It seems everyone is taking interest in CBD products: from professional athletes to people just looking to get healthy and in shape. The reason? CBD has shown promise for both pre-workout and post-workout benefits.
Athletes like UFC fighters Nate Diaz and Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez use CBD to help relieve stress and reduce inflammation from training. Tennessee Titans linebacker, Derrick Morgan and Eugene Monroe, a former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle in the NFL, uses CBD to relieve neurological damage from concussions.
Here is some of the research that backs up these claims.
What is CBD?
CBD is just one of around four hundred compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant. It is one of the most well known and well studied of the cannabinoids, along with THC, which is the molecule found in marijuana that gets you high. Thankfully, the Hemp plant has plenty of CBD without the THC!
CBD works with your body’s own endocannabinoid system, a collection of cell receptors (named CB1 and CB2) are found mostly in your nervous and immune systems. Because these two systems regulate all of the other body systems, CBD has the ability to support your health at many levels.
Studies show that CBD can reduce blood pressure by dilating (expanding) blood vessels. Findings show that high amounts of CBD target blood vessels and allow them to relax and widen, allowing for increased blood flow to the body – including the muscles, brain, and heart. Increased blood flow means good things for athletes in training. With more blood comes more oxygen delivered to muscle cells. That allows for longer training sessions before muscle fatigue kicks in.
Just like the UFC fighters, athletes are finding CBD to be a great addition to post-workout routine. Any time tissue is damaged, including muscle tissue damage from a workout, the body triggers an immune response. Excess fluid and white blood cells are sent to the area. This response is known as inflammation. High amounts of inflammation can actually hinder muscle recovery, further breaking down muscles after a workout. It stops muscle recovery and keeps tissues from rebuilding.
CBD has been shown to bind to receptors on cells of the immune system that are responsible for inflammation, preventing them from initiating an inflammatory response. This allows your joints and muscles the time they need to re-build.
By reducing inflammation, taking CBD can also led to a reduction in the pain that is associated with post-workout recovery.
Over the counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, are often taken to reduce pain and stiffness. They seem harmless, and even helpful, but taken regularly these drugs (including Advil, naproxen, Tylenol, Motrin), take a toll on your body. The liver is in charge of filtering drugs from your blood – which puts it in danger after years of doing so. These drugs can lead to liver damage, kidney damage and ulcers. Ibuprofen has even been linked to an increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
People taking CBD report a sometimes substantial reduction in muscle and joint pain. And because of the anti-inflammatory properties, CBD actually benefits your joints long term – along with all of your body systems.
Cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) is another enemy of muscle recovery. Cortisol is known to reduce protein synthesis – which is necessary to repair muscle tissue post-workout. Studies have shown that athletes given CBD after workouts have reduced levels of cortisol in their blood. Lowered cortisol also makes you calm and relaxed, helping you get your full (and necessary) eight hours of sleep.
If your work, or hobby, involves getting hit in the head (football player? UFC fighter?) CBD has shown to help protect and encourage the repair of brain trauma. Both your brain and nervous system have cannibinoid receptors. These receptors (especially the CB2 receptors) kick into overdrive after a brain injury. CBD and other cannabinoids bind to these receptors and help to regulate the swelling (inflammation) and and encourage nerve cell repair.
Adding CBD Into Your Workout
There are no research studies that suggest whether CBD is more beneficial before or after your workout. The amount of CBD that is best for you depends on your weight and needs.
Explore all of the different CBD products to see which is best for your needs. Topical creams and lotions work great for localized issues like a particular joint or muscle. Bath salts and bath bombs can soak all your joints and muscles at once in CBD goodness.
If you are looking for a whole-body impact, you will want to ingest the CBD. The most common way is to use a tincture, just a few drops under the tongue. Some people prefer gummies, a better tasting and more portable alternative. Or try products you can add to your food or drinks, like infused honey.
We recommend starting off small. Take a low dose for a few days, then build up slowly until you have reached your desired effect. Take a look at our Dosing Guide for more information!