Fitness & Nutrition

Can You Use CBD for Exercise-Induced Inflammation?

By Harris Wheless
Jacob Postuma

Athletes and gym enthusiasts alike understand that staying physically active is important for preserving general health and wellness. Workouts, runs, and training sessions can help build muscle and boost energy so you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Unfortunately, strenuous physical activity can result in muscle soreness and inflammation. This might cause you to put off exercising and hinder you from working out in a consistent manner. In order to establish a better fitness routine, you’ll need to have a more effective recovery period. CBD can be used as a  general wellness supplement to potentially help you bounce back more quickly after a workout.

How can CBD help?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis plants that interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS has many functions within the human body, and it helps maintain homeostasis by regulating other systems.

CBD may be able to enhance the system’s regulatory properties and promote a state of equilibrium that allows for optimal functioning. This cannabinoid also has the potential to provide relief from a range of different symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce symptoms like swelling, aching, and tenderness.

Another effect of CBD is its ability to assuage muscle soreness and stiffness. As an antioxidant, CBD can prevent cell damage and reduce stress, which helps to rejuvenate muscles and aid recovery. Athletes may find it helpful to take CBD before exercising for calm and focus, or post-workout for a speedy recovery period.

What is CBD’s legal status?

In June of 2018, the FDA approved a drug containing a cannabis-derived substance for the first time. Known as Epidiolex, this drug is a CBD oral solution used for reducing seizures associated with two severe forms of childhood epilepsy.

A few months later, the 2018 Farm Bill passed in December and legalized the production of industrial hemp on a federal level. CBD is extracted from these hemp plants, but CBD products still lie in a legal grey area for some residents. Check your state’s laws to find out if CBD oil is legal in your area.

[Find the best CBD oil for you.]

One important distinction that should be made is that hemp is not marijuana. Hemp is a specific strain of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana has more than this amount. CBD products typically have only trace levels of THC or none at all, and don’t produce a high.

What kind of CBD should an athlete take?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits all natural and synthetic cannabinoids except for CBD, which was removed from the organization’s list of prohibited substances in early 2018. However, because THC and other cannabinoids are still prohibited, athletes can’t use CBD products that contain other cannabis compounds.

These products are referred to as full-spectrum because they feature a range of cannabinoids and terpenes. When these chemicals work together, they produce what is known as the entourage effect. This is a form of whole plant therapy that is believed to provide users with better relief.

Additionally, there are two other types of CBD extracts that can be found in products: broad-spectrum and CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum CBD also consists of a range of other cannabis compounds, without the THC. But CBD in this form would still be prohibited by the WADA.

So, for athletes concerned with drug testing, CBD isolate is most likely the best option. Isolate products contain only CBD and no other cannabinoids. But they still provide effective symptomatic relief for many people who undergo strenuous exercise.

How to find the right product for you

Although CBD has proven successful in alleviating certain symptoms, more research needs to be done on how it works and its long-term effects. Most of what we know about CBD’s efficacy in treating exercise-induced symptoms comes from anecdotal evidence.

In the past few years, the CBD market has been flooded with countless brands. Some of these are legitimate, and some are trying to make a quick buck off of poor quality or counterfeit products.

Many of these products feature labels with inaccurate CBD levels. This can be remedied by seeking out reputable brands who do third party testing and maintain a high standard for their hemp extracts.

In order to optimize your recovery or workout experience, you should consider the form of CBD that works best for you. When it comes to reducing exercise-induced inflammation and the soreness that accompanies it, CBD topicals are a popular choice for many consumers since they can be applied to a targeted area for quick relief from pain and discomfort.

Keep in mind that CBD works differently for different people. You may want to consult your doctor or trainer before supplementing your workout routine with CBD. A medical professional who knows your medical history can be helpful in finding a product that best mitigates your symptoms. If you do your research and listen to your body, CBD has the potential to improve your fitness results.

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