Should You Use CBD Before or After a Workout?

Should You Use CBD Before or After a Workout?

In 2023, 78.8%, or 242 million Americans, participated in fitness activities. People who enjoy outdoor activities, join sports events and work out in the gym all have one thing in common. They risk developing sore muscles and joints and running out of energy. One of the fastest-growing wellness market segments is CBD for health and wellness, attracting health-conscious athletes and others who want natural recovery products they can trust. CBD for fitness includes products like oils for muscle and joint recovery, balms for soothing skin relief and softgels to ease achy feelings, all of which are natural and secure choices for their recovery needs.

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TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read):

Taking CBD before a workout may help minimize muscle and joint soreness. Researchers have also identified CBD as an anxiolytic so that it may minimize anxiety or stress related to athletic performance. As an antioxidant, CBD promotes healthy cells and can potentially improve oxygen levels. Taking CBD after a workout supports muscle recovery by promoting faster healing. It also supports better quality sleep.


Science of CBD and Exercise

An ‘athlete’ can refer to anyone who regularly and vigorously exercises, participates in competitive sports or recreational events or enjoys rigorous workouts in and out of the gym. They are all genders and ages but have a lot in common.

All athletes need to be at the top of their energy and performance level before starting an activity and able to recover quickly to avoid a prolonged period of aches that interfere with the rest of the day or disrupt sleep that night. For many of these athletes, competitors and exercisers, the natural plant compound CBD may deliver the benefits sought, offering a potential for enhanced performance. What does the science say?

How Can CBD Help Before a Workout?

Athletic competitors and people who set workout goals often experience physical and psychological stress before events. Performance anxiety is a condition triggered by the perception an upcoming event will be stressful and the athlete may not be able to meet the demands. It can increase the heart rate, sweating, inattention, and more. It is a main factor that increases the risk of injury and slow recovery after an event or workout.

Cortisol levels may increase as much as nine times when under stress, causing the last effects any athlete wants: body functioning imbalance, impaired nervous system and tension. Taking CBD before a workout may reduce this tension because of its possible calming effects. Lower tension levels improve mental focus and concentration. A study found that CBD may significantly reduce cortisol associated with this tension.

Other potential pre-workout benefits include reduced discomfort sensitivity, which is closely associated with the analgesic effects of CBD. Scientists also found that CBD may increase VO2 levels during intense exercise. VO2 measures how well your body uses oxygen, which is needed for energy production. The higher the VO2 measure, the better the aerobic and cardiovascular fitness.

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How Can CBD Help After a Workout?

CBD taken before a workout may prevent some common physical issues associated with intense exercise, but you can also take it afterward. The same pre-workout benefits apply. CBD has relieving properties. However, it can help in other ways after intense activity.

Taking CBD after a workout may reduce discomfort feelings by aiding muscle recovery. When you exercise, muscle damage occurs. In fact, when you exercise your muscles, microtears develop. The microtears contribute to post-workout soreness and increase muscle strength and gain as the body rebuilds the damaged tissues.

Numerous clinical studies have found CBD, through interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, may:

  • Manage cortisol release in a way that regulates the response to injury
  • Reduce immune cells overreacting during injury
  • Reduce cytokines
  • Promote healing of damage to the skeleton, like joints
  • Promote arachidonic acid release, which promotes greater healing capacity
  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Act on the central nervous system and reduce discomfort
  • Promote better sleep quality

These are not the only potential effects of CBD on recovery post-workout. CBD may also improve mood and support energy recovery. The many potentially positive effects on muscles and joints explain the increasing interest in taking CBD for bodybuilding and workout recovery.

Who Should Use CBD Before and After a Workout?

Anyone who exercises can use CBD before and after a workout. You do not have to be an athlete or bodybuilder to get the benefits of CBD. Participating in any activity that makes muscles work hard leads to people experiencing many of the same physical effects as the professional athlete. What this means is that there are many physical activities and routine exercises that can lead to microscopic tears in muscle fibers. The vigorous activities can also increase cortisol levels, cause discomfort and other typical workout effects.

Also, if CBD supports joint health, anyone with mobility issues may benefit from using CBD. When you use CBD and exercise, the physical activities may cause less stress on the body.

A CDC survey found that 67.2% of adults with joint issues engage in physical activities like walking and gardening. However, 7% of them do weightlifting! Seniors exercise, and more seniors try CBD to better manage discomfort so they can use fewer over-the-counter medications. Approximately 19% of people over 50 years old use CBD to ease discomfort and sleep issues.

When thinking “athlete,” it is tempting to only think of young adults, but the National Senior Games Association can change that perspective. Tens of thousands of athletes over 50 years old vigorously exercise and compete in basketball, softball, tennis, swimming, road racing and triathlon, pole vaulting, volleyball, etc.

How to Use CBD For a Workout?

The availability of various CBD product forms and CBD potencies means athletes and exercisers have a choice. Some general guidelines follow.

  • Allow 20-30 minutes for CBD oil to be taken sublingually or as drops to allow absorption in the bloodstream.
  • Allow 60 – 90 minutes for capsules and softgels to go through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream.
  • Allow 15 to 90 minutes for lotions, creams and balms to be absorbed into the skin.

These are very general guidelines because the time it takes for CBD to work depends on many factors. These include body mass, immune system, metabolism, CBD potency, CBD spectrum, general health and fitness, etc. Each person’s individual experience is different. Also, the more you use CBD, the more likely the effects will be felt sooner. With chronic (long-term) use, CBD can accumulate in body fat and muscle tissue and be released over time.

A good start for a beginning CBD user is to follow the brand’s recommended dosage amount. One suggestion is for people in good health to start with a product with a 20 mg CBD potency. You could take 10 mg of CBD before the workout and another 10 mg after the workout. Another suggestion is to take one to six milligrams per 10 grams of body weight. Starting with small doses enables assessing the effects and gradually increasing the amount until the desired effects are achieved.

Many CBD products specifically formulated for athletes have higher CBD potency to accommodate their unique needs. Chances are you will need to significantly increase your daily dosage amount from 20 mg. Depending on your personal needs, a daily dosage could be as high as 300 to 400 mg of CBD or more.

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Some of the largest CBD manufacturers have developed specific CBD products to address the needs of active people.

1. cbdMD

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Customers give cbdMD five-star ratings because the company is trustworthy and committed to quality. cbdMD offers athletes broad CBD oil tinctures, softgels and topicals, all made with THC-free, formulations intentionally kept simple and clean. The cbdMD oil tincture has MCT oil as the carrier oil because it boosts energy, so you get a double energy boost with cannabinoids and MCT oil. With 200 mg of CBD per serving, the high potency ensures results, something athletes appreciate.

Like CBD oil, flavorful gummies also have a high potency at 100 mg per gummy, which elevates the effects. There are also freeze roller gels and soothing creams to soothe minor aches before or after vigorous workouts. CBD topicals contain compounds like histamine dihydrochloride that produce a warming sensation and menthol that cools.

2. Level Select CBD

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Athletes call Level Select CBD the “sports” CBD company because company doctors develop products specifically for athletic performance, muscle and joint recovery and gut health. The high-performance THC-free, broad spectrum CBD oil drops with MCT oil and refreshing mint flavor are available in 20, 40 and a whopping 83.33 mg of CBD per serving.

Knowing that active people may need relief at any time, the company also makes a line of easy-to-carry roll-on and spray products that contain broad spectrum CBD and functional ingredients like menthol for soothing relief, arnica to promote circulation, rosemary extract for natural restoration and lemongrass essential oil to hydrate skin. Athletes also like a cooling mint cream with broad-spectrum CBD and patches made with a high CBD concentration for optimal impact.

3. ReCreate

ReCreate has a performance line of NSF Certified for Sport-designated products, meaning they are science-backed. The science makes the products even more desirable to athletes. The THC-free broad spectrum CBD oil tincture delivers 25 mg per serving to promote general well-being, quick recovery after a workout, focus and a sense of calm when experiencing pressure or stress, which is common in athletes or people who enjoy regular, intense workouts.

For easy consumption, muscle recovery, endurance and brain support, gummies contain broad spectrum CBD and functional botanicals like beetroot to support athletic performance. The company has an excellent reputation for adhering to rigorous purity guidelines.

4. Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals uses organic hemp from Oregan to make products for active people. Many products, like tincture oils and softgels, are high-potency, delivering 50 mg of CBD per serving. There are products made specifically for increasing recovery after exertion, like balms, balm sticks, muscle gel roll-ons and massage oil. These products relieve sore and inflamed muscles due to a balance of CBD and botanicals like menthol, wintergreen and jojoba seed oil.

For active people needing the full power of CBD, the concentrated full-spectrum Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) delivers 200 mg per serving and all the hemp plant compounds.

5. Bluebird Botanicals

A Certified B Corporation and Certified Vegan Organization, Bluebird Botanicals developed CBD products that are 100% clean. The full spectrum CBD lotion for sports enthusiasts rejuvenates skin and assists with reducing aches and pains with essential botanicals, including lavender, rosemary, geranium, jojoba and coconut oils.

Athletes are focused on health, so the products are entirely free of artificial colors, fragrances, phthalates, parabens and sulfates. Many athletes appreciate the simplicity of the product formulas. They know exactly what they are using. The isolate CBD cream with menthol, aloe vera, and shea butter is easy to carry in the gym bag, so you can relieve aches throughout the day while moisturizing your skin.

6. Joy Organics

Joy Organics is known for making premium products and has earned a loyal customer base. The hemp is USDA-certified, reflecting the founder’s commitment to sustainability.

The THC-free broad spectrum CBD sports cream is particularly popular with active people because it has a balanced formulation of premium CBD, camphor and menthol, plus an array of botanical oils in an easy-to-carry pump container. The cool and refreshing blend can release tension and reduce feelings of achy, sore muscles and joints. The CBD cream also supports healthy muscles throughout the day.

CBD and Exercise Make Good Partners

The scientific evidence that CBD may benefit athletes and other active people continues to grow. Clinical studies have found CBD may have positive effects before and after workouts, including reducing discomfort, promoting mental and physical stress, muscle and joint soreness and muscle recovery.

No CBD brand can legally make health claims, but millions of consumers regularly provide anecdotal evidence showing CBD works for them. Be sure to use high-quality products purchased from reputable sources. Also, keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD oil may have up to 0.3% THC. If concerned about drug testing, purchase a broad spectrum that is THC-free or an isolate CBD product.

Sources

  1. https://sfia.org/resources/sfias-topline-participation-report-shows-strong-positive-trends-across-multiple-sports-and-fitness-categories-2/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5667788/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371989/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31915861/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8891421/
  7. https://www.uhhospitals.org/blog/articles/2018/02/microtears-and-mass
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8369499/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8519272/
  10. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/cbd-statistics/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9146469/

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