Young couple stretching after exercising

How to Use CBD As an Exercise and Recovery Aid

In the cannabis community, one of the most vocal advocate groups has been athletes, both casual and professional. Of cannabis’ many beneficial applications, the use as a workout aid for enhancing both performance and muscle recovery is significant. Not only is it useful but everyone who exercises (which, realistically, should be everyone) can enjoy the rewards.

While THC provides some enjoyable mental effects, many of the strongest physical benefits are conveyed through CBD. For athletes, especially those looking to enhance performance and reduce recovery pain with a clear head, CBD flower, vape, and topicals are extremely helpful.

How CBD Works as a Workout Recovery Aid

CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system through the CB2 neurotransmitter receptors. Unlike CB1 receptors which are located mainly in the brain and nervous system, CB2 receptors are located throughout the body and contribute significantly to your immune system including your inflammatory responses.

Inflammation in the muscles is the primary source of muscle pain both during and after a hard workout. This is why CBD works when inhaled, ingested, or used as a localized topical treatment to reduce inflammation and pain while decreasing the time it takes to recover from muscle stress and even minor injuries like sprains and strains.

Runner’s High and Endocannabinoids

The relationship between cannabis and exercise goes deeper than just your receptors. Recent studies have revealed that the runner’s high also triggers your body’s endocannabinoid system. 

A runner’s high is the natural euphoria experienced when your body goes through serious cardio. You may have experienced it after a long run, or during other intense exercise like elliptical, swimming, or even prolonged aerobics. The runner’s high is not only euphoric, it also dulls pain and aids in managing the inflammation after taxing your muscles using the natural benefits of an internally generated cannabinoid.

With this connection, it naturally follows that cannabis, and particularly CBD, would provide a similar benefit to professional and casual athletes.

When to Take CBD to Enhance Your Workout Endurance

CBD can be used to enhance your workout capabilities when taken both before and during your exercise routine. The interaction with your inflammatory response prevents your muscles from becoming sore and swollen. Those who combine CBD with THC may enjoy euphoria, pain relief, and endurance of the entourage effect.

Vape or Ingest CBD Before a Workout

Before a workout, the best plan is to infuse your body with CBD. You can do this by smoking, vaping, or ingesting CBD. Of course, smoke is not the best plan right before cardio, which leaves vape and edibles. If you vape CBD, take a vape hit about five to ten minutes before your workout begins. This will give the mucous membranes in your respiratory system time to absorb the cannabinoids into your bloodstream and reach your muscles.

If you choose edibles, eat a lightweight CBD snack like gummies or a beverage 15 to 20 minutes before your workout begins. This will give your digestive system time to process the CBD into your bloodstream so it can reach your muscles.

Extend Your Workouts with CBD Mid-Exercise

For longer workouts, re-upping your body’s CBD content can be beneficial to keeping your muscles from becoming inflamed over time. You can extend your endurance and the duration of your workouts by ingesting CBD through vape or edibles partway through your exercise. When you start to feel fatigued, take another hit of your vape or eat one or two more gummies. Remember that edibles take longer to process, but work most effectively with water on a mostly empty stomach.

How to Use CBD To Aid In Muscle Recovery

You can also use CBD after a workout and in the days after intense exercise to accelerate your muscle recovery. This is because CBD reduces inflammation both during and after a workout, reducing aches and allowing you to do more during your recovery period. CBD is similarly effective in treating the symptoms of a sprain or strain. While it cannot heal an injury, CBD can contribute to keeping down the swelling and, therefore, the pain involved in these types of injuries.

Consume CBD After Workouts to Prevent Muscle Aches

Consuming CBD or applying it as a topical at the end of your workout can help to prevent post-exercise muscle aches. If you tend to be sore after a workout, consuming CBD as part of your cooldown process can help to prevent the painful swelling that occurs when your body exits high-performance mode. Because tenderness is the result of inflammation, this will both decrease the pain of post-workout recovery and speed up your ability to recover for another workout soon.

Apply CBD Topicals to Specific Muscle Aches

If you realize that you have overstressed a specific group of muscles after working out, this is when CBD topicals are the most useful. CBD can be absorbed by the CB2 receptors in your skin and muscles can deliver relief and inflammation control locally without absorbing the cannabinoids directly into your bloodstream. This is because the blood barrier of your skin is quite strong, so you will only experience localized effects and can control exactly where the CBD is applied.

Use CBD to Ease Sprains and Strains

You can use both ingested and topical CBD to aid with the recovery of sprains and strains. Soft-tissue exercise-related injuries tend to need time and inflammation control to heal. Many of the healing recommendations like ice, compression, and elevation are completely about reducing inflammation to reduce pain and promote blood flow related recovery. CBD helps with that by regulating a healthy inflammation response so that a sprain or strain is less painful and can heal more effectively.

CBD Massages Between Workouts for Muscle Recovery

Using CBD oil for massages between workouts is also beneficial for muscle recovery, whether you are maintaining a steady workout routine or have just gone through a particularly stressful workout. CBD massages are relaxing and make excellent use of CBD as a topical muscle recovery treatment.

Preventing Workout Injuries with CBD

When used mindfully, CBD can help you to prevent workout injuries by controlling the conditions most likely to cause them. Workout injuries can happen to anyone. It’s true that a pebble in your path or dodging an obstacle can result in a turned ankle for anyone. However, injuries of strain are more likely to happen when your body is tense, your muscles are cold, or you are pushing yourself too hard. 

Using CBD can help with each of these potential injury risks differently, and mindful use can create a routine that is significantly less likely to result in a workout injury while helping you to reach your optimal performance. Whether you are working for strength and endurance or just to stay healthy, a CBD routine can be helpful.

CBD Relaxes the Body to Prevent Tension Injuries

You are more likely to get a tension-related injury or work out with poor form when your body is tense. Muscles need to be warm and relaxed for the safest and best workouts. CBD can help with that because cannabinoids allow you to relax. CBD will also reduce any existing inflammation in your muscles, joints, and tendons so that you are less likely to be knotted up when your exercise begins, and you will relax and warm up more easily as you get started.

CBD Absorption Gives You Time to Warm Up

We mentioned earlier that you should wait a few minutes between taking CBD and starting your workout for best results. However, you are likely already in your workout clothes and ready to get started. Whether you are waiting five minutes for vape to take effect or fifteen minutes for edibles, this is the best time to begin your warmup.

In fact, waiting on CBD to enter your bloodstream can help you remember to stretch and do mild low-impact warmups before a run, dance routine, or round with the gym equipment. As the CBD aids in muscle relaxation, it will also enhance your warmup effectiveness.

Focus On Your Form

Many people have also found that CBD helps to enhance focus. It is often used by college students and professionals for this reason. In exercise, however, CBD can help you remain focused on good form. Good workout form means keeping your body aligned and your movements steady so that you do not accidentally move in a way that strains a muscle while you are pushing yourself.

CBD’s can help to clear your mind and relax your body so that it’s far easier to make every motion of your workout perfectly in-line without distractions or tension that can lead to harmful form.

Keep An Easy, Measured Pace

CBD can help you avoid accidentally overdoing your exercise. When you’re feeling pumped, it’s all too easy to push too hard, to try and go too fast or do too much so that your muscles become strained. With the relaxation of CBD, you will find it easier to maintain a steady, measured pace that will build your endurance and strength without risking muscle strain.

Discover the Everyday Benefits of CBD with MMJ Health

Here at MMJ Health, we are passionate about the science-backed benefits of cannabis in all its forms. For athletes, both casual and professional, CBD’s inflammation related effects are particularly helpful in both preventing and treating muscle strain. To learn more about the positive effects of cannabis and the best ways to use it, contact us today.