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22nd June 2020

Does CBD Help with Muscle Recovery?

Muscle soreness after exercise is a common problem for people who exercise regularly and many find that it takes a while to fully recover after a workout. However, some have suggested that using CBD products could help with muscle recovery after exercise, potentially impacting how sore and stiff we feel. We look at CBD and muscle recovery in more detail below.

What causes muscle soreness after a workout?

First of all, we wanted to take a look at why our muscles feel sore after exercise and why we generally need recovery time. This can happen a day or two after exercise and is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is most common when you increase the intensity of your workout routine or try something new – over time, your muscles will adapt to being used in a certain way. 

When you work your body hard, it can cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibres and it is this that results in soreness, stiffness and inflammation. This will typically take a few days to recover. It is nothing to be alarmed about, and you can still exercise with DOMS, but it might feel uncomfortable.

People who need to exercise regularly, such as athletes and those with active lifestyles, will seek out ways to reduce the impact of DOMS.

Why is it thought that CBD could help with muscle recovery?

The main reason why it is believed that CBD could help with muscle recovery is because of its reported anti-inflammatory properties.

Although inflammation of the affected areas of your muscles is important for aiding recovery as it stimulates blood flow to that area, it is thought that a larger group of muscles and joints can become inflamed as a result of DOMS, meaning your overall recovery process is slower.

Multiple studies have explored the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. One frequently cited 2009 article found that CBD has the potential to be used as a novel treatment for inflammatory disorders, while a more recent article discusses the growing body of evidence that CBD can help with pain and inflammation, and discusses the potential delivery strategies that can be used.

Research has also suggested that CBD can be effective in reducing pain, as we explored in our blog on using CBD oil for pain, which suggests that it could also limit the pain felt after exercise. Most research focuses on how CBD can be effective in treating chronic pain and difficult to treat pain, but as it is thought to assist with the alleviation of pain, some believe it might also have an impact on the pain associated with DOMS. Further scientific research in this area is needed but this would allow athletes and those with active lifestyles to return to their lives without feeling discomfort. 

Who uses CBD to help with an active lifestyle?

In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances. Since then, many athletes in the public eye have been vocal about the benefits they’ve found from using CBD.

Rob Gronkowski, a former NFL star, has spoken publicly about how CBD has helped him to relieve the pain he often felt from being an athlete and living an active lifestyle. 

Professional rugby players George Kruis and Dominic Day decided to start their CBD brand, fourfivecbd, because it helped them to maintain their active lifestyles when they were leading lives with rigorous training and lengthy recovery periods.

For professional athletes, there are still some concerns around CBD and drug testing, which you can read more about in our blog on whether CBD shows up in a drug test.

It is not just professional athletes who can use CBD for muscle recovery, of course, but many are putting it in the spotlight as an option for all of us who live active lifestyles.

What type of CBD products should be used for muscle recovery?

So, CBD could potentially help you with muscle recovery post-workout, but how exactly should you be using it?

There are a few options here and it really depends on what works best for you. CBD oil is typically taken orally and can come in multiple formats, such as drops, spray and capsules. Some people suggest holding the CBD oil under your tongue for 30 seconds or so before swallowing if you are using a dropper, as this helps it to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

There are also topical treatments you can use on your body, such as muscle rub. You apply these directly to the affected area and it is thought that they can help to concentrate the CBD on a specific area of pain. It may soothe and help provide relief to sore muscles.

To help you get started on your CBD journey, you can look at our guide to choosing the right CBD product or simply browse our shop.

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