Experiencing aches and pains after an intense workout is par for the course, but you don’t have to suffer quite so much with CBD on your side! As CBD is legal to use in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations, there are now lots of pro athletes across the globe who swear by CBD muscle balm, CBD patches and regular dose of CBD drops to aid recovery. And there’s even some research to suggest that the endocannabinoid system, which CBD supports, plays a key role in muscle building too! So, let’s explore why that is…
Can CBD aid recovery?
The familiar discomfort that can occur as a result of exercise is called DOMS: delayed onset muscle soreness. This is how it feels when your muscles are healing, strengthening and growing and is partly caused by an inflammation response.
While inflammation plays an important role in the healing and recovery process, just taking the edge off a little still allows it to serve its purpose without being debilitating – or preventing you from powering through your next workout! And this is where CBD comes in.
As you may have read in other CBD articles here on the Elements of Green website, the CBD molecule (and other cannabinoids and terpenes present in full and broad spectrum offerings) helps to support our endocannabinoid system: a complex network of receptors that works in synergy with internally produced endocannabinoids to keep everything in the body in balance. This includes inflammation and muscle spasticity, so when you take some CBD oil, or use a CBD topical or CBD patch, you are giving your body a helping hand as it strives to regain equilibrium in all areas – your aching muscles included.
Is it better to take CBD before or after workout?
You’ll always see the best results if you use CBD consistently and regularly, so it’s ideal to keep those cannabinoids topped up and use it every day – pre and post work out. By doing this, you’ll not only be helping to keep stress at bay (a great thing if you’re into competitive sports!), but keeping your ECS regulated for less inflammation overall and therefore potentially reduced aches after workouts too.
Does CBD build muscle?
There is some evidence to suggest that when the endocannabinoid system is activated, whether by endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids (like CBD) it produces an anti-catabolic response which prevents the body losing muscle mass.
Does CBD help runners?
We actually produce a great whoosh of endocannabinoids when we run for a length of time, and it’s now thought that this is the main cause of the ‘runner’s high’ – a sense of euphoria that helps you keep going. It’s no wonder that the endocannabinoid largely responsible for this was named after the Sanskrit word for ‘bliss’ (Anandamide). Taking CBD oil is a bit like taking an endocannbinoid supplement, as some cannabinoids (like CBG) directly activate ECS receptors much like our own endocannabinoids. And the CBD molecule supports the synthesis and release of endocannabinoids too. So, while we are likely to produce our own endocannabinoids while running without CBD, you may find the experience (and therefore, your endurance) is all the better for a little helping hand.
Do Terpenes Aid Recovery?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in every plant in nature, many of which have been demonstrated to have remarkable therapeutic potential. The cannabis CBD oil is derived from has a particularly impressive abundance of them! A number of common cannabis terpenes may aid muscle recovery, including:
Myrcene: Usually known for being the sleep-inducing terpene, but also well documented for its analgesic effects on muscle and joint pain.
Limonene: A zesty scent found in all citrus fruits which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Commonly called ‘the most useful terpene’ for its extensive list of therapeutic benefits.
Pinene: The most common terpene found in nature which is in almost all cannabis strains and well researched for it’s inflammatory pain relieving potential. Called ‘the miracle gift from nature’ in a comprehensive review paper published in the November 2019 Biomolecules journal.
You can find both of these in some full spectrum CBD products, or terpene infused CBD products.
The use of CBD products and even whole plant cannabis in sports and for muscle recovery is widespread. So much so that World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has asked the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on reassessing marijuana’s place on the prohibited list. So whether you’re rubbing in a CBD muscle balm, taking terpene-infused drops or keeping a steady level of cannabinoid release with CBD patches, you’re in good company!