or when it fails to process the anandamide produced.
Low mood can also be caused by insufficient sleep. You may have noticed that sometimes when you're feeling low, a nap can help you feel much better. Multiple studies indicate that CBD can improve sleep by influencing melatonin activity and reducing anxiety.
Post-workout soreness can cause inflammation. Luckily, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that are activated via chemical pathways facilitated by the endocannabinoid system.
Clinical studies demonstrate that CBD indirectly enhances anti-inflammatory effects in four ways:
- By reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines
- By inhibiting the proliferation of T cells
- By inducing T-cell apoptosis
- By obstructing the migration and adhesion of immune cells.
Many people use CBD to improve their sleep. Research shows that CBD promotes better sleep by removing the distractions that hinder good sleep. These include anxiety, pain, discomfort, inflammation, etc.
Since research on CBD is still young, how it influences sleep is not exactly known. However, existing studies highlight CBD's effectiveness in reducing insomnia symptoms.
Other studies point to CBD's effect on cortisol as a possible explanation for its sleep-enhancing abilities. Cortisol is a stress hormone. In higher concentrations, it's been shown to cause serious side effects, e.g., muscle weakness, diabetes, weight gain, sleep problems, and high blood pressure.
A study investigating the effects of CBD on stress showed that doses of 300 – 600 mg significantly reduced cortisol levels. This suggests that CBD can affect the release of cortisol, thereby acting as a sedative.
Another study indicated that 160mg of CBD oil increased sleep duration.
Good sleep is vital not only for athletic recovery but also for overall wellbeing. And so, while athletes may find CBD beneficial for recovery, ordinary people can also use it to boost their overall health.
CBD is a natural supplement whose role in pain management is promising. Thus far, studies show that this cannabinoid exerts its pain-relieving effects through various interactions with the endocannabinoid, nociceptive, and inflammatory systems.
A 2018 review of various CBD literature published between 1975 and 2018 on the effects of CBD on chronic pain established that CBD is an effective pain killer with no side effects. The studies examined various types of pain, namely neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and cancer pain.
Animal studies have also demonstrated CBD's pain-relieving properties. For example, a 2016 study exploring the use of CBD in rats with arthritis established that 62.3 mg of CBD daily reduced inflammation and pain in the affected joints.
Despite its positive effect on pain, anecdotal evidence suggests that a CBD-THC combination is more effective in pain management. This is backed by a 2010 study that showed that a CBD-THC spray "provided more effective pain relief" than opioids in managing cancer-related pain.
People with active lifestyles need a good metabolism to ensure food is efficiently converted into energy. There is growing evidence that CBD can help avert metabolic disorders, thus reducing risks of stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes type 2.
Due to its metabolic properties, CBD could be an effective weight loss agent. Studies show that CBD boosts metabolism by affecting CB receptor activity in the brain and lymphoid tissue. These receptors are believed to play critical roles in food intake and metabolism.
As aforementioned, CBD can affect food intake by affecting appetite. However, research on CBD's effect on appetite has yielded mixed results thus far.
For instance, a review of 117 parents whose children were on CBD therapy for epilepsy treatment showed that 30% of the children exhibited increased appetite. Epilepsy symptoms also reduced.
However, in another study, a cohort of children with Dravet syndrome was subjected to 11.4mg of CBD per pound of weight. Some children displayed increased appetite, while others exhibited reduced appetite.
In a more recent study, only 6.35% of 2,409 people who use CBD reported increased hunger as one of the side effects.
Such mixed findings reinforce the need for more research on CBD to fully understand how it affects various bodily functions. Nonetheless, the general view is that CBD promotes weight loss by decreasing appetite.
CBD oil after a workout
Most people who use CBD post-workout want to relieve muscle soreness and inflammation. But regardless of whether you use CBD before or after workouts, it is good practice to gradually ease it into your system.
When ingested, CBD raises your cannabinoid levels and charges your endocannabinoid system, enabling it to function well. This system regulates cannabinoid receptor activity to bring about wide-ranging beneficial pharmacological effects.
How to use CBD oil
Bear in mind that despite its many health benefits, CBD is not a magic pill. Therefore, it's best to use it in tandem with other measures to reap full benefits.
Using CBD to aid recovery should ideally complement other measures such as rest, eating a balanced diet, stretching, and massage.
Finding the correct CBD balance for your body may be challenging at first, but remember that consistency and patience are important. Come up with a routine and stick to it for several weeks.
CBD comes in different forms, e.g., oils, creams and lotions, gels, edibles, and vapes, among others. It's a personal choice which form you prefer for pre or post-workout recovery, but if you're looking for targeted relief, then topical CBD is ideal.
Ingestible CBD gets directly into your system and activates your endocannabinoid system. This is a better option for deep tissue relief and other benefits like better sleep quality. So, for best results, it's advisable to combine topical and ingestible CBD for a more holistic experience.
CBD oil dosage for muscle pain
People respond differently to CBD. It also comes in different strengths, and its effectiveness is affected by the method of administration. So, CBD dosage is largely a subjective exercise that depends on the severity of your condition, location of an injury, and body weight.
In reality, you may have to adjust the dosage several times before you find your effective dose. So, the rule of thumb is to start with lower doses and increase it gradually until you feel the desired effects – your "sweet spot."
Nonetheless, experts recommend starting with 1-6mg of CBD per 4.5 kilograms of body weight. Alternatively, you can start with 5-10mg daily and gradually increase the dosage until the pain in your muscles begins to ease.
Should I take CBD before or after working out?
This depends on your goals. Pre-workout CBD is great if you're looking to prepare your body and mind for upcoming training regimens. However, if post-workout muscle soreness, pains, and aches bother you, use CBD after training sessions.
Best CBD oil for muscle recovery
Getting into and sticking to a fitness program requires discipline and focus. Fast relief for post-workout muscle soreness and pain makes it easier to carry on with other activities with minimal discomfort.
This is why integrating quality CBD products into your routine is an excellent choice.
Our Premium CBD Drops combine premium broad-spectrum hemp CBD and high-quality organic MCT oil to help you relax and recover from intense training sessions. Its 100% plant-based organic ingredients give you peace of mind and make you fall asleep quicker.
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If the discomfort prevents you from sleeping, try our Sleep Drops. These are specially formulated to promote better, deeper sleep and a healthier brain. With MCT oil as the carrier element, you get high bioavailability and reap the full health benefits of high-grade CBD.
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