The Complete Guide to CBD for Muscle Recovery

Post-workout supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry, but a growing number of serious lifters are now turning to CBD for muscle recovery. We know that there are advantages to using weed for bodybuilding, but you may be able to reap many of the same post-workout benefits even if “getting high” isn’t your thing. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in cannabis that supports many of the plant’s therapeutic benefits while being non-psychoactive.

Can CBD Aid Muscle Recovery?

While research into CBD for muscle recovery is still limited, there’s some evidence that cannabidiol may provide a couple of distinct benefits. First, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a way that may regulate cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps to aid physical recovery from injury.

CBD’s biggest role in muscle recovery, however, may be its anti-inflammatory effect. As the muscles break down after a workout, inflammation sets in. It’s part of the body’s natural healing process, and it involves the release of chemicals that trigger an important—but often uncomfortable—immune response.

CBD is being studied for its potential inflammation benefits. A study from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine found cannabinoids like CBD to be effective at suppressing inflammatory response in animals. A separate 2018 review looked at over 100 CBD studies and concluded that cannabidiol has effective anti-inflammatory effects in humans.

These findings may have important implications for muscle recovery. Strength training, bodybuilding, and similar rigorous activities trigger inflammation as the muscle fibers break down. You should always allow time for the muscles to heal between workouts, but lingering inflammation can sometimes put you out of commission for several days, making it difficult to achieve the gains you’re looking for. And then there’s the general discomfort and the potential long-term health effects of excess inflammation.

Taking CBD for muscle recovery may help to minimize inflammation, thereby allowing you to work the same muscle groups more often with less discomfort.

The Best Way to Take CBD for Muscle Recovery

The most common ways to take CBD are orally and topically. Oral preparations include tinctures (drops taken under the tongue), edibles (like CBD gummies), and vape oils. Topical preparations include creams, ointments, and lotions.

If you’re taking CBD exclusively for muscle recovery, you might start with a topical cream and apply it directly to the affected area as directed. Because topical products are localized, you may experience faster relief. Just apply it to sore muscles and let it go to work.

If you’re taking CBD for multiple reasons, such as to address inflammation and anxiety, you may benefit more from an oral solution that’s distributed evenly throughout the body. Tinctures work well because they’re fast-acting (taking effect in as little as 20 minutes) and easy to consume.

Just take 5 to 10 milligrams beneath the tongue, let it absorb for about 30 to 60 seconds, and then swallow. If you don’t experience relief right away, you can increase the dosage gradually. For instance, try adding an additional 5 to 10 milligrams per day until you get the desired result.

When Should You Take CBD for Muscle Recovery?

When taking CBD for muscle recovery, the most important dose will come right after your workout. However, you can take one or two additional doses throughout the day as your inflammation continues. Some users take a dose in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

The most important thing is that you avoid taking CBD right before a workout. While the side effects of cannabidiol are generally mild, they can include drowsiness and muscle relaxation. So for your own safety and to ensure that you get the best workout possible, reserve your CBD for the post-workout.

Best CBD Products for Muscle Recovery

Quality is key when choosing CBD for muscle recovery. You want to go with a trusted provider that stands by their products. But there are certain other features you’ll also want to consider, such as the type of CBD product and the added ingredients that are included.

Go With Trusted Brands

There’s a lot of bad CBD out there. Many low-grade products contain less CBD than advertised or none at all. That’s why it’s so important to go with trusted brands with impeccable reputations.

When choosing a CBD product to purchase, make sure that it includes a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab. The certificate should confirm the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids, and it should provide assurance that there are no contaminants in the product.

Our favorite CBD providers include Social CBD and Charlotte’s Web. Both companies use domestically grown hemp, they both offer satisfaction guarantees, and their products are backed by trusted third-party lab analyses. They’re among the best in the business, offering great deals on premium products without ever cutting corners.

Full-Spectrum Is Best

When choosing a CBD product for muscle recovery, the main decision you’ll need to make is whether to go with full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate.

  • Full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including CBD, CBN, CBG, THCV, and up to .3% THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids except for the THC, which has been removed.
  • CBD isolate products contain only cannabidiol.

For muscle recovery, we recommend going with a full-spectrum product to encourage the maximum benefit. As noted earlier, CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid that has been shown to contribute to inflammation control. THC has also been shown to address inflammation, as has CBG. All of these cannabinoids working in concert may contribute to greater inflammation relief.

If you’re concerned about having even trace amounts of THC in your system, you can go with a broad-spectrum product and still enjoy the effects of numerous cannabinoids working together.

Look for Added Terpenes

Some CBD products are formulated to address specific needs, such as anxiety, insomnia, or inflammation. Often, these specialized products include targeted terpenes that reinforce the effects of the cannabinoids.

Terpenes are the aromatic oils found in cannabis and all plant life. In addition to smelling good, they’ve been shown in studies to promote certain therapeutic effects. For instance, pinene has been associated with alertness and myrcene has been associated with relaxation.

If you’re looking to address muscle recovery, it might help to choose a CBD product enriched with terpenes like linalool or limonene, both of which have been shown in studies to promote anti-inflammatory effects.

Ask for Recommendations

If you know people who already use CBD for muscle recovery, ask them for their recommendations. You might know someone who already has an amazing go-to product that can benefit your workouts.

You might find that the first product you try doesn’t work for you. If so, that’s okay. You might find that you prefer topicals over tinctures, or you might decide that one brand is better than another. Try multiple options, and before long, you might just find the relief you’re looking for.

Do you use CBD for muscle recovery? Has it worked for you? Let us know!

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