No matter what your sport or workout is, muscle soreness, aches, and inflammation are typical results of hard work. While there are several over-the-counter aids an athlete can take, many bring side effects that need to be managed. Enter the latest in all-natural, high-potency CBD supplements designed for the needs of CBD offers a variety of potential health benefits, from restoring calm and improving sleep to alleviating a range of symptoms associated with chronic conditions, such as pain relief and inflammation reduction. Does CBD actually work for muscle pain? We explore what the research says and whether topics or oral supplements are better.
CBD For Muscle Pain and Inflammation – What You Need To Know
No matter what your sport or workout is, muscle soreness, aches, and inflammation are typical results of hard work. While there are several over-the-counter aids an athlete can take, many bring side effects that need to be managed. Enter the latest in all-natural, high-potency CBD supplements designed for the needs of today’s athletes and competitors.
For people with muscle pain and related health conditions, cannabidiol (CBD) has increasingly become popular as a natural medication to gain relief from pain. CBD is one of the chemical constituents of cannabis and it’s often touted as a viable alternative to the regular OTC and prescription painkillers used in the treatment of some health conditions.
This article discusses the use of CBD for muscle pain and inflammation. Attempts shall also be made to highlight some of the scientific research behind this practice.
CBD is the main natural ingredient in the hemp plant, an all-natural solution that is increasingly recognized for its effective use in active recovery of the body following physical stress. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties – meaning it doesn’t give you the sensation of being high. According to the latest scientific research, CBD has been demonstrated to have important health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The unique properties of CBD make it an effective tool for athletes, providing significant advantages for muscle recovery and relaxation. Scientifically speaking, by interacting with receptors in the body and brain, CBD can help regulate processes such as pain, inflammation, appetite, mood and circadian rhythms, offering important therapeutic benefits for athletes of all types.
Effects of CBD on Our Bodies
The non-psychoactive and non-addictive properties of CBD make it suitable for therapeutic use. Apart from its use for treating epilepsy, CBD is also used for treating anxiety, depression, stress, and other medical conditions. And there are numerous scientific studies to support these claims.
For example, one study connected CBD use with a reduction in the severity of certain health conditions, such as hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes.
Also, some research has linked CBD with a reduction in appetite as well as minimizing of PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, negative memories, and nightmares. But for us to better understand the effects of CBD on our bodies, we first need to understand its influence on the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System: What is it?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is simply an internal system made of endocannabinoids, which is suspected to play important roles in major biological processes, like appetite formation, mood, and sleep. It was first discovered in 1992, but we still don’t fully understand how it functions.
The ECS system consists of 3 components, namely:
- Enzymes: these are organic catalysts which take part in metabolic processes.
- Receptors: receptors are found throughout the human body acting as binding agents to endocannabinoids.
- Endocannabinoids: these organic compounds help to keep the body in optimal conditions.
Understanding how the use of CBD for muscle pain and inflammation is possible involves investigation of the link between the endocannabinoids and receptors.
To start with, there are two kinds of receptors called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain’s central nervous system (CNS). They tend to control body functions like appetite, coordination, memory, mood, and movement.
In contrast, CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which controls inflammation and pain.
Second, many researchers have argued that CBD influences the receptors without attaching itself directly to them. After enzymes must have broken down the CBDs, the endocannabinoids usually bind with receptors to bring about complete drug metabolism. Activating those receptors is what brings the many health benefits that are associated with CBD use.
Besides, CBD is also suspected of being capable to influence non-cannabinoid receptors in ways that are yet to be accurately determined.
For instance, an article by Teaera Roland of Lotus Health showed that CBD could influence the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which controls psychotic disorders.
Moreover, cannabidiol affects the TRPV1 receptor which can minimize muscle pain and inflammation. The thing is, when CBD Influences the TRPV1, it completely blocks pain signals from being transmitted throughout the body. Thus, this action provides relief from pain caused by aches, discomfort caused by other health conditions, injuries, and swelling.
You may also want to know how long cannabidiol stays in the body system. Click the link here to learn more about this and many more.
Why is CBD Popular?
According to a 2014 report by the American Association of Anesthesiologists (ASA), more than 60 million people are affected by chronic pain and related conditions across the globe. These ailments not only affect life quality, but also increase health-care costs and reduce productivity at work.
Actually, there are dozens of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications used to treat pain and inflammation. But many of these medications come with obnoxious side effects, such as addiction and damage to the body’s vital organs (kidney and liver).
For this reason, people now seek CBD products which offer alternative means of treating pain without endangering their health in the process.
CBD and Muscle Pain
A study has revealed that CBD could help reduce muscle pain experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis. In the trials, though the results were modest, several subjects reported a reduction in symptoms. However, further studies are needed to fully understand how effective this will be on humans.
Moreover, a group of scientists have compiled the findings of multiple systematic research covering tens of such experiments. They concluded that there was enough evidence showing the effectiveness of CBD as treatment for muscle pain in adults.
Also, the scientists found out that there was little chance for people to develop tolerance for CBD. So there wouldn’t be any need to increase dosage over time.
We need to mention, however, that cannabidiol has very poor bioavailability when consumed orally. Therefore, topical application of CBD to the affected areas is advisable. When using CBD topicals try out RECOVER Muscle Cream and apply directly to the affected muscle groups.
Here is a fitness tip! Use of CBD is very effective after a workout. In fact, some experts it can actually have a positive impact on muscle development by reducing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Other natural remedies include a hot shower and a good stretch to ease your soreness!
CBD and Arthritis Pain
In a monumental research report published in 2016 by the European Journal of Pain, another group of researchers observed that topical CBD gel helped reduce measures of inflammation and pain, as well as joint swelling due to arthritis in mice.
This suggests people could use CBD for arthritis pain, but further research on humans is needed to confirm those results.
CBD and Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is pain resulting from damage to the body’s somatosensory nervous system. It’s often associated with pain caused by normally non-painful stimuli or by abnormal sensations known as dysesthesia.
A 2017 review in the Journal of Anesthesia & Analgesic revealed that cannabidiol could help reduce neuropathic pain in humans. The researchers examined eleven randomized controlled trials involving 1,219 patients. Howbeit, further research is still needed for us to comprehend how CBD acts on neuropathic pain.
CBD and Cancer Pain
Cannabidiol is also used by people to relieve cancer pain. A recent report by the National Cancer Institute has listed CBD among the potential options for minimizing side effects of chemotherapy such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
CBD and Inflammation
Inflammation is simply the process by which the body fights against any invading agent that harms it, such as infections and toxins, so as to heal itself. In such a case, the body releases certain chemicals that often trigger a counter response from the immune system.
The whole process involves the release of particular antibodies to fight the foreign agents, and this could last for several hours or even days. Chronic inflammation occurs when this response persists, thus leaving the body in a continuous state of alert. With time, this condition can cause harmful effects on body organs and tissues.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation are:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Mouth sores
These symptoms range from mild to severe, and may last for years if not properly treated.
A study suggests that chronic inflammation may play a big role in serious health conditions like asthma and cancer.
Causes of inflammation include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Long exposure to chemical irritants or pollutants
- Chronic stress
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Untreated infection or injury
Anti-inflammatory Properties of CBD
Whereas inflammation helps us to heal faster after damage or injury, chronic inflammation may harm vital organs of the body. It often leads to more pain, anxiety, and depression.
But cannabidiol has shown great potential as a plant-based, natural anti-inflammatory agent with little or no side effects.
In fact, a number of studies involving animal models have shown the ability of CBD to reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
For example, a 2017 report showed the effects of cannabidiols on male rats with osteoarthritis. After 14 days, it was observed that acute inflammation was reduced by applying topical cannabidiol on the affected area. The researchers also found out that CBD treatment minimized the development of joint pain and nerve damage.
There are ongoing attempts to extend these experiments to humans for us to get the accurate picture of how effective CBD could treat muscle pain and inflammation.
Here is a fitness tip! If you experience post-workout fatigue, try to avoid taking painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. While these drugs do well for problems like inflammation, they are not very effective after a workout. In fact, some experts warn that using these drugs can actually hinder muscle development. If possible, try and stick to a hot shower and a good stretch to ease your soreness and incorporate all-natural CBD products to help assist in your inflammation.
If you injure yourself while exercising, it is important to ice the injured area. Ice helps reduce inflammation and can numb a degree of the pain. You want to make sure that you are icing the injury long enough that your muscle is soothed, but not so long that you cause frostbite to your skin. 15-20 minutes has been proven to be an ideal icing time frame.
Side Effects of CBD
CBD is well tolerated by most people, but there could be a few side effects.
According to a Report on Consumer Health published by the Mayo Clinic, some potential side effects of CBD use can include:
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Change in weight
In addition, CBD can interact with other medications, such as:
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
- Dietary supplements
Caution must be taken if your medication come with a “grapefruit warning” sign. CBD and grapefruit often act similarly to disrupt drug metabolism in humans. Therefore, you need to first consult with your physician before taking any medication with CBD products.
It is possible to speed up recovery time from a particularly hard workout. The day after your hard workout, incorporate a technique known as active recovery by lightly exercising the same muscles. Use weights which are about forty percent of your max weight and do two sets of twenty-five repetitions. This will help to deliver nutrients and blood to muscles to help them recover at a faster rate.
As you begin to recover from a painful muscle injury or strain, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your recovery workout rather than jumping right back into your previous workout routine. This is when CBD shines is in assisting with Recovery whether it is pain, soreness or inflammation.
Always remember, that one of the best forms of recovery is quality sleep. If you require a sleep aid, try our RECOVER CBD Tincture and use sixty minutes before bed for a calming, mind easing and non-sedative sleep aid.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that there is enough scientific literature and anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD for treating muscle pain and inflammation.
Nevertheless, it’s very important for us to remember that most of those studies are based on animal research, and more works still need to be done to fully understand how CBD works in human bodies. Hence, the need for us to be circumspect and follow the physicians’ instructions on using CBD for muscle pain and inflammation.
Champions + Legends RECOVER Series is specifically formulated to support active recovery of post-workout aches, pains, and inflammation, by leveraging the science of full-spectrum CBD across the product range. Regular use as part of your active recovery routine can promote blood flow, muscle repair, and support a deeper, more restful sleep. So, whether you’re targeting specific painful joints or sore muscles with a muscle cream or rub, or simply supplementing your evening routine with a dose of tincture or pre-bedtime softgel, the long-lasting effects of CBD will pay dividends in your day-to-day recovery and support your pursuit of excellence both physically and mentally.
CBD For Recovery and Relief
Cannabidiol (CBD) products are growing in popularity – and it’s easy to see why. CBD offers a variety of potential health benefits, from restoring calm and improving sleep to alleviating a range of symptoms associated with chronic conditions , such as pain relief and inflammation reduction.
Cannabis has been used as pain relief for centuries. In fact, chronic pain was one of the first indications to qualify for medical cannabis use. It’s no surprise, considering its impressive anti-inflammatory profile and that inflammation itself is the catalyst behind many painful conditions.
New, promising research is emerging surrounding the benefits of CBD oil for pain and inflammation specifically associated with muscle recovery following exercise. But before we dive deeper into the evidence regarding CBD for recovery, let’s take a look at what happens after you exercise.
Why Is Post-Workout Recovery So Painful?
Most of us are familiar with the aches associated with workout recovery and may have made peace with the phrase “no pain, no gain”. What you may not realise however, is that there is a medical name for this phenomenon- delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). For some of us, DOMS occurs when we exercise after a long period of time; but even seasoned athletes who perform extreme, regular exercise are prone to these unpleasant sensations. Anyone, regardless of fitness level, can experience DOMS and here’s why.
When we work our muscles more intensely, for a longer time or in a different way than they are used to, it is thought to cause microscopic damage to the proteins that make up the individual muscle fibres. The damage triggers inflammation of the affected muscle as the body works to repair it, resulting in the characteristic aches, stiffness and pain we feel after a workout. Since it takes some time for the inflammation to build up, the pain typically starts a day or two following exercise and lasts anywhere from three to five days.
While muscle soreness recovery is unpleasant, it is a normal part of the adaptive process that precedes improved strength and stamina. Over time, these muscles become stronger and more resistant to similar levels of physical exertion, resulting in less DOMS.
The problem arises when we don’t have the luxury of ‘waiting out’ the pain, delaying our next workout or, in the case of professional athletes, postponing a game. It can be difficult to move past the pain, and for some people, this can be a major hindrance to realising the full extent of their physical capabilities.
Although there are many home remedies and anti-inflammatory drugs that are useful for DOMS, CBD oils are gaining traction for their anti-inflammatory effects.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 naturally occurring chemicals (called cannabinoids) derived from cannabis plants. Some reluctance surrounding the use of CBD products seems to stem from the confusion over legality or stigma associated with cannabis or ‘marijuana’.
Unlike other cannabinoids such as the well-known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is devoid of psychotropic effects or euphoric ‘highs’ but packs a punch in medicinal effects. While both cannabis and hemp plants can produce CBD, hemp-derived CBD naturally contains less than 0.3% THC (compared to up to 30% found in marijuana cannabis plants) making it legal in many countries. APOTHEM’s range of CBD products use the purest form of CBD isolate to ensure there is 0% THC.
CBD is similar to the endocannabinoids produced naturally by our bodies and can be utilised to enhance their soothing effects. As more people contemplate using CBD oil for inflammation associated with DOMS, it is important to consider both the anecdotal and scientific data.
CBD For Recovery
One such study is the RECHARGE CBD Cream Clinical Trial , which assessed 52 participants in a controlled clinical environment. Participants were asked to work out at least three times a week for 14 days and use a CBD cream afterwards. The results revealed that CBD was effective at relieving post-exercise joint stiffness and muscle tension in over 97% of participants. Another 2020 study showed that CBD use significantly reduced muscle aches and improved the rate of muscle recovery, compared to no intervention.
Such trials have laid the groundwork for further research into how CBD anti-inflammatory effects benefit regular gym-goers and athletes. Despite research into this specific area being in the preliminary stages, several professional athletes have come forward, advocating the benefits of this natural product for muscle recovery.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
The human body is composed of countless cells that need to work together. They achieve communication through the use of electrical impulses and chemical messengers, which transmit signals throughout the body. The process of inflammation is one such process that is dependent on chemical messengers travelling through the blood, alerting our immune system to react at the site of damage.
CBD targets a subsystem in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for producing, receiving and translating endocannabinoids of its own. This complex system runs throughout the human body to regulate functions, including pain and inflammation, in order to maintain a healthy state of balance or homeostasis. (You can learn more about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our recent blog post).
Put simply, the way to reduce inflammation is by blocking the transmission of one or more of these chemical messengers, so that cells cannot communicate with each other. CBD does just that. It interacts with our body’s ECS, regulating a series of complex processes, resulting in an anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effect.
The challenge is that there are different types of inflammation, for example, allergic reactions versus autoimmune versus injury, and many anti-inflammatory medicines will inhibit a select pathway. The benefit of CBD is that it is thought to regulate multiple pathways, hence interfering with the inflammatory process at various stages and making them effective for different types of inflammation. This allows CBD to affect a number of organs throughout the body, including the muscular system.
CBD is a worthwhile muscle recovery supplement, which works by regulating pain signals through the ECS. Here’s why many people choose CBD for recovery and relief:
- Relaxes muscles, which alleviates muscle tension and spasm
- Reduces mild inflammation, preventing damage to surrounding healthy muscle
- Supports sleep, which aids muscle fibre regeneration
- Helps prevent DOMS and associated pain
- Supports faster recovery between workouts or following injury
- Improves consistency with training routines due to reduced pain and downtime
How To Use CBD
In order to see tangible benefits, it is important to use the most effective CBD oil for your body and specific needs.
CBD is available in many different forms, including creams, gels, drops, vapours, edibles, and bath salts, amongst others. The choice is personal but for the purposes of post-workout recovery, topical CBD is great for providing targeted relief, as the effects are more concentrated on the inflamed local tissue.
Oral CBD oil drops will get to work directly on the ECS, providing relief for deep muscle tissues as well as additional systemic benefits, which include sleep quality. Combining oral CBD drops with a topical CBD recovery cream is an effective way to holistically support the body.
CBD comes in various strengths dependent on the route of administration. It also reacts differently in every person, making the dose requirements largely subjective. Depending on the severity of your pain or injury, as well as the location, you may need to adjust your dose in order to achieve the desired effect. Although dose requirements differ from person to person, it is generally recommended that you start low and titrate up until you find the right balance for your body and needs.
Combine CBD Products With Other Measures
It is important to bear in mind that CBD is not a magic pill and should be used in conjunction with other conservative measures to maximise its effects. Using CBD for recovery is intended to complement other pain-relief measures such as stretching, eating a balanced diet, rest, massage and ice packs.
It can be challenging to find the right CBD balance for your body at first, but remember to be consistent and patient. Follow a set routine and stick to it for a few weeks. Before you know it, you may have one less reason to skip the gym.
We recommend consulting your doctor if you’re unsure whether CBD is right for you and always if you’re taking any existing medications.
CBD for muscle pain: Topicals and pills can help, but research is limited
Does CBD actually work for muscle pain? We explore what the research says and whether topics or oral supplements are better.
It’s touted as a sleep aid , stress killer and even a performance enhancer, but one of the big selling points of CBD is pain relief . Many have turned to it when other remedies haven’t worked or in addition to them.
But what about using CBD post-workout to help your muscles recover and reduce soreness? It’s a different than the chronic pain that most turn to CBD for, but some research suggests it could help replace hot/cold creams and over the counter anti-inflammatory meds.
There are hundreds of CBD products to choose from — both oral and topical — and the type you choose might make all the difference for your aches and pains.
How topical CBD works for muscle soreness and pain
The promise is simple — slather on a cream or gel with CBD where it hurts to relieve pain. But whether or not they actually work is another story.
Topical CBD has only been minimally studied, says Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “Generally, there are also herbs or other ‘skin-penetrating’ ingredients in the final formulation of topical CBD products,” Titus says. “Other ingredients such as arnica or menthol are added in order to make product claims such as pain relief.”
In many cases, Titus explains, the concentration of CBD is often low in topical products, and the soothing sensation you feel is a product of the other ingredients. It’s important for consumers to review not only the ingredients list, but also the certificate of analysis, which reveals the total concentration of different cannabinoids in a product.
A CoA shows the weight percentage of CBD and other cannabinoids, including THC, so only then can you interpret the amount of CBD per “serving” of topical application, Titus says. Make sure the CoA is done by an independent, third-party lab, too.
Is CBD the cure to nagging sore muscles?
That said, high-quality, potent topical CBD products are thought to offer temporary relief from pain and soreness. There’s a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the skin, and when CBD is applied topically, it activates the endocannabinoid system through those receptors. CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors in your epidermal and dermal skin, a process that results in alleviation of pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effect is also why topical CBD is an effective treatment for some skin disorders.
Topical CBD only works where you use it — applying CBD cream to your legs when your abs are sore won’t do you any good. This can be a benefit or a drawback depending on your situation. For example, if you tend to experience full-body soreness, you’d have to use a lot of CBD cream for relief and that can get tedious and expensive.
Just remember, human skin is incredibly absorptive and it’ll absorb more than just the CBD in topical creams, gels and oils. Check the ingredients label to make sure you’re not applying something you’re allergic to or something that, if absorbed, can interact with medications. If you’re unsure, talk to your doctor.
How oral CBD works for muscle soreness and pain
While topical CBD only offers localized relief, oral CBD should have a systemic effect if the product is potent and reliable, Titus says. Oral CBD works just the same as topical CBD, but on a much larger scale, because it enters your bloodstream and can reach cannabinoid receptors throughout your entire body.
Oral CBD is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, and as inflammation is the root of most pain, it makes perfect sense that ingesting CBD could offer relief from inflammation-related pain, including muscle aches and joint pain.
Keep in mind that the majority of studies on the effects of CBD on soreness and pain to date have been small-scale; most large studies have been conducted on animals, and those results may not translate to humans. There’s a long way to go until all the effects of CBD — taken orally or applied topically — are confirmed.
It’s also worth knowing that the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve CBD as a food additive or dietary supplement. The agency has concerns about the safety of ingested CBD due to the lack of large-scale, long-term studies in humans, and has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to declare CBD safe to consume. Regardless, oral CBD is widely available and legal in many states. Talk to a health professional about oral CBD if you’re interested in using it for muscle soreness or any other type of pain.
Should you use topical or oral CBD for soreness?
Whether you should use topical or oral CBD for pain and soreness depends on the source and intensity of your pain. Based on the above research and comments from Medical Marijuana’s Titus, here’s a look at common uses of CBD and which type will best help.
CBD for post-workout muscle soreness: A high-quality topical CBD should help treat temporary muscle soreness from workouts, Titus says. One recent study found that oral CBD can also reduce muscle soreness when taken immediately after a workout.
CBD for chronic muscle pain: Topical CBD can help during flare-ups, but you’re better off taking oral CBD for systemic pain. A combination can be especially helpful, Titus says. Ingesting CBD helps relieve pain from the inside out, while applying topical cream can quiet particularly tender areas.
CBD for joint pain: Topical CBD likely won’t reach cannabinoid receptors in your joints no matter how potent. Oral CBD is more likely to help people with pain from arthritis and other joint conditions. People with pain from fibromyalgia will also benefit more from ingestible CBD, Titus says.
CBD for general muscle tightness and tension: For general muscle tightness (such as tension in the neck from a long day at your desk), high-quality topical CBD can offer much-needed temporary relief.
Overall, the effectiveness of CBD varies depending on the product, the intended use and the person. Some people find CBD helpful while others don’t notice much of an effect, whether they take it orally or apply it topically. It might take a lot of research and experimentation until you find a CBD product that works for you.
Other ways to treat muscle soreness and pain
If you’re not ready to hop on the CBD bandwagon, try these other methods for relieving sore and tight muscles :
- Compression therapy
- Far-infrared therapy
- Percussive therapy
- Foam rolling
- Heat therapy
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.