CBD Muscle Recovery: Can It Really Improve Your Training Sessions?

CBD Muscle Recovery: Can It Really Improve Your Training Sessions?

CBD muscle recovery is a popular topic among athletes and trainers, but can this supplement heal post-workout inflammation? Read on to learn more about CBD science and the possible effects it can have on your training sessions.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol or CBD for short is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids can be found in both marijuana and hemp [R].

CBD oil is an oil extracted from the Cannabis sativa. Most of the CBD available for purchase is made from hemp plants. There are also broad and full-spectrum varieties that contain elevated concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the chemical that gets you high.

The other version of CBD is made from hemp plants. It contains about 0.3% THC. Don’t worry you won’t get high from these CBD products [R].

Is CBD Oil Legal?

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to sell hemp products including CBD oil in the U.S. Any CBD products made from the marijuana plant are illegal.

Normally cannabis CBD oil is only available through marijuana dispensaries but processing methods can lead to some products containing more THC than is legal in some states [R].

Hemp CBD has also been permitted to be used in sports. It is approved by professional and amateur athletes and was removed from the banned substances list. CBD is not currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. Cannabis CBD products containing THC are still not allowed in competitive sports.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD may not make you high but some neurological changes happen after you consume these substances.

The body naturally contains its version of CBD compounds. These endocannabinoids are similar to neurotransmitters. They send and receive chemical messages all over the body.

When you take CBD. It will come in and hijack the endocannabinoid receptors [R].

Some thought it was just cannabis CBD that affected these receptors but hemp CBD has been found to also change the way the endocannabinoid system runs [R, R, R].

Physical and mental changes occur as a result of these activations. These changes have been studied for their potential health benefits [R, R, R, R].

Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Benefits of CBD oil include being an anti-inflammatory, pain reducer, and mood stabilizer.

CBD Oil for Inflammation and Inflammatory Conditions

CBD receptors in immune cells and the cannabinoid system are involved in regulating immune function. CBD suppresses inflammatory responses and may reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and hepatitis [R].

CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease where the immune system attacks itself. Specifically, the myelin sheath on nerve cells. Myelin sheath destruction results in muscle spasms, tremor, ataxia, weakness, or paralysis, constipation, and loss of bladder control [R, R].

CBD Oil for MS became popular after cannabinoids were found to suppress immune cell production and protected the cells in the central nervous system [R, R].

CBD Oil for Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation that destroys, stiffens, and deforms joints [R].

Cannabinoids have been beneficial for RA in both animals and humans [R].

Animals given CBD both orally or administered through the gut had slowed disease progression in doses of 5 or 25 mg per kilogram of body weight. [R]. A drug-related to cannabidiol, HU-320 was also found to improve arthritis in mice [R].

Ajulemic acid (AjA) another cannabinoid drug developed from the THC metabolite reduced inflammation by destroying cells that lead to autoimmune destruction in RA [R].

AjA also reduced some inflammatory cells in human cells. The inflammatory cells TNF-α had no change [R]. AjA was also found to reduce interleukin-6 (IL-6) an immune cell that contributes to inflammation and tissue injury [R].

Bone erosion was also stunted in mice given 15 and 30 micrometers of AjA [R].

Topical treatments of CBD are effective for RA in mice. A 10% CBD gel helped reduce inflammation [R].

CBD Oil for Crohn’s and IBS

Inflammation that plagues the digestive tract can lead to irritable bowel disease and conditions like Crohn’s and colitis.

CBD receptors are found within immune cells that line the gut so cannabinoids may play a role in preventing these digestive disorders [R, R].

Mice induced with colitis were given cannabinoids had reduced inflammation and damage irritation in smooth muscles of the intestines [R, R].

Human studies on CBD effects in digestive disorders are limited and most did not see the same results. Taking 10 mg of CBD twice a day had no beneficial effects on Crohn’s disease. It may have to do with the dosage or the size of the study [R].

Though there was a reduction in symptoms overall adults with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) given a CBD-rich botanical extract for 10 weeks had no difference in remission rates when compared with a placebo. Patients were also less tolerant of the CBD product than the placebo which lead to many not finishing the program and taking one-third fewer capsules.

Mild to moderate side effects were seen which had to do with the TCH content. More gastrointestinal problems were seen in the CBD group than with the placebo. Though remission did not happen, the CBD extract may be beneficial for symptoms of UC [R].

CBD Oil for Pain

Like the way the immune system is affected by cannabinoids, there is also the thought CBD may work as an analgesic and pain reliever.

The endocannabinoid system in the brain and spinal cord activates receptors in these cells alleviating pain [R, R].

The promise of CBD as a pain reliever is exciting but the current research is limited to just a few studies.

One randomized trial showed improvements among people with cancer-related pain when given tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol (THC: CBD) extract when compared with a placebo or just a THC extract alone.

The relief was not enough to stop opioid medications. Mild to moderate side effects of nausea and vomiting were also seen in those taking the THC: CBD extract [R].

Pain occurs after a kidney transplant. CBD was given in doses from 5 to 150 mg twice per day for three weeks. Of the seven people given CBD, four experienced some pain relief. Two people had total pain relief [R].

Twelve girls given 150 mg CBD oil per day for three months had reduced pain from an HPV vaccine [R].

CBD Oil for Depression and Anxiety

CBD is thought to act on serotonin receptors in the brain influencing mood and causing relaxation.

Mice given CBD in doses of 5 mg per kilogram for 7 days had reduced anxiety [R].

Human studies have also explored the effects of THC and CBD on anxiety. THC increased anxiety while CBD had the same effect as a placebo [R].

Other short-term studies have found potential benefits with CBD on anxiety.

CBD was given to 72 psychiatric patients in 25 mg doses per day for three months. Anxiety scores were decreased in the first month of treatment and remained decreased for the rest of the study [R].

CBD helped lessen anxiety related to stressful events such as public speaking. CBD given in doses of 300 mg to 10 subjects improved anxiety in those about to speak publicly when compared with a placebo [R].

The test was redone as a randomized trial in 2017 and found anxiety was reduced when taking 300 mg dose. Doses of 100 and 900 mg did not affect [R].

A different group studied the effects of 600 mg of CBD. They found a significant reduction of anxiety for the public speaking test [R].

Ten out of 11 people had reduced PTSD after taking CBD for 8 weeks. There was no placebo involved so it’s hard to say if this could be produced under other circumstances [R].

CBD Muscle Recovery

A recovery process is important for giving your exercised muscles recuperation after an intense workout. Due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing benefits, CBD is often promoted as a muscle recovery supplement. CBD may offer potential benefits for muscle recovery.

Reduces Inflammation, and Pain in Damaged Muscles

Muscle tissues are damaged during exercise. Exercise-induced tears of muscle fibers become inflamed and result in muscle soreness and pain.

There are no specific studies involving CBD oil and muscle recovery so it is unknown if topical CBD treatment will reduce soreness.

Since cannabinoids are responsible for lowering inflammation in other diseases there could be possible benefits of CBD to lower inflammation in muscle tissues damaged from exercise.

CBD has been found to activate vanilloid VR1 receptors which are responsible for lowering inflammation in skeletal muscle [R, R].

CBD has been shown to lower chronic pain in various conditions so you would hope that it can do the same thing for muscle damage.

There is no specific research connecting muscle pain and CBD but there is a connection between neurotransmitters that help to reduce pain such as gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA).

GABA is a neurotransmitter known for its effects on reducing muscle pain. CBD has been found to increase GABA activity [R, R, R].

Less inflammation means less pain and reduced muscle tension.

CBD Improves Sleep Need for Muscle Recovery

Sleep is an essential part of muscle recovery. Increased inflammation has been associated with poor sleep so not getting enough may prolong the pain from exercise damaged muscles [R].

CBD improved sleep patterns in both human and animal studies.

Rats treated with 10 and 40 mg per kilogram of body weight of CBD slept longer than those given a placebo. Those given CBD in doses of 40 mg per kilogram of body weight had an easier time falling asleep when compared with 10 mg/kg CBD [R].

CBD has been shown to improve sleep in those with PTSD but there is no specific information in regards to sleep and muscle recovery when taking CBD [R].

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) results in nightmares and active behavior during dreaming. A reduction in RBD-related events was found in four people given CBD. No side effects were seen [R].

Without any actual clinical evidence available, the true outcomes of CBD use for muscle recovery remain to be unknown [R].

Other Ways To Get Quick Muscle Recovery

Faster muscle recovery occurs when you take time to recoup from physical activity. If you are looking for alternatives to CBD oil were are other ways on how to speed up muscle recovery.

Best Food for Muscle Recovery

The best food for muscle recovery includes those that are rich in proteins such as meats, poultry, eggs, and fish. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are a good source of protein. Protein can also be found in vegetarian foods tofu, tempeh, beans, peas, grains rice, quinoa, and corn [R].

Foods rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for reduced muscle damage. These foods include cherries, pomegranates, beets, watermelon, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, salmon, and tuna [R].

If you find it hard to get enough essential amino acids into your diet you can also look into certain supplements.

Amino Acids Muscle Recovery

Intense training requires more dietary protein which can be obtained from large intakes of whole foods. Consuming a large number of protein foods may not be feasible due to time constraints and a person’s limit to how much they can eat. Taking a protein and or amino acid supplement before, during, and after working out can improve recovery time and facilitate muscle growth [R].

Sleep Muscle Recovery

The body cannot function without sleep so it is no wonder that sleep enhances muscle recovery. Sleep is needed to regulate body processes related to exercise such as glucose and hormone regulation. Sleep increases protein synthesis and muscle mass [R].

What to Look for in a CBD Oil Supplement

There are several types of CBD products. They include capsules, pills, oils, and tinctures. There are also CBD topicals. These products are placed on the skin and include creams and sprays.

CBD infused products are quite popular now as well. You can find CBD oil in everything from gummies and honey to drinks like wine, tea, and seltzer.

With so few regulations on CBD oil, it is hard to know what you may be getting. There are a lot of oils that contain more than the regulated 0.3 of THC. Looking for a quality CBD oil is important. Be sure there are no additives and it has been GMP tested for its purity.

How to Take CBD Oil

The time of effectiveness varies from the form of CBD. Pills tend to have a longer time to work whereas oils can be placed on the tongue for instant activity. Topical CBD can also be a fast-acting way to help muscle and joint pain.

Dosage Recommendations of CBD Oil

Aside from the pharmaceutical drug Epidolex, there are no specific dosing regimens recommended for CBD products.

Doses range from as little as 5 to over 100 mg per day.

Potency can also vary across products. Some will have only CBD while others may have additional Cannabis cannabinoids noted by the “whole-plant extract” or “single compound extracts” on the box [R].

Some feel that starting with as low a dose as possible is a good rule of thumb. When in doubt talk to a healthcare provider to find out what is best for you.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

Doses of 300 mg and less per day were found to be possibly safe when taken by mouth or sprayed under the tongue over a period of 6 months. Oral doses of CBD between 1200 and 1500 mg taken daily for 4 weeks were also seen as safe [R].

Side effects that have been seen with this supplement in both short and long term use. They include [R, R]:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness, and drowsiness
  • Liver injury (less common)
  • Appetite suppression
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Intermittent episodes of heat

Side effects in topical CBD are unknown [R].

Contraindications of CBD Oil

There are both nutrient and drug interactions with CBD products.

Nutrient Interactions with CBD Oil

The combination of high-fat and high-calorie meals can also increase the CBD concentration so it is recommended to take CBD a few hours apart from eating [R].

Drug Interactions with CBD Oil

CBD interacts with a few medications. It can affect lower the number of antiepileptic drugs in the blood. It affects clobazam, rufinamide, topiramate, zonisamide, and eslicarbazepine [R].

CBD has also been shown to interfere with hexobarbital, omeprazole, risperidone, warfarin, and diclofenac in cell studies [R, R].

Certain drugs may also diminish the effects of CBD products. This was found in the antibiotic rifampicin [R].

Human studies found drug interactions among those with epileptic and psychiatric disorders resulting in liver abnormalities, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and drowsiness [R].

Risks of CBD Oil

Using CBD can be somewhat dangerous since no specific studies show the effects of different doses. There is little research on the long-term effects of CBD over a few months [R].

This brings up the question: Is CBD safe? For some populations, there are CBD oil dangers.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid CBD due to it being possibly unsafe for the fetus and infant [R].

Those with liver disease should use lower doses of cannabidiol compared to healthy patients [R].

CBD is not without its risks. In animal studies taking doses higher than recommended for human consumption resulted in developmental toxicities among the reproductive and nervous system. Damage to liver cells, low blood pressure, embryo-fetal was also a result of high dosing [R].

Since there is no regulation all products will have different concentrations of CBD. Some products have also been found to have more THC than allowed which is illegal [R].

Research on cannabis CBD oil found many contaminants in the plants grown, harvested, and packaged. No control practices have led to the presence of pesticides, metal particles, synthetic cannabinoids, heavy metals, molds, bacteria, and aflatoxins in these products [R].

Solvents from production have been found in cannabis extracts. Hexane, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, toluene, benzene, xylene, and acetone are some substances found when cannabis extract was tested [R].

Hemp CBD oil extracts still have yet to be tested for these substances.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil

It can be inferred that the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD may help reduce muscle pain but specific CBD muscle recovery information is lacking. When it comes down to it most of the research on CBD oil is still in its infancy.

Cannabinoid products have a lot of potential benefits but there are mixed results as to its true effectiveness. It seems to be safe to some degree and helps to improve sleep and relieve symptoms of mood, and digestive issues. Still, we need to learn more about this product and how it affects the body. Like most medications, side effects can occur and CBD may not be good for people on certain medications. If you are interested in taking CBD oil to reduce pain it is best to start with a very low dose. When in doubt ask your healthcare professional if CBD is right for you especially if you are on medication or have any health conditions.


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