If you follow athletes on social media, you might have seen a few of them posting pictures with droppers, vials, and CBD creams, and even talking about how they use these products. Many of them attest that these have helped them control post-workout muscle soreness and improve overall workout recovery, especially during intense trainings. But like any other supplement, CBD works best if you the what, why, and how. Read on to learn what current research is saying about CBS for exercise and muscle recovery.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is made up of the same atoms as THC but in a slightly different arrangement. The difference is pretty minor, but comes with a major effect: THC leaves you high, while CBD has beneficial effects minus the same sensation.
CBD products are made using CBD oil from industrial help plants. This is usually mixed with a carrier oil like hemp seed or coconut oil. These extracts can be used in many ways, as capsules, a topical cream or drops placed under the tongue. However you decide to take it, CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system to help regulate things like appetite, immune system responses and relaxation.
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Research on Muscles and CBD
Several factors contribute to post-workout muscle soreness, whether you used more weight than usual, performed intensity boosters or increased your workout volume. All these can cause small damage on your muscles, leaving you stiff and sore, which ca greatly affect your motivation to do another workout.
There are a few ways to control and limit delayed-onset muscle soreness before and after workout. This can range from doing low-intensity cardio to a more thorough warm-up. Supplements like fish oil and HMB have shown to help control soreness caused by exercise. Although research on this is still low, a few studies have shown promising results.
One particular research found that trained athletes who look CBD after a workout recovered more quickly and reported less muscle soreness. The researchers concluded that CBD has a significant influence on muscle soreness associated with exercise when consumed immediately after. Other studies concluded that CBD can improve athletes’ sleep quality.
CBD for Workout Recovery
Just like any supplement, the best way to start is to carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label. Consider consuming it with your protein shake immediately after a workout as this was the timing recommendation it CBD studies. You can then take it later in the day or the next day as needed.
If you are taking CBD in oil form, it is recommended that you use the included dropper to drop the oil under the tongue. Let the oil sit for 30 seconds to give it time to absorb through the mucous membrane under the tongue, which is teeming with capillaries that will give the CBD better access to the bloodstream.
Creams, balms and roll-on products are great for rubbing on following a workout, or later in the day. Use these products as you would any other lotion or cream and massage it in small circular motions to facilitate absorption. The skin is abundant with ECS receptors that will then interact with CBD.
CBD might be considered safe, but there are some considerations to make before you start using it. Although CBD has not been shown to be harmful, users may experience mild side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, digestive function changes, appetite fluctuations and others. It is also a good idea to purchase your CBD products from reputable stores that use third-party testing so you are assured of their purity, potency and safety.