Athletes are always seeking that extra edge, whether it’s an advantage against an opponent or supplements to enhance muscle recovery. While there are age-old treatments for aches and pains following workouts, more recently athletes have found supplementing cannabidiol, or CBD, to be effective. Cannabidiol is one of over 120 cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant, other well-known cannabinoids include THC, CBN and CBG. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and there is evidence that suggest these compounds have therapeutic properties for treating various health conditions, including pain management and decreasing inflammation.
Since CBD is not mind-altering like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana, many athletes are turning to CBD as a treatment supplement.
How do Muscles Recover and Grow after a Workout?
First, it is important to gain an understanding of what happens to your muscles during a workout. As you work out or perform strenuous physical activity, muscles begin to form tiny tears in muscle tissue. As a result the muscle becomes inflamed causing muscle stiffness and soreness, which triggers the body to respond and repair. These tears alarm cells within the muscle to send signals to organelles outside the muscle, telling them to come into the cell and repair.
As these cells enter the muscle, they repair by replicating and becoming part of the muscle fiber. As you continue to workout and progress, these newly formed cells develop into new muscle protein strands and allow muscles to grow and strengthen.
Does CBD Help with Muscle Recovery, Soreness, and Stiffness?
So does CBD help with muscle soreness, stiffness and recovery? Research has demonstrated how CBD and other cannabinoids could potentially be used as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. One of CBD’s most well known benefits is its anxiolytic, or anti-inflammatory properties. As CBD is introduced to the body following a workout, it interacts indirectly with the CB2 receptors found in the body’s immune system. CB2 receptors play an essential role in immune function, pain management, and inflammation as they help modulate inflammation and immune response (1).
When the muscles are being repaired following a workout, CBD can potentially aid by minimizing inflammation. We recommend administration of CBD before or after a workout. Recalling from previous posts, to receive the desired effects from CBD it is recommended to administer CBD on a regular basis. One time or sparingly use of CBD will yield desired effects but it limiting the full potential of CBD and other cannabinoids.
But are the proposed anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol enough to help with muscle fatigue?
CBD as an Anti-inflammatory Agent
While more studies in humans are needed, there is an abundance of research on animal models that support claims for CBD lowering pain and inflammation. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. A separate study demonstrated supplementing CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain mechanisms (2).
A research article published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry discussed the anti inflammatory properties of CBD. The reviewers found that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways including changes to receptor binding, signaling events and functional effects reported for CBD (3).
Another study in the journal Pain, examined the effects of CBD on osteoarthritis. After two weeks, acute inflammation of the joints was reduced by local CBD treatment applied to the area.
A 2016 study in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation researchers demonstrated that CBD treatment reduced inflammation in the pancreas and CBD was shown to lower the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice by inhibiting the invasion of immune cells causing pancreatic inflammation (4).
A 2020 study in Nature stated CBD is a “non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in several inflammatory conditions including arthritis. However, CBD binds to several receptors and enzymes and, therefore, its mode of action remains elusive” (5).
CBD and Joint Pain
The administration of CBD was also found to prevent the development of nerve damage and joint pain (6).
A 2018 research study published in Neurology demonstrated that CBD binds to and desensitizes receptors known to mediate pain and sensory perception, inflammation, and body temperature (7).
Thus, the endocannabinoid system has shown involvement in regulation of both in vivo and in vitro in the immune system and does so by utilizing multiple pathways. As more peer-reviewed research and clinical trials become available on humans, we’ll continue to gain a better understanding of cannabinoids and the chemical reactions and pathways that aid our immune and nervous systems.
Where can you purchase cGMP and Kosher certified hemp extracts for muscle recovery?
When seeking out CBD and hemp derived products, be sure to look for cGMP-certified processors such as Abundant Labs and always ask for a Certificate of Analysis to ensure the quality and purity of hemp extract. We’d be happy to discuss the different types of extracts we produce and how they would most benefit you or your customers.
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272373349_Cannabidiol_CBD_and_its_analogs_A_re view_of_their_effects_on_inflammation