CBD is growing in popularity amongst professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts for aiding in post-workout recovery. Here’s what you need to know about CBD and muscle soreness.
The Painful Truth
You know that saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Well, there’s no sugar-coating it, every time you do strenuous physical activity, your body breaks itself down to build itself back up again…even stronger. This is because when you run, cycle, lift weights, swim or even stretch, you create microscopic tears in your muscle fibres. While your body repairs these tears you may experience inflammation, stiffness and, unfortunately, even pain.
The good news is that your newly repaired muscles are better equipped than they were before and that’s how you can continue to work towards your fitness goals. The even better news is that supplementing with CBD can aid the body’s ability to recover and may even relieve some of the muscle soreness. This can go a long way in assisting athletes and serious gym junkies, especially those who need (or want) to continue training regardless of ongoing stiffness and pain.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Sometimes the muscle soreness that you’ll experience after physical activity is delayed. The strain may even manifest up to 48 hours after the actual event. This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). For example, if you’ve ever hit a few squats too many over your usual threshold, you’ll have experienced a persistent pain the next day or even two days after, especially when you try to sit or stand up.
Professional athletes know only too well what it’s like to need to keep training when experiencing days upon days’ worth of DOMS. This has led to incredible breakthroughs in sports science regarding preventative and post-workout measures to keep athletes as competitive as possible. Many of these solutions involve supplements and techniques such as foam rolling. However, in an age where a dizzying number of health supplements are readily available for fitness enthusiasts and competitors, separating the facts from the hype can be a truly tricky task.
Can CBD Help Muscle Recovery?
Broadly speaking, supplementing with CBD does decrease inflammation when it’s either rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally. In fact, a 2018 Frontiers in Neurology review* claims 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.”
Many people are wary of CBD, which may have a similar molecular structure to THC but it certainly doesn’t make you high. It also does not stimulate the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors directly. This is partly why when the CB1 receptor was discovered in 1988, it was long assumed that CBD had no direct impact on it. However, today we know that CBD attaches to an allosteric binding site on the CB1 receptors in the brain, which deal with pain, emotions, mood, memories, and other vital aspects of well-being. CBD also encourages your body to use more of its own endocannabinoids.
This is good news because dealing with post-workout or performance inflammation can leave you feeling exhausted and lethargic. Yet how quickly you recover is just as important in determining how well you’ll continue to train and perform. This is where CBD can assist. It may assist with reducing overall muscle soreness, help you to sleep much better at night, and target specific pain from injuries. All of these elements (and more) can factor into your recovery experience and timeframe.
Demystifying the Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is intertwined throughout the immune system, which controls the inflammation response in the body. Many scientists believe that the ECS is the body’s most important physiological system. By supplementing with CBD, you can assist with balancing the ECS, which in turn, works to activate the immune system.
This can result in less inflammation and soreness. In fact, when it comes to diseases that create chronic inflammation (for example, arthritis), CBD has been seen to play a key role in regulating symptoms.** It’s therefore not surprising that there is a growing popularity amongst athletes and fitness fanatics who are turning to CBD for pain management during muscle recovery.
Is CBD Allowed in Professional Sports?
For any athlete, it’s always important to know what supplements are or aren’t allowed for your field of sports. If you must comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards***, then CBD is absolutely permitted in competition. However, this is the ONLY cannabinoid that is legal in applicable sports and competitions. If a CBD product contains any other cannabinoid – even in trace amounts – you could be disqualified or face penalties. This is why it’s important to consult with your team and your medical professionals, as well as your source of CBD, before you begin using it.
Using CBD Products for Muscle Recovery
There are a few different ways to ingest or take CBD for running or cycling or any other kind of sports activities. Many people prefer to invest in CBD oils, which can be administered per drop for muscle recovery. For this kind of muscular soreness, there are also many anecdotal accounts of balms and rubs providing noticeable relief when applied topically to the painful or stiff area. It’s incredibly important that professional athletes and recreational exercisers alike consult with a medical professional before deciding on a type of CBD product and the best dosage.
Finding Balance with CBD Oil
As always, the key to a healthy and active lifestyle is balance. This can manifest in many ways, the balance of your diet or our workouts, and of course, the balance of your ECS. While CBD can lend a helping hand, it’s still important to address and support all aspects of your health and fitness for the best results. If you’re looking for a naturally derived, relatively inexpensive support tool for aiding in post-workout recovery then our online shop provides South Africans with a wide selection of CBD. All of our products contain less than below 0.2% THC (this means you won’t experience any kind of “high”). Want to know more? Read about us or consult our CBD glossary!
CBD designed for professional athletes:
* Front. Neurol., 22 March 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00183
** J Exp Med., 4 Jun2012 | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585736
*** WADA Prohibited In-competition | https://www.wada-ama.org/en/content/what-is-prohibited/prohibited-in-competition/cannabinoids