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Many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting and muscle recovery. But does it really help? We reveal the science-based truth here… as well as… Recent studies have examined how CBD oil can benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and the results are quite promising. Learn more. The cannabis product is said to help inflammation. So… can it?

CBD Oil for Bodybuilding & Recovery
A Look into the Pros & Cons

If you’ve walked into a health shop, a vape store, or you follow too many Instagram influencers, then chances are you’ve heard about the wonderful world of CBD oil.

But did you know that many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting? Let’s take a look at why.

And no, you won’t be stoned at the gym.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD Oil comes from marijuana and hemp plants, specifically the sativa version of the plants. These are the same plants that are often used for recreational/medical marijuana and hemp products.

These plants produce compounds called “cannabinoids” – 2 of which are very popular. The first type is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive part of marijuana that gets you “high” or “stoned” depending on your choice of lingo. (1)

However, the second type is called CBD (cannabidiol), and this does not have any “high” effects.

In fact, it’s usually extracted from hemp plants which are bred to have a THC content of less than 0.3%.

In other words, you could get a tiny, tiny bit high from using CBD oils, but nowhere near enough to get your feet off the ground.

Is CBD Oil Good For ​Bodybuilding?

CBD oil is good for ​bodybuilding and muscle growth in the sense that it eases inflammation, helps with muscle recovery, and reduces pain after workouts.

This makes it easier for you to increase your muscle mass without putting your body under too much stress. The naturally relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD help your muscles to recover more quickly, thus promoting steady muscle growth.

When you get home after your session at the gym, CBD products also help with sleep and reduce anxiety levels, so you can rest more easily. (2)

Essentially, CBD products have many of the “chill out” effects associated with recreational and medical marijuana, but without the high. This means that you can use them throughout the day as it suits your plans.

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How Does CBD Help With Muscle Recovery?

During a weightlifting session, if you push yourself and try to increase your muscle mass, you may notice muscle soreness and pain.

This is caused by microscopic damage to your muscle fibers which needs to be repaired.

Recent studies have found that those who use CBD can reduce inflammation following exercise and even improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. (3) It also helps to reduce pain following exercise and it’s anti-catabolic properties ensure you can build muscle more steadily.

Moreover, CBD can help to regulate your catabolic hormones, as incorrect amounts of catabolic hormones can lead to too much cortisol in your body, making it harder for your muscle mass to increase.

Furthermore, research has shown that cannabinoids have antispasmodic properties, meaning that they reduce muscle spasms following a painful new workout at the gym.

Personal Trainer Tara Laferrara also noticed a “big difference in infalmmation and stress” after her workouts when taking this supplement. At first, taking CBD to lower cortisol levels sounded nice only on paper, but I needed more convincing. That’s until I saw this video​ about how ​CBD oil helps in muscle recovery and pain relief according to expert opinion.

Can CBD Help With Weight Loss Too?

Unless you can’t stave off the munchies, CBD can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite in the long term.

It also encourages more “brown fat” within your body. This refers to the type of fat that our bodies use for heat energy. Essentially, it’s fat which is quite healthy and good for us. (4)

Results from new studies also suggest that marijuana users tend to weigh less than non-marijuana users.

When you think about people who partake in the smoking of the cannabis plant (i.e. stoners), you probably picture them eating 50 bags of Doritos a night, but alas they are defying the clichés.

​Of course, CBD oil is not the same as marijuana, but CBD is still present in regular weed, so it’s likely to play a part in this weight loss relationship, whether it’s due to behavioral factors or chemical factors.

We found that [marijuana] users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight. Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.

– Omayma Alshaarawy, Fitness Author

What Are The Health Benefits Of CBD Oil?

There are many benefits of CBD oil aside from bodybuilding, whether you’re trying to regulate your blood sugar levels or improve your sleep and diet. Let’s look at some of the main health benefits in more detail.

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1. Pain Relief – Similarly to medical marijuana, it’s thought that CBD supplements can help to reduce chronic pain. Current evidence is quite anecdotal, but it seems promising and researchers are optimistic. Using CBD oil for muscle building can potentially reduce post-workout pain significantly.

2. Anti-Inflammatory – It appears that CBD products can have significant anti-inflammatory effects, helping bodybuilders and fitness fans to exercise their socks off without suffering from too much inflammation afterward.

3. Reduce Depression And Anxiety – Research has shown that CBD can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, hence calming the minds of people with these conditions. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I noticed a huge difference when I started putting CBD oil in my vape. I also weaned myself off of nicotine addiction, which was an added bonus in the health department.

4. Improved Heart Health – Due largely to its relaxing effects which reduce stress and anxiety, CBD could help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore improve heart health. Stress is intrinsically linked to high blood pressure, so bringing down stress has positive physical effects on the body.

5. Neurological Treatment – Along with medical cannabis, CBD is thought to be able to assist people with neurological conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

6. Acne Reduction – Because of CBD’s ability to better regulate the sebum levels that our skin naturally produces, it can help to reduce skin conditions like acne, eczema, and sensitive skin. (5)

7. May Reduce Cancer – Just to be clear, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD definitely reduces cancer. However, there are some studies that are pointing in the right direction. For example, one study indicated that cannabis users had a 45% less chance of developing bladder cancer than non-smokers. It’s not a smoking gun, but it’s optimistic.

CBD Oil and Bodybuilding – August 2022

Can CBD Oil help with bodybuilding, and if so, how?

Recent studies have examined how CBD oil can benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and the results are quite promising.

While more research needs to be conducted, current science suggests that CBD oil has properties that may help with bodybuilding.

CBD for Muscle Growth

A study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research showed CBD’s anti-catabolic properties that enable it to help regulate hormone levels in the body (1 ) .

By taking CBD oil, cortisol levels are kept at bay, allowing for increased muscle growth and protein synthesis throughout a workout or bodybuilding routine.

CBD’s anti-catabolic properties may also allow for the slow breakdown of muscle mass and help athletes to build more muscle.

In addition to lowering the levels of catabolic hormones, CBD may indirectly boost muscle growth by improving stamina.

When individuals are able to spend more time lifting or bodybuilding without the muscles getting fatigued, they see results from their hard work faster.

CBD for Weight Management

CBD can also be beneficial to people who are trying to lose weight. In a 2008 animal study published in the PLOS One Journal , it was shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act (2 ) .

A study published in Nature Journal has shown that CBD could increase the levels of leptin in the brain (3 ) .

Leptin is the hormone that makes an individual feel full or satiated. The reduced cravings for unhealthy, calorie-dense foods may help individuals achieve their weight loss goals fast.

In another study, researchers found that CBD might interfere with the secretion of cortisol, reducing blood levels significantly (4 ) .

Chronic stress and persistently high cortisol levels may be associated with increased appetite and weight gain (5 ) .

CBD for Muscle Recovery

Working out can cause microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Those muscles then become inflamed, which triggers the body to respond and repair, causing muscle soreness or stiffness (6 ) .

Studies have shown that CBD might reduce soreness and swelling by inhibiting inflammation. Also, CBD might help with pain as the body recovers from an intense workout.

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CBD’s promising anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (7 ) .

In addition, CBD may also reduce muscle spasms, a feature of neuropathic damage which often manifests in painful, uncontrolled muscle twitches (8 ) .

CBD for Improved Sleep

The best training routine, diet, and supplement program can never compensate for insufficient rest. Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for active individuals.

Sleep affects almost every tissue in the body, says Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It impacts growth and stress hormones, the immune system , appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health (9 ) .

A study published in Pharmaceuticals (Basel) in 2012 compared CBD with a sleep aid called nitrazepam (10 ) . The authors found that high-dose CBD at 160 milligrams increased the subject’s duration of sleep.

Similarly, a 2017 study published in the Current Psychiatry Reports noted that at moderate to high doses, CBD might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia (11 ) .

CBD for Reduced Stress and Anxiety

In general, training and workouts can reduce stress. Exercise can provide psychological benefits that can help improve physical health. The stress reaction can be a survival tool, helping to keep the body healthy and the mind alert.

On the other hand, chronic stress can bring devastating effects. It can cause the body to produce too much cortisol and adrenaline, resulting in anxiety , poor concentration, irritability, and low self-esteem.

Fortunately, CBD has been shown to possess antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties that may help reduce stress and anxiety.

In a 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal , sleep and anxiety scores were measured in human subjects, and the findings showed that CBD could hold benefits for anxiety-related disorders (12 ) .

Meanwhile, researchers of a 2019 study , published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, looked at CBD’s effects on anxiety and stress.

The study demonstrated that CBD might help reduce the response to stre ssful environmental factors when given in the optimal dosage (13 ) .

Conclusion

Using CBD might benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts during high-intensity workouts and recovery periods.

CBD has also been shown to possess therapeutic properties that might help individuals get a restful sleep, reduce anxiety level, manage weight, and recover from soreness and muscle damage.

Still, a consultation with a doctor experienced in cannabis use is essential before using CBD to help with bodybuilding goals.

Considering CBD For Muscle Recovery? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Cannabidiol is having a moment. Though you may not recognize its scientific moniker, you’ve probably seen it referred to by its buzzy nickname: CBD.

CBD is everywhere these days, and in a variety of forms. You can find it in capsules, gummies, tinctures, oils, balms, cocktails, cookies—even coffee sold at small-town bakeries. Its market share in the health and wellness space will likely only continue to grow, with some analysts estimating its value will hit $2 billion by 2022.

CBD has a lot of purported benefits with a lot of anecdotal (and some scientific) evidence to back those claims. Everything from helping cancer patients fight nausea, to acting as a sleep aid for people with insomnia, to reducing seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.

While those seem like potentially huge breakthroughs, CBD is also said to help with smaller stuff, like helping you recover faster from workouts thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Before you dive into a pool of CBD oil, here’s everything you need to know.

Why are we sore after a workout anyway?

No matter how fit you are, sometimes you just feel it after a workout. Some workouts can leave you sore for days. That’s because, as the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) explains, working out causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Those muscles then become inflamed, which triggers the body to respond and repair, causing muscle soreness or stiffness.

Cool. So, what exactly is CBD again?

CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, which include both marijuana and industrial hemp. CBD is a close chemical cousin to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound found in marijuana that causes a psychoactive effect (AKA, the stuff that gets you high).

Though CBD is just one atom arrangement away from becoming THC, that microscopic difference is actually huge. No matter how much CBD oil you consume or how much CBD balm you rub on your body, you cannot get high from it. Which means.

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I can legally buy CBD?

Yes. In December, President Donald Trump signed a new Farm Bill, which, among other things, legalized the growth, distribution, and sale of industrialized hemp, allowing it to be “cultivated for any use”—including the production and extraction of CBD.

There are a few caveats to the bill, but generally you’re now safe to buy CBD across the United States. Even professional athletes can use CBD, as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed it from its prohibited substance list in 2018. So relax, your gold medals are safe.

“Broadly speaking, CBD does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally.”

Can CBD really help fight post-workout inflammation?

“As a personal trainer and someone that works out every day and really pushes myself a lot, I noticed the biggest difference in inflammation and stress after a workout,” Tara Laferrara, a former sprinter and a NASM certified personal trainer, told MensHealth.com about her personal use of CBD.

Laferrara was introduced to CBD via friends in the fitness industry who tried it after cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014. Now, she’s a devoted user. (A CBDevotee?) “It basically manages and prevents my joint inflammation, that aching kind of feeling, that I’d get after a heavy lift day,” she says.

Is there scientific proof?

While Laferrara’s anecdotal experience is intriguing, you might remain skeptical. Perhaps the scientific findings will squash some of your CBDoubts.

According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.

“Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it’s rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD, told MensHealth.com.

However, we can’t conclusively say that CBD will, without question, reduce inflammation—and in turn reduce muscle soreness—after another Eb & Swole workout. The empirical data just isn’t there yet.

But I’m good to start a CBD regimen?

CBD is commonly regarded as safe to use. Even the doctors published in Frontiers in Neurology said: “High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day and chronic use have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.” You shouldn’t need that much, though figuring out how much you do need can be tricky, as there is no “standard” dose.

One rule of thumb is 1-6 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on pain levels. Another is to start with 5-10mg per day and increase by 5-10mg until you feel relief. This isn’t perfect and requires trial and error, but it’ll help you find a starting point.

As with anything you plan to put into your body, discuss CBD with your doctor first, particularly if you take other medications. They can help you make sure your liver will have enough room to metabolize it all so as not to diminish the effects of either.

How should I use CBD for recovery?

Beyond CBD oils and tinctures, CBD is often sold in infused balms, lotions, capsules, edibles, vape pens, and more. Basically, you just need to decide if you’d like to ingest it or rub it on for relief.

Again, you’re mostly on your own to determine exactly how much CBD you should take to feel its effects. The dosing guidelines above should give you a good jumping-off point, but CBD is a subjective chemical that reacts differently in every body. Once you feel the desired effect, though, you won’t have to up the dose. Which means if you use CBD oil for recovery, you can just fill the pipette to the same spot every time.

To sum it up, if your doctor says it’s OK and you’re game to try CBD instead of popping traditional anti-inflammatories, go for it. Try it for a few weeks while varying the delivery method and dose to find what works best for you. Who knows? By tomorrow, you could be recovering faster from your workout and have one less excuse to skip leg day.

Stacey Leasca is a journalist from Rhode Island. She’s a connoisseur of high-fives.

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