We tried various CBD products to find out which were our favorites for potential alleviation of physical and mental discomforts. Research suggests CBD can help us recover faster between workouts & may prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) pain after exercise. These high-quality CBD balms, salves and muscle rubs are designed for aiding recovery from aches and soreness for runners, cyclists and other athletes.
The Best CBD Supplements for Muscle Recovery, Sleep, and More
Discover how these CBD supplements may be able to help with better sleep, recovery, and relaxation.
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Cannabidiol or CBD is federally legal for consumption and is the part of the cannabis plant that is popular for its various medical uses. This is not to get confused with THC, which is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that remains federally illegal, and is only sold medically or recreationally in some states in the United States. CBD doesn’t give you a high feeling as it contains either none or less than 0.3 percent THC.
CBD has been preclinically and anecdotally studied for those who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, chronic pain, epilepsy, and autoimmune disorders, to name a few. History also shows that cannabis has been used medicinally for hundreds of years (with people such as Queen Victoria) to alleviate menstrual cramps and childbirth pain (1). Some of the research that has been done has shown CBD to be helpful with exercise recovery (2). All of our picks on this list contain CBD, but are federally legal and do not contain THC. If you’re looking for CBD to potentially help with mental health, inflammation, and more, these are a few of our favorite products.
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.
Best CBD Products
- Best CBD Overall: FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Best CBD for Muscle Recovery: Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Best CBD Oil: FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Best CBD Cream: Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Best CBD Massage Oil: Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Best CBD Balm:+Plus CBD Balm
- Best CBD Gummies: FOCL CBD Gummies
- Best CBD for Sleep: FOCL Night
Best CBD Overall
To slot into our top spot, we picked a product that has high-quality ingredients and could cover all your CBD needs. This bundle offers two CBD supps to suit both your daytime and nighttime needs.
FOCL Day + Night Bundle
FOCL created a duo pack of daytime and nighttime pills to address your needs for both times of day without having to find two separate products. The day time pills are created with attention and focus at the forefront, while the nighttime pills are meant to help with better overall sleep.
The daytime supplement includes 10mg of hemp extract, and is rounded out with the addition of Lion’s Mane mushrooms (which may help to improve anxiety and cognition) ayurvedic ingredient bacopa monnieri, 50mg of rhodiola rosea (which may help fight fatigue), 150mg of l-theanine (which has been shown in a study to reduce stress and anxiety), and vitamin B6 (3)(4)(5).
The nighttime pills include 20mg of hemp extract, 50mg of 5-htp, 300mg of organic ashwagandha, as well as valerian root, passion flower, and hops cones. This blend of ingredients can work synergistically to potentially provide the user with better sleep, less stress and anxiety, and a more restful mind (6)(7)(8).
Both the daytime and nighttime supplements contain hemp extract and a handful of other ingredients to suit your daytime needs for focus and cognition, and your nighttime needs to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. This pack of day and night time pills comes in at $2.96 per day, which is a bit higher, but includes both a daytime and nighttime serving.
FOCL Day + Night Bundle includes two separate formulas — one bottle of pills for day time focus and concentration as well as one bottle of pills for relaxation and potentially better sleep. Both products contain CBD and cost $2.96 per day.
Who Should Buy FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Those who want separate supplements to promote potentially better focus during the day, and to possibly enhance sleep at night.
- People who want a stacked CBD supplement that contains a handful of ingredients will like that both the daytime and nighttime supplements offer well-rounded ingredient lists.
- Those who prefer to take their supplements in pill form.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Day + Night Bundle
- Anyone who doesn’t need both daytime and nighttime supplements can find either sold separately on the market.
- Those who are pill averse, as this product requires you to take four pills per day.
- Anyone on a stricter budget will be able to find cheaper CBD options available.
This CBD product aims at promoting better cognitive function for your daytime needs, and prioritizing potentially better rest of the mind and body with their nighttime supplement. With two supplements that cover all of your CBD needs throughout the day, this product is our top pick.
[Related: Could Ashwagandha be your next favorite supplement?]
Best CBD for Muscle Recovery
Sore muscles can be the worst part about working out, but they shouldn’t stop you from reaching your goals. This CBD cream may be the key to unlocking better recovery and less soreness.
Joy Organics CBD Cream
CBD has become a more prominent product in the fitness world for its potential recovery purposes. Whether it’s a salve, oil, pill, or cream, the abundance of CBD on the market is continuously expanding. There are various studies on CBD’s potential to help with recovery, but one study found the potential of CBD to be effective for muscle recovery 72 hours after squatting (9).
Joy’s CBD cream is packed with 250mg of CBD in the one ounce container of lotion. It also contains aloe vera leaf juice and peppermint oil extract to create a cooling effect on the skin to help promote pain relief in your muscles. A little of this product goes a long way, so it’s best to start with a small amount to cover any painful areas. This product comes with a pump top and sealed lid to ensure you can take your recovery cream on the go with no mess and no fuss. It rings in at $32.25 for a one ounce bottle, but you can subscribe and save for 30 percent off your purchase.
Joy Organics CBD Cream comes in a one ounce container that includes 250mg of CBD for potentially aid in recovery from sore muscles. This product is organic and contains peppermint oil extract to create a cooling effect on the skin.
Who Should Buy Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Folks looking for potentially better muscle recovery after a grueling workout will like this cream CBD they can spread on areas of concern.
- People who like to use CBD topically rather than ingesting it.
- Anyone who likes a recovery tool they can take anywhere — this is a one ounce lotion bottle with a cap to prevent messes on the go.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Joy Organics CBD Cream
- Anyone who prefers to take a CBD supplement via oral ingestion will want to look elsewhere as this is a cream.
- Those who are on a tight budget can find a lower price elsewhere on the market.
- If you want a bulk buy, you’ll have to look elsewhere as this only comes in a one ounce option.
Joy Organics CBD cream is a conveniently crafted and easily transportable product that may help you experience ideal recovery from tough workouts, and the wear and tear of everyday living.
Best CBD Oil
A good oil CBD supplement should be tasty and easy to use. This oil form of CBD is meant to be ingested to potentially aid in better sleep and to alleviate symptoms of mental distress such as anxiety, and all you need to do is squeeze the liquid from the dropper under your tongue.
FOCL Premium CBD Drops
CBD is often sold as a product that can help with mental distress such as anxiety, insomnia, and psychotic symptoms. A systematic review of the current literature shows that while studies are limited, CBD has potential to help with all of these mental ailments (10). While CBD is a widely used recovery tool, MCT oil has been used for improvements in cognitive focus and has the research to back it.
One study found MCT oil to improve cognitive function after two to three weeks of supplementation (11). Combine the two and you have a solid oil supplement that can help with stress, sleep, cognitive function, and recovery.FOCL’s CBD drops are 100 percent plant-based and contain 33mg of organic Hemp derived CBD per serving which is one full dropper. It also contains organic MCT oil, organic flavors, and organic stevia.
These drops come in five flavors to choose from which are Natural, Mint, Orange Cream, Cherry, and Strawberry Lemonade. To use, all you need to do is squeeze the liquid from the dropper under your tongue, and let it sit for 45 seconds before swallowing. They come in 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000mg buying options which makes them a more affordable option as you buy larger quantities. They also have a subscribe and save option, as well as bundle and save options for even better pricing.
FOCL Premium CBD Drops contain 33mg of CBD per serving and come in five delicious flavor choices. The formula is 100 percent plant based and comes in 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000mg buying options to make it more versatile and affordable.
Who Should Buy FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Anyone looking for a CBD product that has a straightforward formula as these drops only contain four ingredients.
- Folks who like the ease of taking their product via a dropper — this formula is easy to travel with and portion properly.
- Those who want a CBD product that comes in multiple flavors and buying options, as this formula has five various flavors and three different options for bulk buy.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Premium CBD Drops
- Anyone who prefers a pill or topical version of CBD will want to look at other options on our list.
- Those who have tree nut allergies should be aware that MCT oil is derived from coconuts.
FOCL premium CBD drops come in five various flavors, have a small but powerful ingredient list, and have a variety of buying options, which can make them cost as low as five cents per dose.
Best CBD Cream
This topical CBD cream may be the ticket to alleviating soreness and pain in your muscles. The formula is free of the top eight allergens and is designed with an all-natural mindset.
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
This hemp infused cream is allergen friendly, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, GMO free, and contains no synthetic fragrances or sulfates. This cream is about as natural as it gets, and is a great product for those who have sensitive skin, allergies, or who prefer all-natural products. This cream comes in two buying options — one ounce, and two and a half ounce tubes. The one ounce tube contains 300mg of CBD, and the two and a half ounce tube contains 750mg.
One study found topical CBD alleviated pain and other physical discomforts by a statistically significant amount (12). With the one ounce bottle coming in at around $19.99 and the two and a half ounce option costing around $39.99, this is one of the more affordable topical CBD options and includes high-quality, which makes it one of our favorites. They also offer a subscribe and save option, which saves you 20 percent off your purchase.
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream comes in two different sizes with the one ounce formula containing 300mg of CBD and the two and a half ounce bottle containing 750mg of CBD. This product is free from the top eight allergens and is an all-natural formula.
Who Should Buy Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Anyone looking for a topical CBD product that is gentle on the skin will love the all-natural formula of this product.
- Those who wish to use a topical form of CBD to potentially alleviate pain and soreness in the body.
- Those who want a reasonably priced CBD product will like the price tag here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Cream
- Anyone who prefers a form of CBD that contains fragrance, essential oils such as peppermint, or other ingredients to alleviate pain may want to look at a more stacked product.
- Folks who want to take a CBD pill or gummy — this is only a topical solution.
With an all-natural ingredient list, a super fair price tag, and a high dose of CBD per container, this cream may be what you’ve been looking for to potentially soothe sore muscles.
Best CBD Massage Oil
Massage is a beneficial practice for recovery care, but the addition of CBD may offer a reduction in muscle tension and soreness — this is one of our favorite CBD massage oils.
Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
Massage therapy alone can be an extremely beneficial practice for overall wellness with benefits such as increased blood flow, release of tension, decreased passive stiffness, and overall relaxation (13). When you add in the potential benefits that CBD has to offer on muscle tension reduction, the combo can be even more helpful for recovery, relaxation, and less muscle soreness (9).
Joy’s CBD massage oil contains 500mg of CBD per bottle (which they recommend you apply generously), and the only other ingredient is MCT oil, making this an all-natural and fully organic product and safe for all areas of the body. This massage oil is unscented and available as a four ounce bottle for around $49.95. You can also subscribe and save for 30 percent off of your order.
Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil contains two ingredients — MCT oil and CBD. It contains 500mg of CBD per container and is an all-natural and fully organic product.
Who Should Buy Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Those who want the multifaceted benefits of massage with the potential benefits of CBD to help reach maximum recovery potential.
- Folks who value a short ingredient list — this product has CBD and MCT oil, and is all organic.
- Anyone who likes topical CBD will be happy with this formula.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Joy Organics CBD Massage Oil
- Anyone who prefers scented topical lotions or oils as this only comes unscented.
- Those who prefer a cream or lotion over the way an oil feels on their skin.
If you want to combine the positive effects of massage therapy with the potential power that CBD may have on muscle tension reduction, Joy Organics CBD might be the product for you. Joy’s CBD massage oil is organic, contains two ingredients, and combines CBD with the positive benefits massage therapy provides to potentially optimize recovery from sore muscles.
[Related: The 3 Most Common Types Of Training Periodization (And When To Use Them)]
Best CBD Balm
Because balms are thicker than lotions and cream, this balm has the potential to heal your hard working hands after tough workouts, or moisturize and nourish your skin to feel soft and smooth.
+Plus CBD Balm
+Plus CBD Balm contains 100mg of full-spectrum CBD in each 1.3-ounce jar. Balms have a thicker viscosity than lotions and creams, and therefore may have the ability to help lock in moisture and keep your skin feeling hydrated for longer.
The CBD in this product may promote healthier skin and relief from certain skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis according to a preclinical study. (14) This balm includes other natural and botanical ingredients, such as sweet almond oil, willow bark extract, green tea leaf extract, and safflower seed oil to name a few. This extra strength balm costs about $34.99 for the 1.3 oz jar, but +Plus does give you the option to subscribe and save for 25 percent off your order.
This CBD balm is made from 100mg of full-spectrum CBD per jar, sweet almond oil, beeswax, and other botanicals to provide moisturizing and potentially pain-relieving benefits. The formula is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of dyes, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, and parabens.
Who Should Buy +Plus CBD Balm
- Anyone who wants a topical product that is thicker than a regular lotion and may help promote hydration and skin health will like this balm.
- Those who prefer a full-spectrum CBD versus a broad-spectrum CBD.
- Anyone who enjoys taking their CBD on the go will be happy with this small jar that is easy to carry anywhere, including on airplanes.
Who Shouldn’t Buy +Plus CBD Balm
- Those who want a scented CBD product will have to look elsewhere as this one is fragrance-free.
- Some may prefer a lotion or oil to a balm, the latter of which can have a thicker viscosity.
- If you’re not set on a balm, there are less expensive topicals on our list.
+Plus CBD Balm is an excellent topical option for those who are looking to obtain potentially softer and smoother skin, whether from everyday wear and tear or to help heal calluses after long gym sessions.
Best CBD Gummies
CBD is widely available in many forms, but we think gummies are a fun and delicious way to reap the potential benefits that CBD has to offer.
FOCL CBD Gummies
Pre clinical trials have shown that CBD may potentially benefit people who suffer from a host of different issues including anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic pain (15). For those who want to make the most out of the potential benefits of CBD but don’t want to take a pill or use an oil dropper, these delicious gummies may be your answer.
The FOCL CBD gummies come in three delicious flavor options — Sour Watermelon, Tropical Punch, and Mandarin Orange — to deliver you 25mg of CBD per each single gummy serving. These gummies are vegan, non-gmo, and are made with all organic ingredients. Each gummy contains two and a half grams of cane sugar, and includes natural color from fruit, organic coconut oil, and organic tapioca.
Each pack is around $49.00 for 30 servings, but FOCL also offers the option to subscribe and save 15 percent. In addition, you can buy in bulk and receive all three flavors for around $39.00 per package, coming out to about $117.00 for all three.
FOCL CBD Gummies come in three delicious flavors — Sour Watermelon, Mandarin Orange, and Tropical Punch — and contain 25mg of CBD per gummy. These gummies are fully vegan and organic and are non-gmo as well.
Who Should Buy FOCL CBD Gummies
- Folks who want the potential benefits of CBD in a delicious gummy form rather than in pills or an oil dropper.
- Customers who like the option to try different flavors and save money will be happy to see the bundle option here, which can save them around $10.00 per package.
- Those who like Sour Watermelon, Tropical Punch, and Mandarin Orange flavors will like the options available here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL CBD Gummies
- Anyone actively avoiding sugar may want to opt for an oil, pill, or topical form of CBD.
- Folks who don’t like the flavor choices will have to look elsewhere.
FOCL makes delicious gummies that pack 25mg of CBD per gummy and are made with organic ingredients to pack a delicious punch.
Best CBD for Sleep
One of the most popular uses for CBD is as a potential sleep aid. FOCL has designed a supplement that contains CBD and soothing botanicals that may benefit your sleep.
CBD is often marketed as a sleep aid, and one long-term study found a modest improvement in sleep quality with CBD supplementation (16). FOCL’s night CBD pills contains 20mg of hemp extract and 50mg of 5-HTP per two-capsule serving, the latter of which has been shown in studies to help combat insomnia (17).
This supp also includes the botanics organic valerian root, organic ashwagandha, organic hops cones, and organic passion flower, which have been shown to decrease anxiety, promote better sleep, and help treat insomnia (18)(19)(20)(21). For a one time purchase, you’ll pay around $49.00 for 30 servings. You can also subscribe and save 15 percent, or bundle and save, which ends up saving you $10.00 per bottle when you opt to buy three.
FOCL Night Sleep Supplement was designed with ashwagandha, CBD, and other botanics to aid you in your best night of rest. This product is vegan, cruelty-free, Non-GMO, and THC free — meaning you won’t get high from it.
Who Should Buy FOCL Night
- Those who want to potentially improve their sleep through CBD supplementation will like that these pills were designed with sleep in mind.
- Folks who like bulk buying options will appreciate that you can bundle and save here.
- Anyone who likes taking their CBD supplements in pill form.
Who Shouldn’t Buy FOCL Night
- Those who aren’t prioritizing sleep as their focus for utilizing CBD can find other CBD supplements with added ingredients focused more on muscle recovery.
- If you are on a budget and don’t want to bulk buy, you may find cheaper alternatives on the market.
FOCL night was designed with CBD, 5-HTP, and various sleep-forward botanics to potentially improve sleep, help with insomnia, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Types of CBD
Throughout this article, you’ll see the term CBD, but you’ll also see “hemp”, “broad-spectrum” and “full-spectrum,” and it is important to understand the different types of CBD that are available on the market to inform your best buying decision.
Hemp has a very interesting history in the United States. The laws and regulations surrounding hemp have gone back and forth throughout the country’s history, but currently hemp is legal to grow and use for a wide range of products including fibers for clothing and rope, food in the form of hemp seeds, and for health care products, such as lotions and supplements.
Hemp comes from the cannabis sativa plant, and contains less than 0.3 percent of THC and a hearty amount of CBD (22). Hemp used to be considered a Schedule I drug, but has since been revised to be federally legal and is seen as an important agricultural crop. Many products on this list are described as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum types of CBD.
Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that contains every part of the cannabis sativa plant in the formulation including THC. If there is THC in the product, it contains less than 0.3 percent, which is regulated by federal law (23). Broad spectrum CBD contains all of the parts that full-spectrum includes, except the THC is processed out from the final product (24).
How We Decide the Best CBD Supplements
We considered a broad range of CBD products for this list and wanted to make sure we came up with a product that would make sense for every individual’s needs. Read below to find out how we made our picks.
We wanted to make a list of products that catered to the wide range of reasons that people choose to take CBD. The main driver behind our choices was making sure we had topical and ingestible forms of CBD that may accommodate physical and mental ailments.
Image From Shutterstock/Ternavskaia Olga Alibec
We also made sure we offered a wide range of both topical choices (such as lotion, cream, oil, and salve), and ingestible choices (like gummies, pills, and oil drops). Each product will have a different main purpose whether it be pain relief, better sleep, or relaxation, and we tried to review a solid mix of products which might promote various outcomes to help as many customers as we could.
The price of CBD will vary greatly product to product, but we tried to put a spectrum of options on our list. Due to the wide variety of CBD products out there, the prices are a bit harder to compare than they would be if they were all pills or all lotions. CBD is generally a more expensive product, but we tried to pick some options that were more affordable, or offered money saving options through subscribe and save, bundle deals, and bulk buys.
Because these products vary so much, their ingredient lists will also vary exponentially. We picked a versatile range of CBD products that span across topicals and ingestibles, and they all have different formulas. Some of them are very straightforward and contain two ingredients, such as the massage oil option, which only contains MCT oil and CBD.
Most of our picks have a larger ingredient list — like the sleep pick, which contains a wide variety of ingredients that can potentially help you sleep. We focused on making picks that would meet a wide range of needs for people who are looking to alleviate various mental and physical ailments.
Each CBD product will have its own CBD dosage. Some of these products are sold by the bottle or container, and their dosage will be listed per container — this rings true for the lotion, salve, cream, and oil. The pills and gummies will have a “per serving” dosage. You’ll find this with the gummies, pills, and other ingestibles.
Although the effective clinical dosage of CBD has yet to be determined, a systematic review of dosing CBD in clinical populations found that between one and 50mg found significant improvements for those suffering from primary outcomes, such as anxiety and seizures (25).
We made sure each CBD product on our list had a varying amount of CBD within this clinical dosage in order to ensure there was something that would fit almost any dosing need.
What to Consider Before Buying CBD Supplements
Because CBD is such a versatile product, it is important to think about what you’re using CBD for and all of the factors that come with it before purchasing CBD. We cover a few of the main factors here.
While there is some research available on the potential benefits of CBD, there is still more to be done. We are lacking in long term studies that show the effectiveness of, and possible long-term side effects of, CBD supplementation (26)
Most of the studies that have been conducted on CBD have been preclinical, or some companies market with anecdotal evidence. It is safe to say that there is enough of a buzz around CBD that it has made a splash in the supplement industry, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t a cure all for anxiety, muscle aches, and sleep — and that everyone may react differently to CBD supplementation. It’s always important to speak to a physician before starting a new supplement, like CBD.
Depending on what you’re utilizing CBD for, you will want to consider various dosage options. If you’re using it for sore muscles, pain management, or other topical applications, the dosage will be a little different. There isn’t a direct amount of what is recommended other than covering the affected area to potentially alleviate the problem, or to get some relief.
Image from Shutterstock/HQuality
Dosage is a bit more straightforward with pills, gummies, or oral use. While there is yet to be a clinically recommended dose for CBD supplementation, a systematic review stated that between one and 50mg of CBD has been found to have a positive effect for various ailments such as seizures, insomnia, and anxiety (27). There will be a dosage amount on the bottle, and as you start to get more comfortable with the supplementation, you can adjust the dosage accordingly to the package’s directions and your needs. It is always safe to start with a lower dosage to see how your body responds and then to adjust from that starting point.
Type of CBD
There are many vehicles you can use to make CBD a part of your life — these include pills, oils, gummies, lotions, salves, massage oils, and creams. It can be confusing to know which is best suited for your needs. But these really break down into two categories — ingestibles and topicals. The ingestible options would be pills, oil droppers, and gummies, while the topical options would include any of the creams, lotions, body oils, or salves.
Depending on your needs, one may be better suited for you than the other. Topical choices are better suited to those who want to utilize CBD for muscle soreness and stiffness, muscle recovery, and physical discomfort from inflammation or injury. On the other hand, many of the mental discomforts may be better alleviated through ingested supplementation for issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Although CBD has a long way to go when it comes to the research that is necessary to back all of the marketing claims out there, the anecdotal and preclinical research points to a lot of positive possibilities.
When deciding what is best for you, it’s important to keep the broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options in mind. Full-spectrum CBD contains greater than 0.3 percent of THC in its final formula, which may be something that certain users want to actively avoid. The broad-spectrum formula contains no traces of THC. Both formulas are legally sold in the United States, and the THC is extremely minimal in the full-spectrum blends. However, if you’re hypersensitive, or get regularly drug tested for any reason, it may be best to stick with a broad-spectrum formula.
As all of these products vary so widely, the ingredient lists will be a reflection of that. It’s always good to check in with your own needs before purchasing a supplement or product. We suggest asking yourself what you need it for, if you prefer a topical or ingestible form of CBD, any allergies you may have, ingredients you try to avoid, and what type of CBD you’re wanting to try.
For example, our sleep pick is designed with a restful night of sleep in mind, and although CBD might be helpful for aiding in sleep and relaxation, these types of products also include more widely studied sleep aid ingredients — such as ashwagandha, which may help you destress, and and passion flowre which might help you fall asleep faster (28)(29).
The products on this list fall on a wide spectrum of pricing, and thinking about your budget will be an important factor when picking which product may be best for you. Some of these products have subscribe and save, as well as bundle and save deals, which can be easier on your pockets.
The topical picks on this list range in price from around $20 to $50 in pricing per container. The price will vary based on additional ingredients, quality of ingredients, and the amount of CBD present in each formula. The ingestibles range from around $49.00 to $89.00, and similarly, will fluctuate with added ingredients, servings per container, and the amount of CBD present in each product.
Though there is quite a bit of research available on short term CBD usage, there is still a lot of research that needs to take place in order to solidify its potential uses for treating or helping out with certain health concerns — especially in the long term. The preclinical and anecdotal evidence point to a lot of potential for a plethora of mental and physical issues, but we always stand by scientific-backed claims (30).
CBD has been found to be beneficial for several ailments that include physical symptoms like pain, inflammation, and seizures, as well as mental health symptoms, like anxiety and depression — and it’s important to remember that what works for some may not work for everyone (27).
We provide factual claims about each product, and we trust you to use your best judgment when it comes to adding CBD into your routine. Always speak to a physician first, and after that, allow this list to be your guide to a product that could work for your individual budget and lifestyle.
Is CBD legal to take or use?
CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, and the CBD portion of it isn’t blocked federally. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it doesn’t cause the high that THC does. Every single pick on this list is either THC free, or if it is full-spectrum hemp, it includes less than 0.3 percent THC, which is the legal cut off by federal regulation. All of these products are legal to consume or use in the United States.
Can CBD help with my physical and mental health?
CBD is not a miracle drug and has yet to be studied and researched for all of its potential uses. Although anecdotally, many people see positive results from CBD use, there is only anecdotal evidence. Preclinical studies have shown potentially positive results from CBD use, but they are preclinical trials, and longer term studies are needed to ensure the long-term effects of CBD. CBD may help you, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Is CBD safe to take?
Overall, CBD has been shown to be a safe substance to use, and is considered to be tolerable for most users ( 25 ). It is always best to check with your health care provider before adding new supplements or products into your regimen — especially if you have concern or are sensitive to new ingredients. It is also important to make sure you read the ingredient labels and allergy warnings completely before purchasing a new product.
CBD for Muscle Soreness Recovery: Benefits of Hemp Oil After a Work Out
Can CBD be used to support the recovery process between workouts?
What about to speed healing after an injury?
Here’s what the research says about it.
Why are high-level athletes in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and UFC using cannabidiol (CBD) supplements?
Athletes use CBD to help them recover faster between workouts and after an event. Faster recovery means they’re back into the gym sooner to continue training.
In this article, we explore what makes CBD popular for post-workout recovery, as well as recuperation after an injury. We’ll cover what the research says about the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and muscle relaxant effects of the compound in more detail.
Here’s everything you need to know about using CBD to support muscle recovery.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
Updated on March 04, 2022
Table of Contents
- How Can CBD Help With Muscle Recovery After A Workout?
- What Makes Your Muscles Sore After a Workout?
$49 – $229
Royal CBD Oil 30 mL
5 / 5
|Total CBD:||500 – 2500 mg|
|Potency:||16.6 – 83.3 mg/mL|
|Cost per mg CBD:||$0.12 – $0.18|
How Can CBD Help With Muscle Recovery After A Workout?
- CBD relaxes the muscles
- CBD prevents delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- CBD alleviates inflammation
- CBD improves sleep quality & recovery
- CBD may enhance satellite cell differentiation in the muscles
- CBD may support protein synthesis in the muscles
1. Alleviates Muscle Tension
One of the characteristic symptoms of DOMS is muscle tension.
When it comes to injuries, tension in the muscles surrounding the affected area can make the pain much worse — which is why muscle relaxants are so popular for alleviating pain during recovery from exercise or injuries.
Some forms of prescription muscle relaxants used for treatment-resistant muscle tension are benzodiazepine drugs like Valium. These medications work through the GABA receptors — which are a key regulator of muscle relaxation [5,18].
Benzodiazepines are powerful drugs and come with a significant risk of side-effects like sedation, depression, confusion, dizziness, and trembling — all of which are not conducive to optimal athletic function.
CBD and other cannabinoids have similar effects on GABA as benzodiazepines — only without the risk of severe side-effects [6,7].
Some research even suggests the use of cannabis as a supportive agent for benzodiazepine addiction due to the overlap of effects between the two . This is dangerous and requires monitoring by a doctor, of course. You should never attempt this on your own.
Therefore, CBD may be a useful muscle relaxant for easing muscle tension and pain following an injury or rigorous workout.
2. Alleviates Muscle Pain
CBD is suggested to be a powerful pain-killer — as evidenced by both anecdotal and scientific research. This effect may allow CBD to offer symptomatic support for muscle injuries or post-exercise recovery. With less pain, you’ll find it easier to get yourself back into action faster, and feel more comfortable between exercise.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Perhaps the most important role CBD plays in the process of muscle recovery is in reducing inflammation. The most common method of reducing inflammation after an injury or post-workout is to apply ice to the area.
There’s some debate around whether or not putting icing is helpful for muscle recovery or not, and research is inconclusive — some studies suggest icing the muscles improves recovery times , while other studies have found that icing offers no benefit for shortening recovery time .
The controversy revolves around what role inflammation plays during the recovery process.
The inflammation process is designed to help damaged muscle fibers recover — it brings in blood flow to the area and delivers essential nutrients and oxygen along with it.
Additionally, the increased blood flow helps to clear out cellular debris, damaged proteins, and byproducts of muscle contraction like lactic acid from the area.
Inflammation also stimulates stem cells (called satellite cells) in the muscle to turn into new muscle fibers.
Inflammatory markers like IL-10, TGF-β, TNF-α, and NF-κB are all thought to stimulate the satellite cells of the muscles after an injury  — leading to faster recovery and a return of strength to the muscles.
On the other hand, post-workout muscle damage, or injuries to the muscles often involve specific regions of muscle — yet the inflammatory process affects larger groups of muscles and joints that haven’t been affected. The inflammatory response can cause collateral damage to these regions of muscle and joints — leading to a slower recovery process.
This is the main reason athletes use anti-inflammatories or ice after a workout or injury. Reducing inflammation limits the damage caused to nearby muscle and joint tissue.
Athletes often use ice immediately following a workout, and NSAID medications like Aspirin or Ibuprofen to limit inflammation for the remainder of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS symptoms for the next few days.
CBD offers something even better — and may be able to reduce most of the unhelpful inflammation without compromising its benefits towards the recovery process.
CBD has been shown to inhibit a wide range of inflammatory molecules but has little effect on reducing TGF-β and IL-10. In some studies, CBD even caused an increase in IL-10 .
This could explain how CBD may alleviate inflammation in the muscle tissue without compromising recovery times. The important role of IL-10 in the activation of new muscle cell differentiation could have a big impact on our ability to recover from muscle damage.
4. Improves The Quality & Duration of Sleep
A few of the most important aspects of muscle recovery happen while we sleep. This is when most of our recovery processes become active .
Some of the important processes that take place while we sleep include:
- Restoring damaged proteins like troponin, actin, and myosin
- Removing cellular debris from damaged areas
- Converting lactic acid to glucose in the liver
- Stimulating the differentiation of stem cells into new muscle fibers
Sleep deprivation can pose negative effects on recovery in a few key areas :
- May lead to a reduction in insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) — which we already pointed out as being one of the main triggers for differentiation of the muscle stem cells (satellite cells).
- May increase cortisol levels — which has a negative impact on protein synthesis.
- May cause a reduction in testosterone — which is heavily involved in the process of muscle recovery for both men and women.
A combination of CBD and THC in a pharmaceutical preparation of 1 part CBD to 1 part THC known as Sativex® has been tested repeatedly on its effect on sleep. Research has consistently shown Sativex® offers improvements on the quality of sleep, as well as the duration .
Other studies have found similar results using only CBD on rats . Researchers in this study found that CBD was able to increase the total sleep time, as well as improve the ability of rats to fall asleep.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active ingredients in the cannabis plant. It’s a close relative to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is what makes marijuana psychoactive.
CBD and THC are both cannabinoids — organic compounds found alongside over a hundred other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Don’t worry, CBD is completely non-psychoactive — meaning it won’t make you high.
Most companies selling CBD will source it from a specific form of selectively-bred cannabis called hemp — which is the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa) but won’t produce more than trace amounts (>0.3%) of the psychoactive ingredient, THC.
CBD supplements made from hemp are completely non-psychoactive due to the lack of THC. As a result, government regulators around the world don’t consider CBD a drug in the same way as marijuana. Most countries regulate CBD as a nutritional supplement instead — however, laws governing cannabis products change frequently, so be sure to check your local laws before placing an order.
CBD has a lot of suggested benefits — many of which have been backed up by scientific and anecdotal evidence. Supplements and pharmaceutical preparations containing CBD are being used by cancer patients to reduce side-effects of chemotherapy (such as nausea), by children with rare forms of epilepsy (such as Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome), and by millions of people around the world for symptoms like anxiety, pain, inflammation, and insomnia.
How can CBD have so many suggested benefits?
CBD achieves all of this because of its ability to interact with a regulatory system — rather than one specific organ. This allows CBD to affect many different organs around the body directly and indirectly — including the muscular system.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works through a subsystem in the body found in all mammals called the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) involves a collection of special G-protein-coupled receptors (called endocannabinoid receptors), and hormones designed to interact with these receptors (called endocannabinoids).
The ECS is used to help regulate homeostasis throughout the body — which basically means internal balance.
Everything from temperature regulation to hormone levels needs to remain within a specific range. Homeostasis is the process of keeping these metrics within the ideal ranges. If we fall too far outside these ranges, we become sick and die.
CBD is a modulator of the endocannabinoid receptors. It attaches to them in a unique way and modifies their structure slightly to allow our naturally-produced endocannabinoids to bind to them more effectively. It also inhibits an enzyme designed to break down our endocannabinoids (called FAAH). This essentially primes the ECS — giving it a boost to do its job more effectively.
CBD doesn’t stimulate the endocannabinoid system directly, rather it helps upregulate the system we already have in place.
Conversely, the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, activates the endocannabinoid receptors directly (rather than modifying them). Some of the receptors THC activates result in a release of serotonin in the brain — which produces the characteristic high from marijuana plants.
CBD also activates other receptors in the body, including:
- 5HT1A receptors (serotonin receptors) 
- Vanilloid pain receptors 
- PPARγ nuclear receptors 
Muscle Recovery 101: What Happens After Excercise?
There are three kinds of muscle in the human body — but the most relevant for the purpose of this discussion is the skeletal muscle.
The other two are smooth muscle (found in the internal organs and lining of the arteries), and cardiac muscle (a specific type of muscle only found in the heart).
The cells that make up skeletal muscle are uniquely suited to their job. They have more mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) than most other cells in the body. This is meant to help them meet the high energy demands of the muscles.
Muscle cells are also long and cylindrical, helping them form long fibers.
Each muscle cell contains functional units called sarcomeres — which are the part of the muscle that contracts and expands to allow for movement. Proteins called actin and myosin contained in the cells are responsible for expanding and contracting the muscle tissue to achieve movement using calcium and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
When a nerve stimulates muscle cells with acetylcholine, (i.e. when you tell your arm to move) calcium is pumped into the cell, which allows actin and myosin to interact, causing the cell to contract (shorten). This step requires a lot of energy — in the form of ATP, produced in the mitochondria of the cell.
When the nerve stops activating the muscle cells, calcium is pumped back out of the muscle cell and phosphate (a form of transferable energy) dislodged, causing the muscle to expand again (lengthen).
What Makes Your Muscles Sore After a Workout?
By now, you’re probably familiar with the aches and pains that come along with exercising. These sensations are present no matter how often you work out — so what causes them?
Every time you exert your muscles, you cause microscopic damage to millions of tiny proteins that make up your muscle cells. This damage leads to inflammation of the muscle — which causes the characteristic aches, pains, and stiffness experienced after a workout.
The pain after a workout usually begins the following day.
This is referred to in the medical community as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
DOMS is a healthy part of the adaptation process. It only happens when we push our muscles harder than they have before, or in a different way than we’re used to. Over time, repeating these activities will produce less DOMS as the muscles recover and become stronger and more resistant to the same level of exertion.
How is DOMS Usually Treated?
DOMS will go away on its own — usually after about 3–5 days. Many athletes can’t wait this long to get back into the gym or on the pitch, so they’ll take measures to reduce the downtime.
Here are some of the most common treatments for DOMS:
- Rest — This is the simplest treatment, but takes the longest amount of time.
- Massage therapy — Physically massaging the muscles helps to stimulate the area, remove lactic acid buildup that may be causing more inflammation to the area, and force fresh blood into the affected area.
- Painkillers — Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen and Aspirin are often used to reduce inflammation and stop the pain. Unfortunately, these medications also come with negative side-effects.
- Ice packs — Cooling the area slows blood flow and reduces inflammation. This only works if applied directly after an injury or following a workout.
Can Athletes Use CBD? Is CBD Legal in Competitive Sports?
You may be skimming through this article and wondering — “is CBD legal in sports? Won’t cannabis make athletes fail a drug test if they use it?”
While cannabis is technically illegal, CBD is a clear exception.
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its banned substances list. This essentially means the organization recognizes that CBD is not comparable to performance-enhancing drugs like amphetamines, hormones, or illegal drugs. This is how professional athletes like Nate Diaz from the UFC are able to use CBD without being banned from events.
With that said, make sure to check your local laws and regulations. Just because WADA allows CBD doesn’t mean your individual country or regulatory agency allows it too.
Drug tests used in professional sports can’t identify chemicals in the blood or urine unless you specifically go looking for them. They don’t provide a full list of compounds contained in the fluid.
Most drug tests for marijuana use synthetic antibodies to look for THC — or the metabolites our body creates after breaking down THC. Therefore, you’ll only fail a drug test for these substances if you’ve used a supplement that included THC. For this reason, if you’re competing in professional sporting events and are interested in using CBD, you should opt for a product made from third-party tested CBD isolate, rather than full-spectrum hemp — which may contain trace amounts of THC.
Here are some of the most common ways people are adding CBD to their supplement regimen:
- Add CBD oils to your protein or nutritional shakes
- Take CBD capsules or gummies
- Use CBD oils sublingually after a workout and on recovery days
- Use a vaporizer pen
- Apply CBD topicals directly over the affected muscles
How To Get The Most From CBD For Muscle Recovery
The recovery process is complex, and shortening the amount of time needed between recoveries relies on many different factors. Taking several different measures at the same time will go a long way in shortening the recovery time beyond what CBD has to offer on its own.
Some simple advice for getting more out of CBD for muscle recovery:
1. Drink Plenty of Water
The recovery process releases a lot of metabolic waste into the bloodstream that needs to be filtered out by the kidneys. Aim for at least 3 L of water per day.
2. Spend Time Stretching After A Workout
This helps to remove harmful lactic acid after a workout and improve blood flow to the affected muscles.
3. Visit A Physiotherapist
It’s ideal to seek professional help to monitor your recovery and provide specific advice.
4. Listen To Your Body
Sometimes the pain experienced after a workout is more than DOMS. If you feel a sharp or excruciating pain, or the pain is accompanied by a fever, visit a doctor immediately.
5. Combine Internal & Topical CBD
This is going to provide the best chance for CBD to exert its effects on the muscles.
6. Prioritize Sleep
As mentioned, sleep is a critical component of the recovery process. Take the time to rest so you can get back into the gym faster.
7. Seek High-Grade CBD Products Only
There’s a lot of poor-quality CBD products floating around, many of which lack the potency advertised on the bottle, and may even have contaminants like heavy metals which could negatively affect your recovery.
8. Combine Other Health Supplements With CBD
Some of the best supplements for promoting recovery are branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
9. Eat A Balanced Diet With Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables
In order to recover the body needs access to the raw materials. These raw materials come from our food. We need proteins (and their amino acid components) to build the structures of muscle tissue, along with trace nutrients and vitamins.
Key Takeaways: CBD & Muscle Recovery
CBD is a popular supplement for a lot of reasons. The active ingredient (CBD) interacts with the endocannabinoid system to regulate homeostasis throughout the body — including the muscles.
After a tough workout, the tiny microfilaments in the muscle fibers become damaged — leading to inflammation, pain, and a loss of strength in the muscle. Over the next 3-5 days, the body needs to repair this damage and strengthen the fibers. During this time, it can be difficult to keep exercising that muscle group, which can ultimately slow down your gains.
Injuries are even worse, sometimes keeping you out of the gym for months on end.
CBD offers several unique benefits to aid the recovery process:
- It reduces inflammation to prevent unnecessary damage to surrounding muscles
- It improves our quality of sleep to support the regeneration process
- It relaxes the muscles to stop spasms and tension
- It blocks the transmission of pain
These effects help explain why so many athletes report improvement in recovery times after using CBD.
In order to get the most out of CBD, we recommend you take a multifaceted approach, incorporating other measures into the recovery as well — such as massage, healthy dietary habits, taking other supplements, drinking water, and ensuring you get plenty of rest.
The field of CBD and muscle recovery is still young, and there are dozens of interesting research studies on this subject either in progress or planned for the near future. Be sure to stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter below to receive news and updates on cutting-edge research as it’s published.
The Best CBD Balms, Salves & Lotions For Recovery From Muscle Soreness
If you suffer from muscle aches and pains while training, or post-race effort, a good CBD Balm could be exactly what you need.
All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
CBD products are a really great addition to any athlete’s recovery routine – and in particular, using CBD balms, muscle rubs, lotions, and salves is a popular and growing trend among runners, cyclists, and other athletes who are looking to support training recovery, or are dealing with pain, inflammation, and fatigue.
This post shares the best CBD balms, lotions, and salves we’ve come across for athletes that are designed to support fast recovery and temporary relief. We hope our CBD balm reviews help you choose the best one to try, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
Keep reading to see the list, or click here to jump down to first learn more about using supplements such as CBD balms and lotions.
Best CBD Topicals for Athletes – Table of Contents
All the CBD topicals on this list are made with either broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD extract, from companies that lab-test their products for purity, third-party verification, and potency.
Read our guide more about the difference between full and broad-spectrum CBD products and why competitive athletes should always ensure their chosen CBD brand lab-tests each batch of their products, they know all the ingredients and can access lab test results.
1. Level Select CBD Cream | Best CBD Cream For Athletes
- CBD Topical type: Cream
- Broad or Full-Spectrum: Broad-Spectrum, THC-Free
- Lab-Tested: Yes
- CBD Contents per 1oz: 600mg (Level 3)
With a relatively high concentration of CBD per 1oz for their most potent Level 3 formula, Level Select’s CBD cream (and roll-on option) are designed with athletes from all backgrounds to help with workout and injury recovery.
With a cooling mint formula that is non-greasy to apply and soaks in quickly, they’re easy to use without worrying about staining clothes or waiting around before getting dressed post-workout.
Level Select’s CBD recovery topicals are also available in lower concentrations of 1200mg and 900mg per 3oz tub, if you’re not looking for the most potent option available.
This cream (as well as the roll-on) is sold at a price point that represents excellent value for money for non-GMO, US-grown, third party lab-tested CBD products, at only $50 for a 3oz tub containing 1800mg of CBD – or as low as $30-$35 per tub when bought on a monthly subscription.
To learn more about this cream and Level Select CBD’s other products, read our In-Depth Level Select CBD review.
2. Venga CBD Recovery Balm | CBD Balm For Athletes
- CBD Topical type: Balm
- Broad or Full-Spectrum: Broad-Spectrum, THC-Free
- Lab-Tested: Yes
- CBD Contents per 1oz: 500mg
Venga is a CBD company specializing in recovery products for athletes and is founded by runners and athletes who know all about pushing your limits when it comes to endurance sports.
I first noticed the power of this CBD balm when I ran a 30k mountain race in the Swiss Alps with the UTMB OCC ultra marathon 5 days later. I rubbed it on my leg muscles after Matterhorn Ultraks and felt repaired and ready to run UTMB OCC 5 days later.
That impressed me but what really blew me away was just how good my legs felt the day after my mountain ultra-marathon race – which involved a total moving time of 10.5 hours in the mountains.
I can only attribute it to this CBD balm I smothered over my legs after the race. This is why it currently holds the crown as our chosen best CBD balm for athletes. That – and it being THC-free is important for competitive athletes.
To learn more about Venga CBD’s other great products, read our in-depth Venga CBD review.
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3. CBDPUre Muscle & Joint Formula | Best CBD Lotion Creme
- CBD Topical type: Lotion
- Broad or Full-Spectrum: Full-Spectrum
- Lab-Tested: Yes
- CBD Contents per 1oz: 83mg (250mg CBD in one 3oz tube)
CBDPure’s Muscle & Joint Formula 250 CBD Cream is a topical CBD cream formulated for rapid absorption. Unlike other CBD creams on this list, the CBDPure lotion is made using full-spectrum, rather than broad-spectrum CBD.
This CBD cream has been developed for those of us with active lifestyles, and it combines the benefits of CBD with botanicals like menthol and white willow bark (aka nature’s aspirin). The menthol actually gives a pleasant tingling sensation when applied to the skin which I enjoy.
This CBD cream smells pleasant, and because it’s non-greasy, it absorbs into the skin cleanly and quickly. You only need to apply a pea-sized amount of this CBD lotion directly to the affected area too which means the product lasts a good amount of time as the tube has 3oz. of cream in it.
Coming in at $40 for one tube this is also a reasonably priced full-spectrum CBD topical for athletes. The relatively low entry price makes this a smart choice for those on a budget when it comes to trying a CBD topical for the first time (although note that this includes 250mg of full-spectrum CBD in a 3oz bottle compared to other, more potent options on this list.
4. Beam CBD ‘The Fixer’ | CBD Balm With Essential Oils Aroma
- CBD Topical type: Salve
- Broad or Full-Spectrum: Broad-Spectrum, THC-Free
- Lab-Tested: Yes
- CBD Contents per 1oz: 500mg
Beam Organics is another CBD company founded by former professional athletes. As former Ironman triathletes and marathon runners, they know a thing or two about pain and the need for effective recovery products.
Beam’s CBD product range is grouped into four categories, ‘balance’, ‘performance’, ‘recovery’ and ‘sleep’. Within each of these categories, they offer a blend of products, from a CBD powder that you make into a hot drink to aid sleep, to CBD oil and this CBD balm for relief from soreness (which is part of the ‘recovery’ range).
I like the soft texture of Beam’s CBD salve, and the aromatherapy benefits, as it is infused with organic Lavender and Eucalyptus oils, two of my favorites.
Other CBD balms on this list also feature these essential oils, however, something about this blend makes it stand out when it comes to the overall aroma. Like the other CBD topicals on this list, it is designed to not only help with soreness relief but also inflammation.
If you’re going to use CBD topicals regularly, it can be more cost-effective to buy them on a monthly subscription, and when you do this with Beam’s ‘the fixer’ balm, the price drops from $75 to $60 a month. Get 15% off your order with code ‘TRYBEAM‘.
5. Miraflora Recovery Balm | Smooth CBD Topical Recovery Balm
- CBD Topical type: Balm
- Broad or Full-Spectrum: Full-Spectrum
- Lab-Tested: Yes
- CBD Contents per 1oz: 500mg
Miraflora’s CBD recovery balm is another full-spectrum CBD topical for pain relief, inflammation and recovery, specifically designed with athletes and people with an active lifestyle in mind.
This CBD recovery balm has a really smooth texture and it is not greasy like some CBD balms can be. The ingredients that help provide this texture include shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil.
The smell of this CBD pain relief topical is nice, and not too potent either – part-aromatherapy, part-medicinal, on account of it also including lavender, eucalyptus, and menthol essential oils (similar to the other CBD balms listed above). Read our full Miraflora CBD review HERE.
Guide to CBD Balms For Athletes
Why CBD Balms are popular for athletes look for support with pain relief and soreness
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a plant-based, all-natural, anti-inflammatory supplement that is widely recognized as being well-suited for endurance athletes’ therapeutic needs.
CBD does this by working in synergy with existing systems within the body to help alleviate, inflammation, soreness, loss of mobility, stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Many people looking for creams topicals for pain relief consider CBD as a supplement that can help with soreness and recovery. These products are not marketed as pain relief products, rather they’re described as being topicals for use in alleviating soreness and aiding recovery.
Benefits of CBD balms and salves
There are many benefits of using a CBD balm or muscle rub. In our experience it can help alleviate the following issues which are also common amongst other runners and athletes:
- stiffness and immobility that comes after endurance runs, whcih is common in areas such as backs, necks and hips.
- joint swelling in your knees, wrists, ankles, and hands due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
- shin splints, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, and tendonitis.
Using a CBD topical for such soreness offers a more targeted and localized manner than using just CBD oils and soft gels – and you use it much in the way you would use other plant-based muscle rubs such as Arnica.
Using CBD muscle rubs after exercise
As an example of when an athlete may benefit from using a CBD muscle rub like this, I will massage a CBD topical balm or salve into my legs if they’ve taken a heavy beating during a strenuous run to help reduce inflammation and recover faster.
Becoming a stronger runner starts with a good recovery routine and using CBD topicals helps me recover quickly.
Whether you’re an ultrarunner, sprinter, cyclist, weight-lifter, CrossFit athlete, or simply an active person… if you have strained a muscle, are trying to recover from injury, or seeking a CBD topical for relief from workout soreness, then it’s definitely worth trying one of these products and seeing if it works for you, too.
Given the benefits outlined above, it’s also easy to see how these CBD salves, balms, and lotions can also be beneficial to people with other forms of soreness, aching and inflammation, such as those dealing with arthritis and recovery from non-athletic injuries.
The difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD topicals
It’s important to understand the difference between broad and full spectrum CBD topicals, especially if you are a competitive athlete required to pass drug tests.
CBD is legal in the US, however, to be legal in the US CBD topicals and other products must have less than 0.3% THC.
The reason for this is that THC, the compound found in large quantities in marijuana, occurs in very small quantities in full-spectrum CBD.
Full Spectrum CBD typically includes more hemp plant extracts than Broad Spectrum CBD, and this may include up to 0.3% THC that naturally occurs in the hemp plants used to make the CBD topical.
Broad-spectrum CBD also contains several such plant compounds, but it is typically entirely free of THC as it is not harvested from the whole plant, only certain parts.
Therefore if you are looking to avoid THC in any CBD that you ingest (such as oils, gummies, and other edibles), broad-spectrum CBD is something to look out for.
If you’re interested in the value of CBD products for anxious or active pets read our post on the benefits of CBD for dogs next!
Even though our understanding is that CBD topicals won’t affect drug tests in the same way anyway (as you don’t ingest them and they don’t enter your bloodstream) many companies offering broad-spectrum CBD will ensure their lab testing process certifies that their CBD topicals as well as any, oils and other products, are THC-free.
It’s important to consider that if you are subject to drug testing you may want to avoid using any CBD products or at least be thoroughly knowledgeable about the contents of the products and the rules of your testing organization.
Do this to ensure any products you are using do not result in a positive test for THC (for example, if the THC content of your chosen CBD salve is higher than permitted).
WADA has some guidance on their website which should be a good starting point, and it’s worth consulting with a professional for further advice on the subject.