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  • by Nicola Boulton January 20, 2023 5 min read

    How Does CBD Affect Exercise?

    CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat muscle and joint soreness after a workout. This article explains what CBD is, how CBD affects exercise, and how to use CBD for exercise.

    CBD is a non-psychoactive plant that has shown considerable health and therapeutic potential. It has demonstrated neuroprotective, anxiolytic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects that potentially positively impact athletes. It changes some psychological and physiological responses to the aerobic workout without interfering with performance. CBD speeds up the joint and muscle soreness healing process, preparing individuals for the next workout. When the pains in the joints and muscles are not reduced, the next workout may not be effective. Consuming CBD before or after the workout is useful.

    What Is CBD

    CBD is a short form of Cannabidiol. It is famous in the medical community due to the healthy and therapeutic benefits it offers to the body. When consumed, individuals start experiencing relief from pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and improvement in sleep. CBD is derived from the cannabis Sativa plant, among many other compounds like THC. Schoedel et al. (2018) proved that CBD does not alter users' mental state, unlike THC, which has euphoric effects. THC is known for making users feel high, but it does not when used in CBD products in small amounts. However, it makes these products to be stronger and more effective. It comes in different forms, including CBD edibles, vapes, topicals, and drinks. Individuals can infuse CBD oil into either foods or beverages and still enjoy the benefits of CBD. CBD also comes in three different types such as CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD. They all carry all the benefits of CBD, but their difference is the content in them. Full-spectrum CBD is the most effective since it contains traces of THC below 0.2% and other cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant.

    How CBD Affects Exercise

    Zeiger et al. (2019) claimed that CBD had helped athletes to improve their workouts in various ways. It is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system to make its functions more effective.

    According to Moltke& Indochina (2021), when individuals consume CBD, it makes them fall asleep easily. Enough sleep is very especially for athletes who work out daily. When individuals sleep well, they wake up refreshed and energetic, ready for the workout. CBD makes individuals feel relaxed and calm after a long and tiring. It helps in muscle relaxation and the entire body making users fall asleep easily. A few drops of CBD oil a few hours before bed may contribute to sleep. According to Besedovsky et al. (2019),while asleep, the body gets to work reinstating the immune, nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems, which are important for maintaining cognitive, memory, mood, and other vital functions. This ensures that individuals are readily prepared for the exercise the next day. CBD can decrease the time spent in REM sleep and maximize the time in NREM stage 3, body temperature, brain, and heart rate go down. This is because the brain in this state uses less energy, improving the better night sleep and overall rest.

    CBD can reduce mental disorders such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Apart from being physically fit for the workout, individuals should also be emotionally and mentally prepared. Arousal and anxiety are the main subjects in sport psychology, particularly associated with technical and physical performance. Arousal is frequently associated with anxiety. The emotional state can affect coordination, increase muscle tension, and in some cases, can trigger nausea and sweating. Consuming CBD pre-workout can help reduce blood pressure and anxiety, preparing individuals for the workout.

    CBD Helps Muscle Recovery and Growth

    The most common consumption of CBD for a workout is inflammation and pain because of delayed onset joint and muscle soreness. Individuals who work out frequently and with intensity will rapidly accept that inflammation and pain are the main post-workout subjects. Muscles can't grow till they are healed. Cannabidiol can help alleviate inflammation and pain by inhibiting the glutamate levels in the spinal cord and the brain, which is associated with increased transmission and pain sensations. According to Campos et al. (2016), CBD also enhances anandamide signaling by preventing its absorption by the body. This is a neurotransmitter linked to pain management. When they are at high levels, it makes individuals experience pain relief. According to Muthumalage & Rahman (2019), CBD reduces the levels of cytokines which helps fight the inflammatory response. This chemical, at low levels, helps prevent chronic illnesses and helps reduces inflammation and pain. According to Sunda & Arowolo (2020), Cannabidiol also enhances adenosine signaling, which helps in reducing pain and inflammation. The next workout cannot be effective when the muscle and joints are not healed. Since CBD speeds up the recovery process, it prepares individuals for the next workout. When taken topically or orally, Cannabidiol provides more natural relief.

    How To Use CBD For Exercises

    CBD has shown the potential to improve exercise in various ways. Individuals can use CBD in several ways to boost their workouts. Some individuals may prefer to take CBD oil sublingually. This involves placing a few drops of oil underneath the tongue using a dropper and holding it for a few seconds until it is fully absorbed. It offers quick results since it gets absorbed through the sublingual glands and enters the bloodstream directly. Using this method, individuals experience entire-body relief.

    CBD topicals are another method many individuals prefer to reduce their muscle and joint pains. It is applied directly to the skin of the affected area. Individuals should ensure they massage it deeply to be absorbed well into the opened pores of the skin. CBD cream is preferred to be the best after a workout to reduce joint and muscle soreness. It is well-liked by people since one has to apply on the affected area only, and they receive instant relief.

    Other forms of CBD, such as CBD gummies or capsules, may also be effective, but they may take longer to start working. CBD capsules are swallowed with water, while gummies are chewed and swallowed. These forms of CBD pass through the digestive system, where they take a long before getting into the bloodstream. Although they take longer to start working, they have longer-lasting effects than other forms of CBD, like CBD vaping. CBD vapes are the fastest method to take effect, but they leave the body quickly. When athletes consume CBD gummies, they still feel relief from their muscle and joint pains, but the only thing with them, they take longer to start working.


    CBD can help improve exercise, either taken before or after a workout. Before exercise, CBD can help enhance performance by improving oxygen delivery, reducing stress, reducing pain and inflammation signaling, and enhancing mobility. After a workout, CBD can help in improving sleep recovery and reduce joint and muscle inflammation and muscle recovery.


    Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Haack, M. (2019). The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiological reviews.

    Campos, A. C., Fogaça, M. V., Sonego, A. B., & Guimarães, F. S. (2016). Cannabidiol, neuroprotection, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacological Research, 112, 119-127.

    Muthumalage, T., & Rahman, I. (2019). Cannabidiol differentially regulates basal and LPS-induced inflammatory responses in macrophages, lung epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. Toxicology and applied pharmacology, 382, 114713.

    Sunda, F., & Arowolo, A. (2020). A molecular basis for the anti‐inflammatory and anti‐fibrosis properties of Cannabidiol. The FASEB Journal, 34(11), 14083-14092.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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