Exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether you're an avid runner, weightlifter, or yogi, working out can help improve your physical and mental health. However, with exercise comes the potential for muscle soreness and inflammation.
This is where CBD comes in.
In this blog post, we'll explore CBD and exercise, the potential benefits of using CBD for muscle recovery and inflammation, and how it may aid in post-workout relaxation and relief.
The Science Behind Muscle Soreness and Inflammation After Exercise
When we exercise, our muscles undergo stress and tension, which can result in microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. This leads to inflammation, which is a natural response from our body's immune system to protect and repair the damaged tissues. This inflammation can cause pain, stiffness, and soreness, making it difficult to move and perform everyday activities.
While inflammation is a natural response, it can also lead to chronic pain and other health issues if left untreated.
This is where CBD comes in.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, which is the intoxicating compound in cannabis, CBD does not produce a "high" and is generally regarded topically as safe and non-addictive.
Using CBD for Muscle Recovery and Inflammation
Studies have shown that CBD may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help reduce pain and inflammation after exercise. One study published in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD can reduce inflammation and pain in rats with arthritis. Another study published in the Frontiers in Neurology found that CBD can help reduce pain and improve mobility in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
While there is still a lot of research needed to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD for muscle recovery and inflammation, early studies suggest that it may be a promising option for those looking for natural ways to manage pain and inflammation after exercise.
How CBD Interacts with the Body's Endocannabinoid System to Promote Relaxation and Reduce Pain
To understand how CBD works in the body, it's important to understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a role in regulating a wide range of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, sleep, and pain sensation.
The ECS is made up of three components:
Endocannabinoids are molecules that are naturally produced by the body and bind to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they have served their purpose.
When taken internally, CBD interacts with the ECS by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are found throughout the body. By binding to these receptors, CBD can help regulate pain perception, mood, and other physiological processes that are affected by the ECS.
When used topically, CBD interacts with TRPV-1 (vanilloid) receptors (Izzo, et al, p.5-6) , PPAR-gamma receptors (Ruhaak et al), and suppresses the production of a pro-inflammatory enzyme found in the skin, TNF-alpha (Izzo, et al, p.5-6).
Different Forms of CBD Products That May Be Used for Muscle Recovery
There are a variety of different CBD products on the market that can be used for muscle recovery and inflammation. Some of the most popular forms of CBD products include:
Topicals: CBD topicals, such as creams, lotions, and body oils, are designed to be applied directly to the skin. These products may provide targeted relief to specific areas of the body and are often used for joint and muscle pain.
Tinctures or Drops: CBD tinctures are liquid extracts that are taken orally. They are often mixed with a carrier oil, such as MCT oil, and are placed under the tongue for quick absorption.
Soaking Salts: CBD-infused bath salts are a luxurious way to soothe sore muscles and promote relaxation. They can be added to a warm bath and can provide a full-body experience. Between the CBD, essential oils, and minerals, like magnesium found in CBD bath salts, potential benefits abound.
It's important to note that the efficacy of CBD products can vary depending on a few factors. Firstly, the individual and the severity of their pain or inflammation, secondly, the concentration or potency of the product being used, and lastly, the complimentary or synergistic effects of the other ingredients in the products. Regarding potency, look at it in terms of how much product you have to use in order to reach your desired results. Your bottle of CBD lotion may tout 1500mg, but if that's in an 8oz bottle of lotion, it's only 187.5mg of CBD per ounce, so you'll have to apply way more CBD lotion to get the same results from a product that boasts 500mg/ounce. It's also important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating CBD into your post-workout routine.
CBD and Exercise: Tips for Incorporating CBD into Your Post-Workout Routine
If you're interested in incorporating CBD into your post-workout routine, here are some tips to get you started:
When ingesting CBD, start with a low dose: It's important to start with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase the dosage as needed. This will help you find the right dosage for your individual needs.
When using CBD products topically: Use as much CBD lotion, cream, body oil, massage oil, as needed to achieve your desired level of relief. Sometimes this means that you will feel the difference after a few days with multiple applications throughout the day. For others, they feel the effects when applied topically once. Since everyone’s body is different, people have varying experiences when it comes to CBD. But before giving up on that CBD topical, apply it (and rub it in) many times per day at first. Some people even sit down and watch a movie and apply it every few minutes for faster effects.
Choose high-quality products: Make sure to choose high-quality, high potency CBD products that are consistent and third-party tested, free of harmful contaminants. Make sure those batch numbers match! Also, in looking for a high potency CBD product, don't be afraid to look at the math - 500mg of CBD in a 1oz bottle is much stronger than 1500mg of CBD in a 6oz bottle and will likely work better with much less product needed.
Combine with other techniques: While CBD may be effective on its own, it has the potential to be even more effective when combined with other relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and stretching. Some athletes have shared their CBD bath salts hack - dissolving the CBD bath salts in a bucket of hot water and pouring it into an ice bath for great results.
Give it time: Preclinical studies have shown that CBD works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating a variety of functions such as mood, appetite, sleep, and pain sensation. When CBD is introduced into the body, it can take some time for the endocannabinoid system to respond and for the effects to be felt.
CBD May Help With Muscle Recovery After Exercise
In summary, CBD may be a promising option for those looking for natural ways to manage muscle soreness and inflammation after exercise. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD for muscle recovery, early studies suggest that it may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
If you're interested in incorporating CBD into your post-workout routine, make sure to choose high-quality products, start with a low dose, and give it time to work. As always, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplements or products into your routine.