Health & Wellness

CBD for Pre- and Post-Workout

By Melena Gurganus
Victor Freitas

As interest continues to grow among health and fitness trends, people have started to look for new ways to enhance their fitness routine in some way. Perhaps eating a lot of protein or taking pre-workout supplements can help you make the most out of your workout. But for some, research and anecdotal accounts have led them to try CBD before or after they exercise.

While CBD is not classified as a health supplement by the FDA, people far and wide are taking CBD products to help restore the body—including with muscle building and recovery.

Using CBD Before Exercising

CBD and other cannabis extracts are commonly considered to have sedative or relaxation effects, given the many people who seek out CBD for its prospective anxiety reducing and sleep enhancing properties. However, the stimulating potential of this compound is too often overlooked. CBD has shown to increase wakefulness and alertness when administered in lower doses, while the sedating effects are associated with higher doses. For those looking to increase focus and energy by introducing CBD into their active lifestyle, this is a plus.

But before you try CBD as a pre-workout booster, first consider what results you are hoping to achieve. The type of delivery method and when you choose to take CBD can play an important role in how you respond to the hemp extract. For instance, your body will absorb CBD more slowly if you ingest a capsule or edible when compared to other application styles, like inhalation or sublingual drops, which take effect much more quickly.

You can choose a product that you like, and adjust the time at which you take it depending on when you hope to see the CBD take effect. Additionally, you’ll want to start with small doses of CBD if using it before a workout, especially since too much of the compound may hamper your motivation to exercise.

CBD for Post-Workout Recovery

The phrase “no pain, no gain” comes to mind when we think of building muscle, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the common culprit. The aches and pains that follow an intense workout are caused by the body’s response to heal microtears in the muscle fibers, which are a result of muscle tension and strain. While this sensation may be uncomfortable, it’s a good sign that your muscles are recovering and building stronger fibers that are more resistant to damage.

But it’s not always easy to move past the joint pain, muscle soreness, and old injury flare-ups that can hinder many people from reaching the full scope of their physical capabilities.

Enter CBD.

As CBD becomes more widely recognized as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic substance, we’ve noticed a growing amount of users that report taking CBD after exercise. This is often done to help reduce some of the painful side effects caused by muscle recovery, without inhibiting the ability of the muscle fibers to heal themselves.

Moreover, CBD appeals to a variety of consumers since there are a wide range of different application methods. CBD-infused lotions and creams can be applied topically for targeting localized pain, or sublingual tinctures or ingestible capsules can be of use when seeking whole-body effects.

Why Athletes are Increasingly Turning to CBD

Professional athletes like UFC fighter Nate Diaz and former NFL offensive tackle Eugene Monroe are known to promote the use of CBD, as they’ve personally experienced benefits from using the compound for pain management and muscle recovery. In comparison to other common substances used to help people cope with pain, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen and Aspirin can have damaging long term effects, such as:

  • Development of chronic kidney disease
  • Increased risk for heart problems
  • Gastrointestinal damage, including ulcers and internal bleeding
  • High blood pressure

Not only do NSAIDs have these potentially threatening consequences, but your body can build up a tolerance to these drugs and reduce their effectiveness—and ultimately make it more challenging to deal with inflammation.

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As one study published by the Annals of Long Term Care noted, “The NSAID should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time.” Essentially highlighting that these substances may be helpful but are not a solution to chronic pain issues. In light of this information, it seems that CBD has become an increasingly viable pain management option for some consumers who seek to decrease their NSAID use, despite the FDA’s lack of approval for CBD products.

Why It Matters

As more and more people grow curious about using CBD for workout recovery, we felt it necessary to analyze both the scientific and anecdotal evidence that supports this idea. Although we don’t promote the substitution of any medicine with CBD, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects have led many people to try CBD—with some individuals experiencing good outcomes.

Scientific research has been able to lay the groundwork for outlining possible benefits that CBD may have to offer, but more clinical studies are necessary to fill in additional blanks. Yet even with a lack of evidence, we’ve seen the emergence of several advocates who regularly use CBD to aid in the various side effects of muscle growth and recovery. However, CBD may affect everyone differently, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll notice a remarkable change in your workout routine or muscle soreness.

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