CBD for workouts: how it helps pain and speeds up recovery

CBD for workouts: how it helps pain and speeds up recovery

As CBD becomes more popular, you might have seen various high-profile athletes endorsing CBD for workouts, praising its benefits, and using their platform to promote normalising cannabis use.

But it’s not just professional athletes who can benefit from taking CBD before and after working out. Anyone who exercises, whether it be daily in the gym or occasionally at the weekend, can take CBD to help their body recover.

Thorsten Rudroff, an exercise scientist and director of the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory at Colorado State University, has observed a dramatic increase in older adults and collegiate and professional athletes taking CBD edibles and oils. He notes that they take CBD immediately after exercise in order to recover quickly and effectively.

In this guide we look at who uses CBD for workouts, why and how CBD is so commonly used for workouts, how CBD helps with pain and how it speeds up recovery times.   

Which athletes use CBD?

Many famous athletes have been vocal supporters of using CBD and here are two of these stories.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz publicly advocates his support for CBD, praising cannabis for helping him to relieve pain, heal his injuries and aid in concentration. After winning a fight in the notoriously brutal UFC ring, Diaz famously smoked CBD from a vape pen throughout his post-fight interview live on TV. When questioned about it he said “It helps with healing process and inflammation and stuff like that. You want to get this for before or after the fight, in training, to make your life a better place.”

Triathlete Andrew Talansky first started taking CBD oil in 2017 to help with a strained hip flexor. He praises the compound saying “I took it for a couple of weeks, and there was a noticeable difference immediately. And it wasn’t just that my hip was feeling better. I was less anxious, and I was sleeping better.”

Is CBD legal to take?

In the UK, CBD is 100% legal to sell and buy. The Home Office has stated that CBD that comes from hemp is 100% legal providing it contains less than 0.2% of THC. So if you’re a casual gym-goer you can legally use CBD.

Is CBD prohibited in sports?

Whilst CBD is 100% legal to take, within professional sports it used to be that any athletes who tested positive for the compound would face consequences.

However, at the beginning of 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) removed CBD from their banned substances list. This allows athletes to freely use CBD without any repercussions.

The WADA recognises that CBD is different from THC and other cannabinoids. So athletes cannot take other cannabinoids and only up to a certain threshold of THC or they will still be penalised for doing so.   

How does CBD help with workouts?

CBD helps with exercise because it reduces inflammation which helps to reduce the associated pain and speed up the amount of time it takes for your body to recover.

Any exercise, particularly a rigorous workout, causes microscopic damage to the body’s muscles and tissue. Dr. Alan Beyer explains that this process causes inflammation, which allows the body to repair itself and build stronger muscles and tissue.

Inflammation is why we tend to feel sore and ache after a workout. Too much inflammation that’s not properly treated can contribute to muscle damage and ineffective workout results.

Exercisers sometimes opt to treat inflammation through anti-inflammatory measures such as taking ice baths, using anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), and eating food with antioxidants.

Scientific studies have found that CBD also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (painkilling) effects. This makes CBD an effective alternative anti-inflammatory method.

Why else do athletes take CBD after working out?

Ultimately, so many people choose to use CBD before and after exercising simply because it works. But there are also some other reasons why CBD would be preferable over other anti-inflammatory methods.

CBD is safe to take and isn’t toxic

Scientific studies have shown that continously using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is incredibly damaging to your health. Excessive use of NSAIDs has been linked to serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney damage.

CBD is considered to be a safer alternative to traditional painkillers. It’s 100% safe to consume, isn’t toxic to the body and there aren’t any documented fatal overdose levels. The Department of Health and Human Services states that ‘no signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers’.

CBD is natural

Many gym-goers carefully monitor what they put in their bodies, choosing to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle with natural produce and products. For this reason it’s not uncommon to seek natural remedies like CBD as an alternative to taking over-the-counter medication.

CBD isn’t addictive

CBD is not addictive and your body doesn’t become dependent on it. There are also no withdrawal symptoms if you choose to stop taking CBD. This is why it’s often chosen over other potentially addictive supplements.

You can’t build a tolerance to CBD

Your body won’t build a tolerance to CBD. Once you’ve found the optimal dose which works the most effectively with your body, you won’t have to increase how much you take to get the same effects.

CBD helps to promote an optimal mood

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all impact our ability to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and struggling with these disorders can greatly effect our desire to workout.   

Depression and anxiety are classified as motivational disorders, and scientific research indicates that CBD may help. The study, conducted by Natalie E Zlebnik and Joseph F Cheer from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at University of Maryland School of Medicine, states that “results from a growing number of preclinical and clinical studies identify a novel treatment application for CBD in disorders of motivation, including drug addiction, anxiety, and depression ”

Furthermore, small-scale human studies have found that CBD helps with certain forms of anxiety. In one scientific study the results indicated that “CBD significantly reduced anxiety”. 

CBD helps with sleep

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all impact our ability to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and struggling with these disorders can greatly effect our desire to workout.   

Depression and anxiety are classified as motivational disorders, and scientific research indicates that CBD may help. The study, conducted by Natalie E Zlebnik and Joseph F Cheer from the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at University of Maryland School of Medicine, states that “results from a growing number of preclinical and clinical studies identify a novel treatment application for CBD in disorders of motivation, including drug addiction, anxiety, and depression ”

Furthermore, small-scale human studies have found that CBD helps with certain forms of anxiety. In one scientific study the results indicated that “CBD significantly reduced anxiety”. 

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