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  • by Nicola Boulton August 18, 2022 5 min read


    Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, CBD has been tipped as an instrumental treatment for anxiety and mood disorders, muscle spasms, and impeding the growth of cancer cells. Can athletes and gym enthusiasts also take the bold step of using CBD for a workout? 

    There seems to be a group of avid cannabinoids (CBD) fanatics who vehemently defend CBD products with pride soaring from their hearts and, like a clear-cut plan, well “articulated” on their chests. With conversations surrounding CBD back into the spotlight as recent as 2018, there is no doubt that it has taken the country by storm. Older and younger folks are simultaneously excited about its benefits and concerned about its possible effects, especially due to its connection with cannabis and the misconceptions which have spread like wildfire. Topical CBD can be used pre- or post-workout, depending on an individual’s needs. This article discusses how topical CBD is used for a workout.


    Deconstructing CBD

    With so much excitement surrounding cannabinoid, we must break down exactly what it is and their connection to cannabis.

    According to  McGuire et al. (2014), CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in hemp. In other words, CBD does not cause a “high” feeling once consumed. Moreover, hemp and marijuana are plant strains of the cannabis plant, and they both contain CBD and psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, THC is responsible for the “high” feeling experienced by the consumer, and its levels are significantly high in marijuana, which is classified as an illegal drug under federal law.

    According to Booth & Bohlmann (2019), other chemical compounds are present in hemp, such as terpenes and flavonoids. Noor et al.  (2022) stated that terpenes have anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer properties, making them more adaptable for therapeutic and medical purposes.

    Is Topical CBD Safe?

    To understand this further, topical CBD refers to CBD, which is processed and made into creams, lotions, balms, and salves. CBD topicals are usually applied on the skin; therefore, they don’t present any extreme side effects since they are not directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Furthermore, purchasing high-quality topical CBD products guarantees proper alleviation of muscle soreness.

    Is CBD Legal?

    Many people are worried about the legality of CBD, especially due to its close connection with marijuana which is federally illegal. The Farm Bill was passed in 2018 and sought to redefine hemp according to the Controlled Substances Act. This legalization was highly praised, as it distinguished hemp as a plant strain with predominantly non-psychoactive chemical compounds, making it adaptable and beneficial for medical and commercial use. However, several states have developed laws and regulations in retrospect to the federal law. Currently, 36 states have legalized CBD for medical use, while 14 other states have legalized CBD for recreational use.

    How topical CBD can be used for workouts

    As mentioned before, CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it popular in treating several diseases. Maroon & Bost (2018) stated that  CBD is advantageous due to its neurological uses, including adjunctive treatment for Alzheimer’s, malignant brain tumors, and Parkinson’s. Therefore, it is no surprise that workout enthusiasts are ardent about incorporating topical CBD into their workout regimen. Why so?

    Improvement Of Sleep

    CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the brain. The endocannabinoid system regulates homeostatic processes and other cognitive functions such as sleep. Therefore, since topical CBD is not absorbed into the bloodstream, it would be detected by endocannabinoid receptors that send signals to the endocannabinoid system in the brain. These signals drastically slow brain waves during the night, facilitating a night of deep, refreshing sleep. Since working out can tire the muscles and negatively impact your sleep, CBD attempts to mitigate this by improving your sleep.

    Alleviating Pain

    Oleinik (2022) discovered that CBD boasts anti-inflammatory properties that are key since intense workouts cause pain and inflammation in the body. Applying topical CBD such as lotions and creams after working out would dramatically alleviate pain in your muscles and relax the muscles.

    Reducing Anxiety And Stress

    Using CBD topicals can be a stress and anxiety reliever. Workout enthusiasts always want to get their best by working and training harder in the gym. Therefore, they may be stressed about their physical condition if they feel dissatisfied, and athletes may feel anxious about their performance in the next competition. Stack et al.  (2022) reported that topical CBD relieves stress and anxiety by interacting with the ECS system responsible for a person’s mood.

    Enhancing Muscle Recovery

    Muscle soreness and stiffness may result after an intense workout.

    Athletes usually turn to protein and creatine supplements to do the trick. Jorge et al.  (2011) discovered that topical CBD could be applied to the skin to alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

    More Energy Provided

    As mentioned, applying topical CBD helps in relieving muscle soreness and stiffness and improving sleep. Therefore, applying topical CBD can give you more energy since muscles tend to remain stronger, and your cognitive functions would become sharper by getting enough quality sleep.

    Topical CBD And Doping

    For athletes, testing positive for doping can be a nightmare. It paints a vile picture if athletes test positive for doping, yet they never really use any banned substances to improve their stamina. Can CBD be detected in drug tests?

    CBD, as mentioned before, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in hemp. However, CBD can have small traces of psychoactive THC, especially if you opt to use the full spectrum CBD. Therefore, it is advisable to use broad-spectrum CBD or isolate CBD since they have zero traces of psychoactive THC or any other psychoactive chemical compound. Learn more about cbd topical carrier oils

    How To Choose The Best Topical CBD For Workouts

    Several precautions and criteria must follow the best topical CBD for workouts. With the surge in demand for topical CBD, there has also been an enthusiastic rise in the number of shady people in business who risk health for cheap wealth.

    While shopping for topical CBD products, it is incumbent on you to confirm the following:

    Always ensure that you purchase products from companies that conduct intensive independent third-party testing. This ensures that the purity levels are high.

    Purchase CBD products from companies that disclose their method of extraction. It is advisable to choose products extracted by pressurized CO2 compared to alcohol extraction due to higher purity levels.

    Ensure that the topical CBD products you purchase contain less than 0.3% THC or zero traces of THC


    Topical CBD is essential for a workout as it alleviates pain and helps in reducing muscle stiffness. Always purchase high-quality CBD products to minimize any possible health risks.


    Jorge, L. L., Feres, C. C., & Teles, V. E. (2011). Topical preparations for pain relief: efficacy and patient adherence. Journal of pain research, 4, 11.

    Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical neurology international, 9.

    Noor, S., Mohammad, T., Rub, M. A., Raza, A., Azum, N., Yadav, D. K., ... & Asiri, A. M. (2022). Biomedical features and therapeutic potential of rosmarinic acid. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 1-24.

    Oleinik, G. The Best CBD Creams & Topicals for Acne (March 2022).

    Stack, S. K., Wheate, N. J., & Schubert, E. A. (2022). Medicinal Cannabis for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: a Narrative Review. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 1-11.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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