Does CBD Have a Positive Impact on Your Workout and Recovery?
By Roland Sebestyén
The UK government decided to reopen the gyms from 25 July following a long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the announcement, hundreds of thousands have flocked to the gyms and started working out once again. That puts a lot of people back on the lookout for effective workout supplements. So, we were wondering: what would a sports enthusiast get from using CBD pre and post-workout?
The market is full of products that they say help people to gain muscle, drop body fat, and recover. But many sportspeople, athletes, and regular gym-goers have been vocal about their use of CBD products both before and after their workout.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most common chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is classed as a Cannabinoid, along with THC, but on the contrary to its cousin, it’s not psychoactive – meaning you don’t get high after using it.
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical known for its potential health and wellness benefits. Among its reported benefits is its anti-inflammatory properties which could come handy after a nice workout, game, or match – you name it!
Muscle, pain, and inflammation
Many people claim that CBD can help in muscle recovery. Exercising actually causes damage to your muscles, causing inflammation. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could make the cannabinoid a useful addition to any post-workout regime. In addition, CBD is often considered to have potential pain-killing abilities.
According to some experts, CBD may offer one of the most efficient solutions to repairing damage caused through exercise. In comparison to other products and more traditional methods of recovery, the addition of CBD would mean no setbacks of slowing the recovery process down.
Is CBD a performance-enhancing substance?
While some feel that CBD helps them to perform on a higher level for their workout or match, it has not been proven that this is actually the case. Furthermore, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has removed the cannabinoid from its list of banned substances.
Thanks to this move by WADA, many athletes around the world are able to enjoy CBD freely. Nevertheless, competitive sportspeople are still encouraged to exercise caution when it comes to CBD products, as some may contain traceable levels of THC, which remains on the list.
Further, the UK anti-doping agency (Ukad) also announced recently that athletes would receive shorter bans for cannabis use, including THC. America’s National Football League (NFL) also recently made the decision to end the suspension of players for cannabis use.
As it might help prior to, during, and after exercise, it should come as no surprise that many famous athletes and sportspeople have publicly advocated for the product.
For instance, the FIFA Women’s World Cup winner Meghan Rapinoe is a huge advocate of CBD:
“CBD is a natural alternative that has helped me stay at the top of my game for several years now, whether that be regulating my sleep, relaxing on long flights, helping with inflammation, or recovering after hard training and games.”
Due to the high pressure and stresses of their jobs, some athletes have been known to suffer from mental health issues during their careers. Stress and anxiety levels in sports can be extremely high, making CBD potentially useful for another reason.
CBD is also well known for its potential ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. While, as previously mentioned, CBD doesn’t get you high, researchers believe its properties could play a crucial role in easing such feelings in its users. In some cases, it may also help to improve sleep – which in itself may lead to better performance.
CBD is not only for professional athletes, though. There are some out there who are enjoying its benefits on a daily basis.
Aled Nelmes, Marketing Agency Owner, 24, told Canex that he’s been using CBD products for nine months:
“I chose to use CBD products as I heard about their benefits for helping with anxiety. Like many, I have a very intense working day running my own agency so that work mindset and its thoughts can easily enter the evening time.”
He added he had started with vape but switched to CBD drops as it was easier to fit it in his routine: “Taking CBD fitted into my end-of-work ritual, combined with exercise, helped me switch off and sleep better and deeper.”
Toby Gordon-Smith, CEO of UK-based CBD brand Grass & Co. explained: “Many people who have already tried CBD Oils think that the challenging taste is something you just have to put up with to enjoy the benefits.
A number of well-known sportspeople have spoken about their CBD use. We were wondering what are the benefits of using CBD, both pre and post-workout?
Considering CBD For Muscle Recovery? Here’s What You Need To Know.
Cannabidiol is having a moment. Though you may not recognize its scientific moniker, you’ve probably seen it referred to by its buzzy nickname: CBD.
CBD is everywhere these days, and in a variety of forms. You can find it in capsules, gummies, tinctures, oils, balms, cocktails, cookies—even coffee sold at small-town bakeries. Its market share in the health and wellness space will likely only continue to grow, with some analysts estimating its value will hit $2 billion by 2022.
CBD has a lot of purported benefits with a lot of anecdotal (and some scientific) evidence to back those claims. Everything from helping cancer patients fight nausea, to acting as a sleep aid for people with insomnia, to reducing seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.
While those seem like potentially huge breakthroughs, CBD is also said to help with smaller stuff, like helping you recover faster from workouts thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Before you dive into a pool of CBD oil, here’s everything you need to know.
Why are we sore after a workout anyway?
No matter how fit you are, sometimes you just feel it after a workout. Some workouts can leave you sore for days. That’s because, as the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) explains, working out causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Those muscles then become inflamed, which triggers the body to respond and repair, causing muscle soreness or stiffness.
Cool. So, what exactly is CBD again?
CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, which include both marijuana and industrial hemp. CBD is a close chemical cousin to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound found in marijuana that causes a psychoactive effect (AKA, the stuff that gets you high).
Though CBD is just one atom arrangement away from becoming THC, that microscopic difference is actually huge. No matter how much CBD oil you consume or how much CBD balm you rub on your body, you cannot get high from it. Which means.
I can legally buy CBD?
Yes. In December, President Donald Trump signed a new Farm Bill, which, among other things, legalized the growth, distribution, and sale of industrialized hemp, allowing it to be “cultivated for any use”—including the production and extraction of CBD.
There are a few caveats to the bill, but generally you’re now safe to buy CBD across the United States. Even professional athletes can use CBD, as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed it from its prohibited substance list in 2018. So relax, your gold medals are safe.
“Broadly speaking, CBD does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally.”
Can CBD really help fight post-workout inflammation?
“As a personal trainer and someone that works out every day and really pushes myself a lot, I noticed the biggest difference in inflammation and stress after a workout,” Tara Laferrara, a former sprinter and a NASM certified personal trainer, told MensHealth.com about her personal use of CBD.
Laferrara was introduced to CBD via friends in the fitness industry who tried it after cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014. Now, she’s a devoted user. (A CBDevotee?) “It basically manages and prevents my joint inflammation, that aching kind of feeling, that I’d get after a heavy lift day,” she says.
Is there scientific proof?
While Laferrara’s anecdotal experience is intriguing, you might remain skeptical. Perhaps the scientific findings will squash some of your CBDoubts.
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. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.
“Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD, told MensHealth.com.
However, we can’t conclusively say that CBD will, without question, reduce inflammation—and in turn reduce muscle soreness—after another Eb & Swole workout. The empirical data just isn’t there yet.
But I’m good to start a CBD regimen?
CBD is commonly regarded as safe to use. Even the doctors published in Frontiers in Neurology said: “High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day and chronic use have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.” You shouldn’t need that much, though figuring out how much you do need can be tricky, as there is no “standard” dose.
One rule of thumb is 1-6 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on pain levels. Another is to start with 5-10mg per day and increase by 5-10mg until you feel relief. This isn’t perfect and requires trial and error, but it’ll help you find a starting point.
As with anything you plan to put into your body, discuss CBD with your doctor first, particularly if you take other medications. They can help you make sure your liver will have enough room to metabolize it all so as not to diminish the effects of either.
How should I use CBD for recovery?
Beyond CBD oils and tinctures, CBD is often sold in infused balms, lotions, capsules, edibles, vape pens, and more. Basically, you just need to decide if you’d like to ingest it or rub it on for relief.
Again, you’re mostly on your own to determine exactly how much CBD you should take to feel its effects. The dosing guidelines above should give you a good jumping-off point, but CBD is a subjective chemical that reacts differently in every body. Once you feel the desired effect, though, you won’t have to up the dose. Which means if you use CBD oil for recovery, you can just fill the pipette to the same spot every time.
To sum it up, if your doctor says it’s OK and you’re game to try CBD instead of popping traditional anti-inflammatories, go for it. Try it for a few weeks while varying the delivery method and dose to find what works best for you. Who knows? By tomorrow, you could be recovering faster from your workout and have one less excuse to skip leg day.
The cannabis product is said to help inflammation. So… can it?