Everyone is talking about the benefits of CBD, and some of the most vocal in this crowd are professional athletes. In just about every single professional sports league, you’ll find someone touting the benefits of CBD for post-workout recovery.
Athletes from across the spectrum are increasingly using CBD for sport, from “Gronk” (Rob Gronkowski), the former New England Patriot, to Bubba Watson, a two-time winner of the Augusta Nationals PGA Tournament. With so much publicity, it’s no wonder that others, including amateurs, are asking questions about CBD. When you dig into the science, does CBD help with recovery? Is CBD good for muscle recovery?
The Science-Backed Benefits of CBD for Sports
CBD is the latest trend in fitness, but is it proven? Just because a famous athlete is joining forces with a CBD company, doesn’t automatically mean it’s medicinally valuable. Like many areas of cannabis-based research, there is much more interest than evidence behind CBD for recovery.
Still, that doesn’t mean CBD for sports is entirely fake news. There is a growing body of preliminary research behind the hype. The growing number of early studies, in animal research, case reports, and preliminary trials, helps to lay the groundwork for well-controlled clinical trials later.
The preliminary work tells us CBD has several therapeutic properties which lend it towards application in sports and post-workout recovery.
CBD and Stress
CBD is most famous for its stress-relieving qualities. And while many of us apply this to an emotional state of stress, it may also be valuable for physical stressors. No matter if we face work-place or physical stress, our adrenal glands secrete the same hormone: cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, which may trigger changes to appetite, blood pressure, and more.
As far back as 1993, CBD was under investigation for its ability to reduce cortisol among healthy volunteers. With more robust research, CBD may prove effective for reducing cortisol levels following an intense game or gym session. It’s the first reason why athletes are turning to this cannabinoid for improved recovery.
CBD and Muscle Recovery
Muscle recovery is an incredibly important consideration for professional and amateur athletes alike. As you exert your muscles, their microscopic fibers naturally tear. During recovery, they have the chance to repair and rebuild, which, when done correctly, strengthen and grow these muscles. There has always been a drive to find treatments or techniques which speed up the recovery process, to allow for faster gains.
Inflammation is a natural part of the muscle recovery process, and therefore an important target for faster recovery. CBD is an established anti-inflammatory compound. The authors of Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs detail how CBD reduces inflammatory response by disrupting the production of cytokines. Cytokines regulate the activation and deactivation of inflammation. The ongoing hypothesis about if CBD is good for muscle recovery is based around it’s potential to reduce this inflammatory response.
Is CBD Oil Good for Post-Workout Recovery?
Again, it’s always good to remind ourselves that it’s still early days in the world of cannabis research. Even when it comes to CBD, which is often sourced from hemp and non-intoxicating, science is playing a game up catch-up with popular use.
But CBD oil for post-workout recovery has a lot of evidence routing for it. As mentioned, preliminary research suggests it could reduce inflammation to speed up post-work recovery, and it may also lower stress levels as triggered during intense physical activity.
Furthermore, CBD is widely accepted as a safe, natural compound with no high and no serious side effects. Compared with other over-the-counter medications that are widely used in sports-recovery, it’s actually much safer.
In 2017, the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research published, “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies.” In this updated review, the authors concluded “In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research,” and “In comparison with other drugs used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.” Food for thought for the CBD-curious athlete.
The authors reported that when side effects did occur in studies using CBD, they were mild and non-life threatening. They included tiredness, diarrhea, and changes to appetite and weight. For the athletes reading this, it’s also important to note that most of the studies reviewed were dosing at extremely high levels. Your daily dose of CBD oil for sports recovery will likely be nowhere near the 300+ milligrams taken by most of these study participants.
What is the Best CBD to Have in Your Gym Bag?
What do professional athletes throw into their gym bags for post-workout recovery? Although flower is still the reigning king of popular cannabis products, it’s not always suitable for use in sports. Smoking cannabis comes with none of the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes, but it can trigger short term respiratory issues with chronic use. Athletes may want to avoid CBD-rich flowers and vape products in favor of edibles, tinctures, and capsules.
If you are on the go and looking for a way to incorporate CDB into your recovery routine, consider CBD Tincture. Tinctures are concentrates of CBD in liquid form, which are easy to dose no matter the amount required. Plus, they are quick to add to a post-workout protein shake or smoothie.
CBD Gummies, chocolates, and candies are another great alternative to smoking CBD-rich bud. Edibles come pre-dosed and are perhaps the most discreet way to pop a dose of recovery while still at the gym.
Early Evidence Supports CBD for Muscle Recovery
With its comparable safe side effect profile and preliminary evidence, CBD could very well turn into a powerful post-workout tool for professional and amateur athletes. Thus far, we know it reduces stress hormones and helps reduce inflammation, which naturally occurs during physical activity.
If you have little patience for recovery or want to speed up muscle rebound, CBD is worth it. You never know what a dose of CBD could deliver to your stressed and sore muscles. If it works for the pro athletes, it could just work for you.