Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

CBD’s Potential to Improve Muscle Recovery After Exercise

Feb 27, 2020 01:22PM ● By Thomas Rocco

CBD can be part of an exerciser’s training/exercise regimen to improve muscle inflammation recovery, allowing better muscle healing and strength.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound from the cannabis plant that has achieved great interest for many medical issues. CBD oil can help to relieve health problems such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, seizures and insomnia. While those seem like potentially huge breakthroughs, CBD is also said to help with smaller stuff, like helping exercisers recover faster from workouts due to its anti-inflammatory properties and aid to improve sleep habits for muscle recovery.

After vigorous activity or exercise, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is provoked. DOMS is referred by exercise physiologists as a normal gradual increase of discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity. Any workout, especially a vigorous one, causes microscopic damage to the body’s muscles and tissues. It is this inflammation that triggers the body’s repair processes, allowing tissues to grow back stronger and healthier. However, too much inflammation left unchecked can contribute to excessive muscle damage and poor workout results. As the tearing of the muscles continues, this results with swelling which leads to muscle fatigue. Inflammation is experienced when muscles are damaged. Damaged muscles are difficult to heal until inflammation is improved. Inflammation is also a hallmark of exercise injuries including strains and sprains. 

While studies currently debate exactly when exercisers should try to curb inflammation and when they should allow the body to recover on its own, it is suggested that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. The anti-inflammatory mechanism was demonstrated in a recent review published in Frontiers in Neurology that concluded CBD is an effective way of improving pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis since it reduces inflammation.

Interestingly, CBD can be utilized for athletes to prevent fatigue after workouts as an anti-inflammatory and a muscle recovery supplement. Medicating with ibuprofen is common for recuperation, however there are potential severe risks associated with regular NSAID use. Side effects from NSAIDs include stomach pain/heartburn, gastric ulcers, increased tendency to bleed, leg swelling, elevated blood pressure and kidney problems. It may be advisable for people to use a more powerful, less toxic, natural supplement like CBD oil. It is new to our modern culture and further studies on its potency and effects would reinforce its beneficial effects.

While medical recommendations to improve training recovery include proper diet and adequate sleep with rest days during exercise, another additional option to reduce fatigue after intense training is the use of CBD oil therapy. CBD oil is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis sativa that does not induce psychoactive effects, unlike THC, which is the most common misconception and general stigma of any hemp product.

The main function of CBD is the improvement of inflammation demonstrated by the improvement of muscle spasms and pain as well as other medical inflammatory issues. CBD, therefore, can be part of an exerciser’s training/exercise regimen to improve muscle inflammation recovery, allowing better muscle healing and strength.

CBD also helps improve sleep, which is the best time for muscle recovery. Reaching the REM cycle of sleep is crucial to a successful post-workout routine, as it is the sleep stage that provides optimal conditions for muscle building and repair. Also, with better sleep patterns, the body will produce adequate melatonin, a human growth hormone that facilitates muscle healing. Therefore, CBD oil can be utilized as a post-workout supplement to improve muscle recovery and repair due to the mechanism of improved sleep habits.

Most people use protein and nutritional supplements as post-workout meals to restore the lost energy to improve muscle recovery. However, CBD oil has better potential to improve muscle recovery and reduction of fatigue after intense exercise, especially with little to no adverse CBD effect. The reduction of inflammation and improvement of sleep patterns are the principal mechanisms for improved recovery after vigorous exercise.

Beyond CBD oils and tinctures, CBD is also sold in other varieties of intake methods such as infused balms, lotions, capsules and edibles. CBD can be utilized either as oral or topical use for relief of muscle soreness. Even professional athletes can use CBD, as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed it from its prohibited substance list in 2018.

CBD for exercise-induced inflammation is the next big area that needs to be explored. Investigation of CBD’s effects on inflammatory biomarkers such as compounds like C-reactive protein in the body that occur with inflammation in athletes and exercise recovery need to be studied.

Dr. Thomas Rocco, M.D., and Krystle MacDonald are available for free consultation at BAK 2 Basics CBD Medical Consultants, located at 2845 Post Rd., Ste. 103, Warwick. To schedule a free office CBD consultation or for any CBD questions as it pertains to your medical needs, call 401-678-6420. For more information, visit See ad on this page.