Muscle Recovery and Cannabidiol (CBD): The Healing Benefits
Kirsten Thornhill |
Hi. Here we are, in quarantine. During this time of shelter in place, I’m sure you’ve read all about the amazing benefits of CBD oil and even tried some for yourself, right? If you have bravo, I’m impressed! If not, chin up friend! I’m here to give you the "sweet deets" on cannabidiol and how it can be a key player in your muscle recovery routine.
Whether you’re a professional athlete, avid gym-goer (well, prior to quarantine), trying to get into yoga and meditation, or you’re just simply trying to move your body a couple days a week, whatever that looks like to you, we’ve got the stuff for you.
In today’s article, we’ll talk all things cannabinoids, how they work in our systems, and just how important and clutch CBD can be for your muscles.
Time to flex! But not too hard, you know?
The holy trail…..as I like to call it!
The cannabis plant is an amazing herb that has been making major headway for decades now - with years and years of research backing the beautiful benefits such as aiding in anxiety relief, decreasing depression symptoms, reducing inflammation, improving sleep, relaxing muscles, and many more! (I will say, the list is quite impressive).
Let’s tackle the misconceptions in my favorite way possible: analogy style.
Not to get confused here, the cannabis plant term can be used as more so an umbrella description. Under the cannabis plant umbrella, the marijuana and hemp plants reside. On the umbrella handle, we’ve got tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and 100+ more phytocannabinoids living and thriving from their mother plant, cannabis.
Kind of like a pyramid, the cannabinoids flow down, from the cannabis plant.
In regards to today’s topic at hand, we’re more interested in diving into mister CBD. CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the active components of the cannabis plant. It is the non-psychoactive part of the plant - it won’t get you “high” or have you feeling “euphoric”.
On the other hand, mister THC is psychoactive, you may feel “stoned” or “high”. I’m sure you’re wondering, ‘how do they make you feel different but they come from the same plant’. Great question, but more on that in just a quick minute!
There have been consistent findings in the last 5 to 10 years across clinical studies investigating cannabidiol and how it has been widely considered as safe, lacking toxicity, generally well-tolerated by humans and animals, non-intoxicating, and is non-addictive, with no reinforcing attributes, according to an article published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
HOW CBD WORKS WITHIN THE ECS
Cannabinoids support the endocannabinoid system, commonly referred to as the ECS, for short. Each and every one of us, animals too, have a working ECS. You probably didn’t even know you had one, until now.
The ECS helps regulate homeostasis throughout the body, aiding in an internal balance, so to speak.
Our ECS has two main receptors that take care of business: cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
Remember that hypothetical question you asked above about how THC and CBD make us feel differently? Your answer in a short story version: indirect and direct binding. BOOM.
THC binds directly to the cannabidiol receptors. CBD binds indirectly to the cannabidiol receptors, thus, you won’t feel the “high” THC users might feel. You can think of CBD as an upregulator to the ECS.
Evidence from recent studies have shown that CBD appears to have a significant influence on muscle soreness with a greater rate of recovery. More on this good stuff below!
CAN CBD HELP WITH MUSCLE RECOVERY
And here we are, arriving at the big question we’ve all been reading for.
1. HELPS INFLAMMATION
One of the most important roles that cannabidiol plays here is in reducing inflammation. For centuries and centuries, it seems, individuals have “iced” post-workout or post-game or post-injury, to help reduce inflammation.
Well, especially more recently, there’s been some debate on whether or not putting ice on post-workout is really helpful for muscle recovery.
So what role does inflammation play during the recovery process? Hmmmm.
2. IMPROVES SLEEP
Just one of many important aspects of muscle recovery happens while we catch zzzzz’s. This is when our recovery process “comes alive”.
A 2013 rat study investigated the effects of CBD on sleep-wake cycles. Researchers found that CBD administration before sleep time was able to increase the rats’ total sleep time as well as helped improve the rats ability to fall asleep.
CBD ADMINISTRATION BEFORE BED TIME MAY HELP YOU FALL ASLEEP AND SLEEP LONGER.
If we don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, this may lead to negative effects on your muscle recovery. For instance:
- May lead to increased cortisol levels
- May reduce testosterone
- May reduce growth factors
A 2011 study looked at sleep and muscle recovery and suggested that a lack of sleep led to an increase in cortisol (a stress hormone), a reduction in testosterone (a hormone which helps our muscles to recover), and a reduction in insulin-like growth factor 1 (a main trigger for muscle stem cells).
THIS 2011 STUDY DEMONSTRATED THAT A LACK OF SLEEP MAY NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR MUSCLE RECOVERY.
3. LOWERS TENSION IN MUSCLES
DOMS. You may have heard of it before, but here’s a recap. DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. One of DOMS characteristics is tension in the muscle. When it comes to injuries or sore muscles, the tension surrounding the muscles may make the pain much worse, thus why many muscle relaxers are so popular for alleviating pain during workout recovery.
A 2020 study out of the University of South Carolina investigated cannabidiol and its impact on DOMS. The study aimed to determine the influence of CBD on exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD), commonly resulting in a condition known as DOMS.
23 participants completed a lower extremity EIMD protocol prior to being randomly assigned to either a 1) MCT oil, 2) CBD oil, or 3) no intervention group. Researchers found that the CBD group reported a significantly lower level of soreness after 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, and 4 days, compared to the MCT oil group or no intervention group.
THIS IS INSANE!
THIS 2020 STUDY FOUND THAT CBD OIL POST WORKOUT SHOWED SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER LEVELS OF SORENESS FOR 1 - 4 DAYS POST-WORKOUT.
4. ALLEVIATES PAIN
Cannabidiol has been suggested to be a powerful “pain-killer” over the years. With less pain, perhaps, you’ll find it easier to feel “fresh” between your workouts. CBD may offer symptomatic support for your muscle injuries and post-exercise recovery.
A foundational 1999 study performed on rats found that CBD helps inhibit pain transmission via the spinal cord and brain.
Cannabidiol may even lower your sensitivity to pain via vanilloid receptors.
CANNABIDIOL MAY HELP REDUCE YOUR PAIN, HELPING YOU FEEL MORE “FRESH” FOR YOUR NEXT LIFT.
FEELING SORE? HERE’S WHY
I’m sure you’ve experienced the aches and pain associated with a tough workout, at least once or twice in your life. Regardless if you workout once a month or once everyday, you can still feel these aches. So why is that?
Every time you exercise or exert your muscles, you create microscopic tears to millions and millions of tiny proteins that make up your muscle cells. This tearing or damage leads to muscle inflammation, causing those aches, pains, stiffness, and soreness post-workout.
Not sore directly after your workout? It usually starts the next day. Here’s why.
It’s got the word delay in there for a reason.
Delayed onset muscle soreness is a healthy part of the muscle adaptation process. Theoretically, over time, the more we exercise or repeat exerting our muscles, the less our muscles will produce DOMS. The muscles will become stronger and more resistant to exert levels.
A 2011 pig study investigated the role of CBD in brain damage and functional recovery after pressure on the brain (stroke, shock, heart attack, etc.). Researchers demonstrated that those pigs who were exposed to brain pressure who received CBD recovered 81% - 91% and had their neurobehavioral scores normalized.
CANNABIDIOL HAS BEEN SUGGESTED TO PROTECT NEURONS, LEADING TO FUNCTIONAL, BIOCHEMICAL, AND NEUROBEHAVIORAL IMPROVEMENTS.
HOW TO USE CBD FOR MUSCLE RECOVERY
Trust me, we’ve got you covered here.
Here, at Nanocraft CBD, we’ve designed our product to fit the athlete in all of us. We create performance driven CBD for faster, better, and more concentrated results for you.
The health implications of cannabidiol have begun to take shape and hemp-derived products have shown to have significant impacts on sport and muscle recovery. We have taken full advantage of this amazing herb’s health implications and have formulated it with some of the most impactful sport supplements in existence.
A) MUSCLE & JOINT STICK SALVE
Our CBD Muscle & Joint Stick is exactly what you didn’t know you need for your post-workout recovery routine. Amped up with the 500 mg of broad-spectrum hemp oil, an array of calming herbs and essential oils, our CBD salve offers a sense of well-being and calmness during your time of recovery.
Applying our salve is as simple as applying deodorant. Our salve stick comes in a deodorant like delivery system that allows for easy usage without the mess. A few quick swipes to the affected area and you are on your way!
In most instances, customers apply our CBD Muscle & Joint Stick to their knees, elbows, wrists, or other areas (usually near areas where joints are located). CBD topical products may be used on a daily basis and may even be a preferred option for some customers.
B) COOLING SPORTS CREAM
Our CBD Cooling Sports Cream helps provide a cooling effect, perfect for tight joints and sore muscles. This cream gives you a cooling sensation while the CBD is absorbed directly into the skin. No oily feeling to worry about here, just the healing sensation you’re looking for.
Similar to our salves, our Cooling Sports Cream can be applied directly onto your area of choice. With an easy roll-on applicator, you’re guaranteed to get a nice dolloped blend of CBD, menthol, arnica, and many other essential oils present. Coming soon!
MUSCLE RECOVERY AND CBD OIL: FINAL THOUGHTS
Let’s regroup and recover. Cannabidiol has come a loooong way, it’s finally getting the recognition it has forever deserved. From helping reduce anxiety, to alleviating pain, to improving your sleep, to improving your muscle recovery, this magical herb is shocking the yous, whos, to-dos, and hows - all around the globe, from here to there.
The research on cannabidiol and muscle recovery is just beginning, but the research is holding a bold promise in 2020. Future studies are marinating as we speak, so stay tuned for more evidence-based research in regards to the beautiful benefits of CBD on muscle recovery.
Until next time, stay safe and avoid the never-ending soreness, cannabidiol may be your new post-workout bestie.
*DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
Nanocraft SciencesContent Writer | PhysiologistKirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Northern California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in teaching clinical and practical exercise and rehabilitation applications. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, holistic and lifestyle medicine, and health research and development. Her passion for alternative medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.
Hatchett A, Armstrong K, Hughes B, Parr B. The influence cannabidiol on delayed onset of muscle soreness. International Journal of Physical Education, Sports, and Health. 2020.
Lafuente H, Alvarez FJ, Pazos MR, et al. Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery after acute hypoxia-ischemia in newborn pigs. Pediatric Research. 2011.
Su JY, VO AC. 2-Arachidonylglyceryl ether and abnormal cannabidiol-induced vascular smooth muscle relaxation in rabbit pulmonary arteries via receptor-pertussis toxin sensitive G proteins-ERK1/2 signaling. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2007.
Ghovanloo MR, Shuart NG, Mezeyova J, et al. Inhibitory effects of cannabidiol on voltage-dependent sodium currents. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2018.